Let's Throw a Surprise Party for the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination

Categories: Schutze

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On June 13, 2010, Dallas police arrested and jailed Robert Groden, author of best-selling books on the Kennedy assassination and a consultant to the Oliver Stone movie, JFK. The police accused Groden of violating a city law against selling books in Dealey Plaza, where the assassination happened almost a half-century ago.

It turned out there was no such law. Police appeared to be acting on a complaint from the city's semi-official assassination museum, called The Sixth Floor, in the old School Book Depository Building next to Dealey Plaza.

The deeper I delved, the less Groden's arrest had to do with park regulation -- How does selling books hurt anybody, anyway? -- and the more it looked like a jack-boot operation to enforce official dogma on the assassination.

Oh, come on, right? How can anybody have "official dogma" about something that happened 50 years ago?

But look at what's still happening on this front. As I report in my column
in this week's newspaper, Dallas officials already are moving aggressively -- more than a year and a half ahead of the event -- to shut down, stifle, control and smother free expression of ideas in Dealey Plaza during the 50th anniversary of the assassination on the week of Nov. 22, 2013.

So what's their beef? It appears to have to do with any suggestion by assassination theorists that the JFK killing case has not already been closed. Slammed shut, in fact. The overwhelming message of The Sixth Floor Museum exhibit is, "Case closed, show's over, return to your homes." And somebody doesn't want anyone getting off message when the news crews are here.

When I talked to Groden and some others in the assassination community last week, they told me they're ready to put their bodies on the line if they have to in 2013. Some of their ideas were quite creative -- like crawling up through the storm sewers and popping up out of manhole covers during the city's official observances.

Funny, right? Yeah. But the larger issues are not funny. This is about free speech and the use of police power to strangle it, right here in our own city.

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Robert Groden, being bad by exercising free speech at Dealey Plaza.
The director of The Sixth Floor Museum told me the reason why events have to be tamped down on the 50th is that the whole world will be watching. I see it differently. If the whole world is watching, that's exactly when we need to get down to Dealey Plaza and demonstrate that not everybody in Dallas thinks like a jack-boot.

If you have an idea or suggestion, email me at jim.schutze@dallasobserver.com. This may seem funny. You're welcome to be funny. I could use a laugh. But this also is serious as a heart attack. In fact, it's a presidential assassination.


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41 comments
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LeeHarveyBobblehead
LeeHarveyBobblehead

I was visiting with Robert last Thursday at Dealey Plaza, and plan to support him however possible. I'll definitely attend the 50th party!

freewyly
freewyly

remember the movie the parallax view this thing that happened we will never know all of what happened

Jay
Jay

I'm beginning to believe JimS is contractually obligated to write a column about his favorite Chia Pet, Robert Groden every three months or so. I don't care if he sells plastic dog crap flown in from China at Dealey Plaza, but I would like to know, and have ask three columnists at the DO without response - does Groden pay sales tax to the city for the sales he makes while operating is business in the city and on city property? I'm betting no.

Gdub
Gdub

That comment about the whole world watching?  Yep, and the whole world thinks what a crock that Warren Commission lone crazy person thing is.  The report has been proven to be chock full o' lies, oops, "mistakes," and the coverup about as arrogant as a bannana republic regime change.

Bryce Harte
Bryce Harte

I've got books to sell in Dealey Plaza. THE OSWALD REFLECTION. All the facts about Oswald and his connection to the murder of JFK are true as far as I can determine. So let's have that party next year. I'll be there if there is one.

Replay
Replay

Look, it ain't about who actually killed JFK. Whether it was Oswald, or others, the bottom line is that it was an assassination and a "government takeover". If we were a third world country, someone would be calling it a "junta", but that kinda stuff doesn't happen in countries like the US.

What is really important is the values and ideas that JFK stood for, the true reason he was murdered, while his little brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy was fighting for peoples' civil rights. Remember the old song "Abraham, Martin, and John"? What do those three have in common? And why was it that JFK was murdered in Texas, and succeeded by a Texan? All of that is still going on, and that is what really needs to be hidden by the City fathers.

RTGolden
RTGolden

He was probably murdered in Texas, and specifically in Dallas, because a head shot in any other city or state would have been an extremely long range shot from the Dallas Book Repository, where his murderer was. (or the grassy knoll, if that happens to be way events transpired)

Stevow99
Stevow99

Connect the dots and read James Douglas' book "JFK and the Unspeakable". No it's not on the NYT Best Seller list - go figure.

RTGolden
RTGolden

By all means, let him peddle his brand of the events.  In the spirit of fair and impartial discourse, we should also, in a little stand right next to him, sell videos of him getting ripped to shreds in the OJ trial for selling himself as an expert in photographic authenticity (the same thing he billed himself as to the Rockefeller Commission) when in actuality, he's an 11th grade dropout who never took nor taught a photography class, has no recognition from accepted professional trade organizations, nor does he know what those trade organizations may be.  We could also sell the book, Case Closed, which puts forth the theory that Broden and others like him are guilty of misleading the public in gross fashion.

Nobody really knows the full extent of what happened that day except those who took part in it.  Nobody probably ever will.  The official story stinks of the 60's era penchant for official intrigue and governmental abuse of powers.  The conspiracy theories run the gamut from the mildly amusing to the bizarre.  Does Broden have the right to publicize his opinions on what might have happened?  Absolutely.  Does the City of Dallas have the right to regulate business activity, such as the selling of print and digital media, within it's statutory limits.  Contrary to what JimS would have you believe, Absolutely.  Does Broden have a business license and a permit to sell his wares to the public within the city limits?  I have no idea.

JimS
JimS

Books often are an exception to commerce law because they're First Amendment. But more to the point: the law the city said they were arresting Groden under did not exist. You say this is aboutt the right to regulate commerce in a park? 'Nother problem. Dealey Plaza isn't a park. Do you wonder why every judge who has ever looked at the multiple tickets written to Groden over the years has tossed them out of court? Because they're bogus. So let me make sure I udnerstand you on this RT: you want government to have the ability to arrest people even when they are breaking no law, in order to preserve government's version of good behavior? Gus like you are why the Soviet Union had such a long run.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

Jim,

You're smarter than this.  The City of Dallas, and any city, has the right to regulate commerce within it's boundaries.  This includes all public spaces.  I'm not saying he shouldn't be allowed to sell his books.  I will grant you this, for I, unlike you, take the time to look up the things you answer me with, the city does seem to be lacking a specific mention in it's code for someone selling books on the street.  There are ample regulations for selling food, drink on the street, and various prohibitions on brick/mortar businesses blocking the sidewalk or street with their wares, and probably a mention of newsstands, but nothing about someone selling books on the street.  Perhaps he does not need a permit to do this, I'm not an expert at Dallas City law.As for your other assertion, cheap shot, low blow, entirely unfounded, a baseless ad hominem attack, in other words, just what one would expect from you.  You effectively countered my argument with fact and opinion, so why would you have to resort to attacking me to further attack the argument?I never even mentioned Broden's arrest in my comment.  There was no reason for you to bring it up.  I was opining that a city has the right to regulate businesses within it's bounds.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Jim,

You really should type your responses and then before hitting the Post as... button, you should delete the last sentence you typed.  That way, you can come across as a thoughtful, intelligent person rather than a totally snarky dick with a personality disfunction.

You're welcome.

Respectfully,Dave

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Try reading anything by Fareed Zakaria.  I'm pretty sure he is just as liberal as you, he just has the ability to consider opinions without having to demonize the holder.  He doesn't appear to have better journalistic or analytic skills than you do, but he doesn't come across as shrill as you do, either.

Then again, his work gets published by major news outlets.  I'm pretty sure that your copy wouldn't make it past a junior editor at one of those organizations.  

Enjoy your slow decline into journalistic irrelevance, Jim.  It's fun to watch you circle the drain.

Remember a guy named Riche Whitt?  He pissed off and alienated his readership, too.

JimS
JimS

Got another bull's eye on you, eh, Dave?

Mike
Mike

Why are we doing anything at all? The family will not have anything to do with it. It is just another opportunity for boomers to rehash their sorry history. Let us just wait 20 more years, they will finally be gone, and then the rest of us can actually appreciate events without carrying around 60 years of baggage on how important we were and still are, at least in their minds. Talk about a group of people that do not understand the concept of putting the past behind you.

Albert
Albert

You kids will have your tattoos and piercings and AIDS cocktails to remind you of the good old days, whipersnapper.

Mike
Mike

So you concede this memorial has little to do with a man that gave his life for his country and is really about a group of people looking to exploit their legal, but still totally crackpot views of what happened on the last day of his life. I am with his family on this one. Don't bother. To quote Melvin Udall: Mr Groden et al can sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Huh?

Toss my right of free speech where?  To look like a good guy?  And I'll toss who there too?

DemO
DemO

RTGolden - Although, I do applaud you for following the liberals work here, you obviously know the TRUTH. 

Like you, I stay away from the right-wing nut jobs like Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Riley. 

Why dont you just go ahead and make a positive change in your life and come on over?

RTGolden
RTGolden

I'm a moderate nut job, thank you very much.  I know the distance from the far far far fringe left makes it difficult to tell, but now you know.

JpN
JpN

JimS - Isnt interesting that these right wing nut jobs, follow your work so closely???

Closet libs!!! 

RTGolden
RTGolden

Sucks to look in the mirror, doesn't it?

RTGolden
RTGolden

By the way JimS, your First Amendment Martyr, Mr. Broden, doesn't think so highly of the First Amendment protection being extended to his detractors, does he?  Didn't he sue the publishers of the book, Case Closed, because in it, the authors put forward their opinion that Broden, among others, was guilty of misleading the public?  Do they not have the First Amendment right to voice their opinion?  Or, is that right only reserved for that special caste of society, the Schutzians?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Upon what do you base this claim?  I served 14 years defending the right of free speech because that is what I believe in.  I have never, not once, claimed that Broden should not be allowed to sell his books.  I have never, not once, claimed that Dealey Plaza should be restricted or regulated in regards to free speech or assembly.  I merely stated that a city has the right to regulate commerce. That's all.It is telling that to bolster your argument, you have to resort to such libelous lengths.  Your narrow window of tolerance and acceptance puts the lie to your claims of being a liberal warrior, valiantly fighting for equality and justice for all.  It would appear you only fight for the equality and justice of those who share your own narrow views.  Journalism of this sort has been seen before; the blacklists of the McCarthy era come to mind, as do the various propaganda machines run by tyrannical governments, yea even Pravda comes to mind when one thinks of slanderous, libeling media being used against the populace.  You have hated for so long, you have become that which you hate.

JimS
JimS

Mike, it's not about being nice. It's about free speech. We're ot really talking about Groden and his bookstand. This is about the right and ability of Americans to assemble on Dealey Plaza on that day. That's what they're trying to shut down. Not Groden. You.Rmember,the guys like RT and PlanoDave, who will toss their right of free speech in an instant in order to look like good guys, will toss you, too. Who do you think staffs authoritarian regimes? It's all guys who want to be liked for being nice. And the other thing to watch out for in them Mike. They'll try to tell you they are conservatives.

Diana Powe
Diana Powe

I'm one of those people from Dallas who absolutely believe that, yes, Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President John F. Kennedy and Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit and was acting on his own initiative. However, Robert Groden should absolutely be free to appear in public and disagree with that. I suspect it's less jack boot and more hothouse flower that drives the attempt to purge Dealey Plaza of the messiness of dissenting views.

JimS
JimS

I suspect you are right. But you know what the worst thing is? A hothouse flower in Manolo Blahnik jackboots.

Mark Anders
Mark Anders

Clear, informative, simple. Like your post! Don’t stop writing, you’ve given me lots of good info!

james
james

the powers that killed jfk have simply been handed down a generation or two. that power is still the power in control of our country. it owns the city government too.

Albert
Albert

Oswald owns Dallas?

james
james

oswald didn't kill jfk any more than you or me. he was just a patsy who was duped into thinking he was doin' some patriotic good.

ChuckE
ChuckE

Selling books is not Free Speech, that's Free Market. If they were giving them away, that's Free Speech. The City has the right to regulate commerce on it's streets.

JimS
JimS

Wrong.

Clancey
Clancey

 Of course it does,  Jim.

Wanna see what happens when you set up a card table in front of 1100 Commerce to sell Hustler?  (that being the Federal Court House)

Didn't we just go through all kinds of foolishness over food trucks on streets?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Apples and oranges.  Food trucks would have to be regulated anyway, because we ingest their product.  Hustler falls under obscene and objectionable material.  As much as Jim has tried to piss me off in this thread (must be off his meds), he seems to be correct where selling written material on the street is concerned.  I couldn't find anything specific to Dallas, but other metropolitan areas that regulate and license street vendors make a First Amendment exception for written materials.  An exception does not a law make, but it lends a lot of weight to Jim's point.

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

Dallas is in the midst of branding itself a new image. An image of power, doing things big, iconic bridges, fancy glowing hotels, a thriving downtown, etc. It can't waste this opportunity of world wide media attention on silly things like freedom of information, rights to protest, blah blah blah...you know, those asinine First Amendment annoyances.

Hannibal Lecter
Hannibal Lecter

"So what's their beef? It appears to have to do with any suggestion by assassination theorists that the JFK killing case has not already been closed. Slammed shut, in fact. The overwhelming message of The Sixth Floor Museum exhibit is, "Case closed, show's over, return to your homes." And somebody doesn't want anyone getting off message when the news crews are here."

Change "assassination" and "JFK killing" to "climate change" and tell us if you feel the same way about the dissenters.

JimS
JimS

I do, absolutely.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Your comments further along in the thread distinctly put the lie to this statement.

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