by David R. Wrone, 28 Sep 2007
In the forty four years of sustained discussion about the official findings of the federal government’s investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy no author can equal the failure Vincent Bugliosi has achieved in his misnamed Reclaiming History.
Invented facts & relations.
A characteristic of his narrative is the frequent use of hypothetical instances as a substitute for a lack of evidence or absence of documentary support for a statement. These he typically expresses with such phrases as “probably” or “must have” and similar wordage. In other words, when no or scant evidence exists to sustain a point he is writing about, he makes it up. For example, in one three page section of the end notes where he discusses the Officer J. D. Tippit murder he uses these made up substitutes for the lack of evidence thirty seven times. In the book as a whole one can only estimate the total number of inventions to be incredibly large. This is not what the civilization we are part of calls history, but is a class of fiction presented as non-fiction known as Munchausen’s work. In the appendix the thirty seven instances are set down.
Mythic reconstruction substituted for evidence.
Closely akin to Vincent Bugliosi’s inventions employed as evidence is his use of imaginary or mythic reconstructions to carry a point when he hasn’t any facts to sustain them. These he plugs into his narrative and employs for all the world as if they were expressions of the November 22nd reality. In this he parrots the Warren Commission’s lavish and pious use of reconstructions as a solution for the lack of evidence in its rush to frame Oswald’s guilt so a doubting America and a skeptical world would believe it. While we could cite many of these stand-in devices to illustrate this common Bugliosian anti-historical trait, perhaps his invention of the path Oswald took from his rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Avenue to the scene of the Officer J. D. Tippit murder near 10th Street & Patton Avenue, will suffice.
Like the Warren Commission did before him Bugliosi claims Oswald killed Tippit. To do this Oswald officially—following the Warren Report’s scenario—had to move from his room on Beckley three minutes after 1:00 p.m. to the scene of the murder by 1:15 p.m. (radioed in at 1:16 p.m.) the time the Commission set for the shooting. Responsible critics long ago convincingly proved the feat to have been impossible for him to have performed. Bugliosi overcomes this severe and ultimately exculpatory time constraint in three ways. First he gratuitously starts Oswald to the Tippit scene several minutes before 1:00 p.m. to gain minutes for his thesis. Next, he adds minutes to the end of the walk where he speciously asserts Oswald arrived later than 1:10 p.m., the time a witness swore he had seen Tippit dead on the pavement. He then couples the gerrymandered time with an invented pathway. He declares he himself fast walked this route taken by Oswald south of the rooming house to the murder scene, a route he knows by intuition alone. He got there in 11’ 23” minutes, plenty of time for Oswald following this asserted trail and supposed time to have shot Tippit at 1:15 p.m. before a citizen sounded an alert on the police radio at 1:16 p.m.
But when we examine the path Bugliosi took, upon which his assertions of Oswald as murderer of the police officer must rest, we discover it is all a type of blue sky matter, a theory not history. He invented the route. There is not a scrap of genuine evidence, a fact, a scintilla of data, to mark any route to Tippit. Just as with the Commission’s map of Oswald’s alleged path taken, it is a pining wish.