August 30, 2022
When I cleaned out my parents’ home several years ago, I saved a few items from their bookcase that looked interesting and I wanted to read—someday, when I had the time. Last night I finished reading one of them, Rush to Judgment. The book is attorney Mark Lane’s 1966 critique of the Warren Commission’s inquiry into the murders of John F. Kennedy, Officer J.D. Tippit, and Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in November 1963.
I was only nine years old when President Kennedy was assassinated. At school that day, my teacher, in tears, broke the news to the class, and we adjourned early. I remember being upset, even though I didn’t fully understand what had happened. Still, it was one of the few events I will always remember where I was and what I was doing at the time it happened.
As I grew older, I didn’t think about it much, even though I must have heard that there were multiple conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination that shocked the nation and the world. I guess I was just too busy doing other things.
Reading the book during today’s conspiracy-charged national atmosphere, I’m amazed that this mystery never interested me before. Despite the sometimes-dry ‘lawyer-ese’ language, I almost couldn’t put it down. Lane did an incredible job of describing the sins and omissions of the committee’s investigation, and he’s made a believer out of me. How in the world did they get away with doing such a shoddy investigation? Even to my untrained and inexperienced eye, it’s apparent that something was rotten about the whole thing.
It’s unfortunate that after the Commission’s report was released in 1964, most of the evidence and records were sealed for 75 years, although a few of the documents were released in the 1990s. Why were these records sealed? Who were they trying to protect? Seventy-five years is long enough for all of those involved to be dead and gone. But, if my math is right, the rest of the records will be unsealed in 2039, when I’m 85. I hope I live long enough to read about it.