Ask LemmyKilmister!

It’s my fourth week of being locked out of work due to an outbreak, and I’m getting bored and antsy. I’m a PhD Sociologist and teach Criminology. I’ve worked twenty years in corrections, four in juvie and fifteen with the mentally ill. I follow the Baltimore Orioles, and virtually no one else in MLB. I play old-man-league baseball. I spent three years reading almost nothing but books on the JFK assassination. I fucking hate the Beatles. I drink more beer and inexpensive whiskey than I should. Ask me a question!



  1. So, was Lee Harvey Oswald the lone gunman? In my social studies class in high school when I was in the tenth grade – my teacher was obsessed with the Kennedy assassination. We spent six weeks on it. He even went to Dealey Plaza and reenacted every single event from the Zabruder film. He thought Oswald was a patsy.

    • I’ve seen no credible, concrete evidence that it was anything other than Oswald acting alone.  What bothers me is there is no motive.  Maybe Oswald was waiting to make some kind of statement at his trial, but he is unique among Presidential assassins in not declaring his guilt right up front.
      What I found in reading online forums is that the conspiracy-oriented theorists are the kings of the ad hominem attack.  Yeah, there are a few holes in the case against Oswald, but if you point out the even larger holes in the conspiracy theories, you are a brainwashed sheep.

    • I’m also Team Oswald did it, but is it also possible one of the bullets was accidental fire from the Secret Service? I’ve seen Bill James’ case on that and it’s imperfect but pretty interesting and far more plausible than any other conspiracy I’ve heard.

      • I don’t think so, no.  I can’t remember my exact reasoning for ruling that one out, but it probably included the fact that anybody trained in firearms knows you don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to fire.  You don’t just ride around with your finger inside the trigger guard.  Secret Service in the trailing car were photographed looking toward the Depository, behind them.  I don’t know why one of them would have accidently discharged his weapon into the car ahead of them.

    • Stone/Garrison’s depiction was a gross misrepresentation of what actually happened.  For one thing, Connolly’s seat was lower than Kennedy’s, and more toward the center of the car.  The wounds can be made to be lined up, per Specter’s theory.
      The problem with ex post facto theorizing is that you can’t say “it couldn’t have happened that way, because what are the odds?”  The odds holding 10 dice in your hand and rolling all sixes is something like 10,000 to 1.  But if I roll all sixes, you can’s say “that didn’t actually happen, because what are the odds?”  It already happened.  I’m mostly willing to accept the Single Bullet Theory as a case of rolling all sixes.
      A lot of this could have been resolved had the Kennedy family allowed a thorough autopsy.  Kennedy’s wound tracks were never probed.

      • One of the TV networks did a recreation a few years later which is floating around on YouTube, where they had different shooters try to hit a target at a similar distance, angle and speed with the same rifle. The conclusion was it would have been hard to do it but not insane odds.

        • But Jesse Ventura was an Expert marksman in the Navy and he couldn’t do it, so it’s all bullshit.
          There are a few of those recreations floating around.  Mileage varies.  A lot of people point out that the scope was a piece of shit.  None of them consider that maybe he used the hard sights.  The head shot was only about 66 yards.

          • …not arguing with anything your saying…but I still laugh at the bill hicks stuff about this subject…at least some of which very much seems to be based on the oswald-from-the-book-depository answer leaves much to be desired?

            • It kind does, but the investigation was botched from the beginning, especially around the autopsy.  Most of the “yeah, buts, ” including “back and to the left” have answers, but conspiracy theorists don’t really want to hear them.

              • …if I’m honest I’ve never really taken the trouble to look into it so I’m more than happy to take your word for it

                …I did enjoy (if that’s the right word, which I’m not sure it is) the james ellroy books that cover that period in a certain amount of lurid detail (american tabloid/the cold six thousand/blood’s a rover) but I think that’s probably as far down the conspiracy road as I’ve gone?

                …it seems not unreasonable to me to suppose that there’s some stuff about how a number of things went down during that period that we either don’t or can’t know so I can see why the skepticism persists, I guess…but my suspicion is that the “real answer” would be a good deal more prosaic & possibly tawdry than the conspiracy theories would suppose?

                • I read American Tabloid along with the LA Trilogy.  Ellroy’s pretty good.
                  I think there may be something to the idea that Oswald was at least trying to impress Castro, if not working for him.  “JFK Declassified” claimed he was running in the direction of a known Cuban safe house when he killed Tippitt (yeah, sorry, he killed Tippitt, too.)

  2. Dear Lemmy, as a PhD Sociologist and teacher of Criminology, have you any advice for managing coworkers? As in the slow but pushy, un-fireable type?

  3. Dear Lemmy: 
    I’ve heard that as many as 50% of murders go unsolved. Do you find that to be accurate? I’ve quoted it a few times and found some references agreeing with it but I wonder what you think. 

    • The number vary at different times.  I think Baltimore was down around 40% in the 90’s and 2000’s.  D.C. may have been even lower than that in the 80’s and 90’s, when there were 400-500 murders a year.  Think about that.  1.5 murders a day in a city of 600,000.

    • That title belongs to Jon Miller, my friend.  I was fortunate enough to be living in Maryland when he was the Orioles’ radio guy in the mid-90’s.  People still complain about them letting him go.

  4. Dear Lemmy,

    What is one of the neatest non-rock concerts you’ve been to?

    I have 2 that are tied for best concerts and both are from ye olden days when I was in college. 

    The first was a group of travelling marimba players I saw in college. It wasn’t so much that an hour of marimba music was something really cool so much as it was happening during a torrential downpour and storm. So hearing the music with the additional percussion of the thunderstorm – that rain was amazing – made a sublime experience. 

    The second was during a college trip where I had the awesome opportunity to go to Cairo, Egypt. We went to a concert of visiting Sufi monks who performed music and did the whirling. It was one of the few times in my life that I zenned out so much to music that I legit don’t know where time went. It was amazing. 

  5. Dear Mr. LK,
    A slightly personal question if I may…> I drink more beer and inexpensive whiskey than I should.Why stick to inexpensive whiskey? I’m no connoisseur but less inexpensive whisky is so much better 😉

    • I just have a hard time justifying spending more than $25-30 on a bottle of liquor.  Plus, price is about availability more than quality.  I’m not convinced that any $50 bottle of bourbon is twice as good as Elijah Craig.

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