I was in Dallas for the first time a few weeks ago for my cousin’s wedding. A lovely time, seriously charming wedding (sweet, impressively solid couple).
And the morning before the shindig got underway I had occasion to take a drive into downtown Dallas with two other interested parties (another cousin’s partner and his son) to check out no less an important historical location than Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, JFK.
Behind me, myself and I in the above pic, and below: the Grassy Knoll itself, confirmed site where Mr. Zapruder took his home movie featuring infamous & awful frame 313–unconfirmed location of a second or even third gunman, behind the gently sweving road where Kennedy died, essentially in front of the world.
(Remember that at this point in 2017 the only person confirmed–more or less universally–to have shot a gun whose bullet hit President Kennedy is Lee Harvey Oswald, from the 6th floor window of the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Mind you, that doesn’t preclude that another gun in another person’s hands fired the “kill-shot”, i.e., the one that took JFK’s life–but there simply isn’t enough conclusive evidence as to that other shot or shots to convince enough people of only one version; there are as many versions of where the other shooter was as one can imagine. Meanwhile, the window where Oswald sat and from which he fired his infamous Carcano rifle, is today the museum about the assassination. We didn’t go there, but did visit the bizarre gift shop, which sits on the ground floor of the building across the street from the former Depository.)
And so but this location, Dealey Plaza, is crazy. Not just because a major world leader was killed right out in public, not just because that’s relatively rare in the US, or even just because it’s also still essentially unsolved. It’s precisely the multiplicity of other versions and the number of eyewitness accounts and bewildering lack of a consensus conclusion that makes this location crazy. It’s so heavy a site because that event provides a tightly, intricately focused hypermicrocosm of epistomology: almost every aspect demonstrates–wantonly, defiantly like nailing down quicksilver–just how many uncertainties can bedevil a given slice of so-called “reality”.
This thing happened…or did it? This person stood there and saw “X”…or did they? Well they *heard* “Y”…or at least this other person did. And “Z” was caught on film…or was it? So many pages, files, terrabytes of analyses…that just don’t add up…with each moment that passes rushing us all hopelessly further past the moment at 12:33 pm that autumn day that a bullet from some gun somewhere in, above, near, passing by Dealey Plaza blew the top of our President’s skull & at least a third of his brains out, ending his life–BANG–right then and there, unchangeably.
Reality is many sided. Perspectives are tenaciously held to. It continues to roll onward, and usually the stakes are not that final, but any moment has as many potential veracity chasms–my term for things there just isn’t definitive proof for. What do we do with veracity chasms? We fill them in, naturally. But with what, is the question.