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This past week, America and the world marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, one of the most charismatic and (retrospectively) popular Presidents in the nation’s history.

50 years ago on Friday, at 12:30pm, Kennedy’s ill-fated procession turned the corner onto Elm Street in Downtown Dallas. As it passed through the crowds, three or four shots were fired at the motorcade, one of which struck the President’s head and would later cause his death.

As many will have done, I took the suggestion of this anniversary to re-watch the ‘Zapruder Film’ – the famous 30 second silent reel which captured the assassination. Nowadays, with the benefit of YouTube, there are many enhanced versions available to see, including a harrowing High-Definition close-up of the fatal impact. After the explosion of the President’s skull, the pained reaction of Kennedy’s impossibly beautiful wife Jackie completes the film’s devastating emotional resonance, and provides in bright pink, a lasting icon of Americana.

As to the debate, still ongoing, about who fired the gun, how many shots were fired, and for what motive, I take a stand of principled agnosticism. Having read a great deal on the killing over the past week, I think it likely that Oswald did act alone. The killer had decided upon radical politics and felt a need to make himself count in world-history. Given his profile and his proximity, Oswald’s guilt seems the only logical verdict.

But in any case, even if they quibble with the ‘how’, most conspiracy theories alter nothing as to why the killing occurred. In terms of motive, we would be wise to believe the official explanation. Oswald was a Leftist, Communist agitator, and so presumably would be anyone who did/did not conspire with him.

It remains a fascinating crime, especially notable as one of the great and formative acts of modern Leftist terrorism.