JFK and the day I took one quick shot in Dallas ...

 

Share
Related Topics

I’ve spent the last week overdosing on Kennedy porn. I’ve watched so many documentaries about what happened on that awful day in Dallas 50 years ago that my own head is ready to explode. I feel somehow guilty being so obsessed with the tragic death of a man but, like so many others, I am. 

About three years ago I set off on an “assassination vacation” of the USA. I did a road trip in which I visited most of the most infamous assassination sites the country had to offer. Dealey Plaza was by far the most powerful. As I rounded the corner of the Texas Book Depository it was as though I’d stepped on to the set of an unbelievably powerful déjà vu.

What really struck me was that Elm Street itself is still a busy thoroughfare, with two white crosses painted on the tarmac to indicate where the bullets hit the President. I think I rather expected it to have been closed down and turned into some sort of commemorative site but the Dallas rush hour traffic stops for no man.

Just next to the grassy knoll were a bunch of conspiracy theorists that had little stalls and each tried to sell you their version of who killed Camelot – “LBJ, The Mob, Castro, The Russians, Marilyn Monroe…” It was Nutsville Central. I asked the least nutty one whether I could visit the Texas Book Depository.

“You can, it’s now a museum, but you don’t want to go there as it’s run by the Federal Government. It’s all lies in there. They’ll register your details and you’ll be on the list. Don’t do it.” He looked frightened.

I backed away and headed for the museum. A sign on the door warned visitors (a little tardily I thought) that firearms were not allowed in the building. I took the lift up and wandered over to the corner where Lee Harvey Oswald had set up his solitary sniper’s nest. The area was glassed off, the boxes he’d piled up for cover frozen in time. I looked out of the next window down and saw the view that Oswald would have seen (minus the presidential motorcade obviously). I took out my camera and snapped a shot of this iconic vista. Within seconds an enormous security guard was on me.

“No photography sir…”

I apologised and made to move on but she was having none of it.

“I have to ask you to delete that photograph, sir.” She wasn’t joking. I was being asked to delete a photo of one of the world’s most photographed city streets by a representative of the Land Of The Free. I refused and headed for the lift, closely followed by Gargantua who was calling for assistance on her radio. I was now – like Oswald – being pursued by the law through the corridors of the Texas Book Depository.

This was turning into a very realistic exhibition. I made it to the lift, got downstairs only to find another guard trying to prevent my exit. I shimmied past him and through the gift shop hawking tasteful toy models of JFK’s limo. I burst through the doors on to the melting streets and ran past the conspiracy theorists who just looked sadly at me with “I told you so” expressions.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own