The eyes of John F. Kennedy’s killer are not unkind. It’s a peculiar, if quiet, revelation to make here, in his company. The killer resides in a federal correctional facility — a classified location that’s at least a quarter-mile underground, and presumably miles from anywhere important. The facility is constructed from concrete amalgams and transparent materials so secret and durable, they don’t even have a name. In the event of a global nuclear holocaust, a government contractor once said, only two things will survive: “the cockroaches and that guy.”
He was called “The most dangerous man in the world” by President Lyndon B. Johnson, five decades ago.
His eyes are blue. His face is slender, deeply lined, made longer still by a natural frown. Still, he appears younger than most men his age. He’s presumed to be 80 years old.
According to the correctional officers here, Kennedy’s killer is a voracious reader. This seems true. More than a dozen books pepper the prisoner’s spartan cell. Most are nonfiction books about social issues, such as Trish Tilby’s recent exposé, District X. But a few novels are present, including a dogeared copy of T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.
You won’t find a tablet computer or e-reader here, of course. There’s nothing with a conventional circuit board or metal enclosure within a half-mile radius of this place.
More than 1,000 books — and very likely a thousand essays — have been written about the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. Nearly all have investigated the lives of people like Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. Most have criticized the findings of the Warren Commission, the task force appointed by President Johnson to investigate the Kennedy assassination.
These critics insist the Warren Commission’s final report was a rushed, inadequately researched frame-up. Nearly all proudly provide their own conspiracy theories about the events on that dreadful day in Dallas. And most insist that the man here — the man convicted of killing the president fifty years ago — is innocent.
Erik Lehnsherr. The man who calls himself Magneto.
Before the X-Gene
To understand Lehnsherr’s motives — or, rather, the motives the Warren Report alleged he had — one must understand the era in which the Kennedy assassination occurred.
When Kennedy took office in 1961, the civil rights movement had captured national attention and political allies ... and powerful enemies, especially in the South. The X-Gene and mutants were not yet a part of the public consciousness, though they would soon become so, due in large part to Lehnsherr’s activities.
The world was 15 years into the Cold War. Tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union were at a breaking point. By October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding, and the world faced imminent nuclear war. Last year, the CIA and the Homeland Mutant Response Division released previously-classified documents stating the crisis was in fact orchestrated by a mutant and former Nazi named Sebastian Shaw. His goal was the extermination of homo sapiens worldwide.
Also declassified was the revelation that the Cuban Missile Crisis was thwarted by a clandestine CIA team called “Division X.” Division X was comprised of several mutants led by Charles Xavier. Lehnsherr was also a member. His mastery of magnetism proved invaluable during the operation.
After the confrontation, Lehnsherr immediately left the team. He and other Division X members founded the Brotherhood of Mutants, an organization the FBI would quickly classify as “a pro-mutant terrorist group.” Division X disbanded days later. All evidence of its existence was sealed by the CIA.
While the outcome of the crisis was widely considered a victory for the Kennedy administration, it didn’t last. By early 1963, rumors swirled around the event as U.S. and Soviet witnesses to the Oct. 28 confrontation — nearly all of whom were naval officers — shared their unusual experience with other military personnel, civilians and even the media.
“It was a different time,” explains “Scary” Carey Morrison, a veteran radio personality. Morrison has hosted the conspiracy theory show What If...? since 1977. “Back then, if you talked about folks with superpowers, you might as well be talking about little green moon men. Most didn’t believe.”
A few citizens in 1963 did believe, however, and leveraged the fear and uncertainty to advance their own agendas. One such influential provocateur lived in Dallas.
Edwin Partridge was a former U.S. Army Major General who had close relations with radical right-wing groups. He was an outspoken critic of Kennedy, an anti-Communist and a staunch segregationist.
Despite having resigned from the Army in 1961, Partridge’s ties to the military remained strong. According to 1963 investigations by CIA task force Project: WideAwake, Partridge likely obtained “actionable evidence” from his contacts, confirming mutant involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis. This material likely included amateur photos and 8mm footage shot from the deck of the USS Fiske.
Partridge soon alluded to mutants in his Dallas speeches.
“I’m calling for a national protest against the conspiracy from within,” Partridge proclaimed during a rally in January 1963. “We are a nation in dire peril, facing calamities on all sides. Communism. Our anti-Christ, anti-prayer Supreme Court. Others. And now, I hear whispers about a new threat: abominations among us, more dangerous than any nuclear weapon.”
These materials and comments likely made Gen. Partridge an assassination target. According to the Warren Commission, Lehnsherr recruited political dissident Lee Harvey Oswald in February 1963 to kill Partridge. Oswald was a former Marine-turned-Marxist. The 24-year-old had defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, but returned to the U.S. a few years later.
On April 10, as Partridge worked at his dining room desk, Oswald aimed his rifle — a Carcano Model 91/38 he’d ordered from a mail catalog — from a sniping position less than 100 feet away. Partridge died instantly from the headshot.
Partridge’s death incensed his supporters. This contributed to what Christopher S. Byrne, a retired Dallas Herald crime reporter, calls a “perfect storm of anti-Kennedy and unwitting anti-mutant sentiment” that saturated Dallas throughout that summer.
Indeed, mutant historians now call 1963 America’s “Summer of Hate.” Several mutants across the country were killed that year, including two members of Lehnsherr’s Brotherhood of Mutants. Azazel and Tempest were slain by Project: WideAwake operatives in July. Records state the mutant duo ambushed the operatives.
By the time Kennedy, his wife Jackie and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson landed in Dallas on Nov. 22, radical organizations such as the newly-formed Friends of Humanity had published flyers and newspaper ads accusing Kennedy of treason. One flyer said Kennedy “tells fantastic LIES to the American people, especially regarding the UNHOLY GENETIC HORRORS who have INFILTRATED our cities.”
Kennedy reportedly saw these materials and remarked to his wife, “We’re really in nut country now.”
The messages were extreme, but impossible to ignore. Political analysts of the era agreed that the Kennedy administration’s next move should be to deliver a public statement regarding these genetic-related rumors. In fact, Nov. 22’s speech would have addressed these issues, however discreetly. It was never delivered.
Many Questions, No Answers
Here in present day, in the plastic prison a quarter-mile underground, Lehnsherr refuses to divulge anything about the days leading up to Kennedy’s assassination. In fact, he refuses to say anything at all.
This is expected. Lehnsherr rarely even speaks to his captors. But when he does, they listen. About 25 years ago, he told a facility correctional officer to visit the infirmary.
“It’s killing you,” Lehnsherr had said. “I can practically smell it.”
The next day, the officer was diagnosed with hereditary hemochromatosis. Too much iron in the blood. He was reassigned.
Lehnsherr ignores the stream of questions, asked here in present day. Were the 1963 reports from Project: WideAwake true? (Project: WideAwake was the CIA task force Kennedy created days after Gen. Partridge’s assassination to investigate other X-Gene cases.) Did Lehnsherr travel to Dallas in February to recruit Oswald? Was Partridge targeted because he’d learned too much about X-Gene mutants?
Lehnsherr’s face is inscrutable.
Was Oswald recruited because of his Marxist leanings? By 1963, Oswald had concocted a concept for his own government. He claimed his “Atheian System” would abolish institutionalized discrimination and segregation. Was Oswald ideologically sympathetic to mutants? Did Lehnsherr convince him they had a common enemy in Partridge?
Or perhaps recollecting those dark days, fifty years ago.
NOV. 22, 1963
Kennedy’s Dallas itinerary was straightforward: Deliver a luncheon speech at the city’s Trade Mart, then depart for Austin. Texas Governor John Connally and his wife Nellie met the Kennedys at Love Field airport at around 11:40 a.m. Nellie Connally was given a bouquet of yellow roses. Jackie Kennedy received a bouquet of reds.
The president’s motorcade embarked for downtown. The Connallys sat in the middle row of the uncovered “SS-100-X” Lincoln limousine. The Kennedys sat in the back. Nearly 200,000 Dallas residents came out to cheer the motorcade.
According to the Warren Commission, as the motorcade worked its way to Dealey Plaza (five minutes away from the Trade Mart), Lee Harvey Oswald sat alone in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. He’d worked there for about five weeks.
Oswald was here on orders from Lehnsherr, the Warren Commission would later conclude.
At just before 12:30 p.m., Kennedy’s motorcade passed the Book Depository. On the ground, the cheers seemed louder than ever. Nellie Connally looked back at Kennedy. “Mr. President, you certainly cannot say that Dallas does not love you,” she said.
What happened next unfolded in less than 3 minutes.
Oswald fired, but missed. He fired again. According to the Warren Commission’s now-famous “bent bullet” theory, this shot passed through Kennedy and Connally, seriously wounding them. Nellie Connally pulled her bleeding husband into her lap.
The third bullet struck Kennedy in the head. The world inside the car went red. A moment later, Jackie was up, frantic, reaching for something on the limousine’s trunk. A Secret Service agent would later say she was probably reaching for a piece of her husband’s head.
“Jack! Jack!” she screamed. “They’ve killed my husband! I have his brains in my hands!”
The limo sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital. “We were floating in yellow and red roses and blood,” Nellie Connally recalled later. “It was a sea of horror.”
Lehnsherr on the Grassy Knoll
That day, from his location in a nearby two-story tower, railroad employee Gavin Lindhardt had a clear view of Dealey Plaza’s grassy knoll — an elevated area near the assassination site. Lindhardt spotted a man fitting Lehnsherr’s description walking toward the knoll before the shooting.
Lehnsherr’s presence would be later confirmed by a photograph taken by Dallas resident Marie Ellen Dodge. Dodge, then 12 years old, stood near the knoll with her parents. The Dodges and another family — Bill and Gayle Oldman, and their two sons — were the closest civilian eyewitnesses to Kennedy's assassination.
As the president’s limo approached, Dodge snapped photos with her Kodak Instamatic 100. But Dodge wasn’t taking pictures of the president. She was photographing “the strange, squinty man” staring at something behind the president, at the Book Depository.
“The focus in his eyes, you could feel it,” Dodge, now 62, now recalls. “He wasn’t angry, but he was glaring. Intent. And then I saw… Well, I saw what I saw. For the longest time, no one believed me.”
According to the Warren Commission, there was no second gunman on the grassy knoll that day, as some conspiracy theorists believe. There was only Lehnsherr, trying to bend the bullet.
The Bent Bullet
The Warren Commission’s now-famous “bent bullet” theory, and its plausibility in relation to Lehnsherr’s metal-controlling mutant powers, was conceived late in its investigation. The unusual theory — that Lehnsherr controlled the path of Oswald’s second bullet (and perhaps even the third), ensuring it struck the president — hadn’t been considered by the commission until the CIA finally “fully cooperated” with investigators in January 1964.
Until this time, the CIA provided “need to know” information, which frustrated investigators. That changed when CIA Director John McComb saw Dodge’s photo of Lehnsherr. He approved the agency’s release of Lehnsherr’s identity, which had been suppressed after Division X’s disbandment.
While no one fully understands the extent of Lehnsherr’s powers, nearly all mutant experts concede the “bent bullet” theory is possible.
According to the Warren Commission, the second bullet fired from Oswald’s rifle passed through Kennedy’s and Connally’s bodies in an unlikely path.
Investigators stated the 1.2”-long bullet entered Kennedy’s upper back, exited through his throat, sliced through his shirt collar and nicked the knot of his Christian Dior tie. It then entered Connally’s back, near his right armpit. It tore through the governor’s body, obliterated one of his ribs, and exited just below his right nipple. The bullet then smashed through Connally’s right wrist, and pierced his left thigh.
Had Lehnsherr not been present during the assassination, the bullet’s trajectory may have been wildly different. But there he was, focusing his powers in the direction of the Book Depository — and then, on the bullet.
That’s what Dodge claims she saw, fifty years ago.
“He had his hand raised,” she recalls. “I heard the second shot, and then I saw the bullet. I saw the actual bullet. It just kind of hung there in mid-air for a second, and then zipped away. Toward the limousine.”
The Warren Commission later theorized that since Oswald’s first shot missed Kennedy completely, Lehnsherr was “obviously stopping, then steering” the vector of the second bullet as it flew, ensuring that it struck the president.
Kelly Seagle is a professor of Physics at Stanford University. She’s also a high-affect X-Gene mutant. Under current law, Seagle must wear an Inhibitor Collar while she’s in approved locations beyond her assigned internment camp, such as the university.
“What little we know about Magneto’s powers doesn’t confirm he has fine control over small ballistic projectiles, but it’s possible,” she explains. “But that doesn’t mean it’d be easy. It’d be like catching a housefly with chopsticks — except the fly is traveling 1,700 feet per second.”
The Warren Commission’s report also suggested that since the wounds caused by the second bullet were serious but not fatal, Lehnsherr may have also controlled Oswald’s third shot, which killed Kennedy instantly.
Seagle admits this is also possible.
“But if Magneto wanted to kill the president, why didn’t he just crush the car with his mind?” she asks. “Why not drop a plane on him, or have a Secret Service agent’s gun blow him away? Why was he in plain sight?”
The Flight of the President, and Oswald
Approximately eight minutes after Oswald fired the third shot, Kennedy arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and was rushed to Trauma Room #1. But it was too late. Kennedy’s wounds were moribund — at the point of death — before he ever reached Parkland.
He was declared dead at 1 p.m. Acting White House press secretary Malcolm Kilduff officially announced the news at 1:33 p.m.
By then, Parkland hospital was already overwhelmed with phone calls. Some were from legitimate political allies, but hundreds more were cranks. According to call logs, a Toledo woman who called herself “The Underground” claimed she had mystical powers that could resurrect the president. Another caller, a boy, called three times, each time asking for his father: “My daddy… President Kennedy,” he’d say, then giggle and hang up.
Another call, initially deemed a crank, was equally chilling: “You cannot elude the natural evolution of your species,” the male voice told the operator. “No law passed, nor force rallied, can stay Mother Nature’s perfect and unmerciful hand.”
The voice would later be identified as Lehnsherr’s.
As this unfolded, Lee Harvey Oswald was fleeing the city. Oswald had successfully exited the Book Depository, and had taken a bus to his home. He arrived at around the same time Kennedy was declared dead. Moments later, he left his home.
At around 1:15 p.m., as Kilduff prepared to announce Kennedy’s death to the press, eyewitnesses claimed Oswald was on foot, near East 10th Street and North Patton Avenue, when a Dallas police officer questioned him. Oswald shot the cop three times in the chest, and once in the right temple.
Not long after, he ducked into the Texas Theatre on West Jefferson Boulevard, witnesses said. Minutes later, as the film War Is Hell played, police entered the movie theater. Oswald was unarmed. He didn’t resist arrest, and appeared confounded by what was happening.
“I don’t know why you are treating me like this,” Oswald said, according to a police officer at the scene. “I didn’t kill anybody! What is this all about?”
That night, Oswald was charged with killing police officer J.D. Tippit and President Kennedy.
Lehnsherr’s whereabouts during this time remain unknown.
Circumstantial Evidence, Denials & Paranoia
Not long after arriving at Dallas police headquarters, Oswald was questioned by reporters. “I didn't shoot anybody,” he told them. “They've taken me in because I lived in the Soviet Union. I’m just a patsy.”
Oswald confessed to the assassination of Gen. Edwin Partridge (which surprised police), but repeatedly denied killing Kennedy or Tippit. He also denied owning a rifle, claiming that photographs of him holding a Carcano rifle and a revolver were phony.
During the next two days, Oswald was questioned several times by government agents, including CIA, Secret Service and officials who would later establish the Federal Council on Mutant Activities. (FCMA’s 1974 findings would provide grounds to create the Homeland Mutant Response Division two years later.)
“If you want me to cop to killing (Gen. Partridge), I'll cop to that,” Oswald told them. “That was like getting rid of Hitler at the right time. But I do deny shooting Kennedy and Tippit. Whoever those witnesses saw, that wasn’t me. That must be some kind of double.”
The theory of an “Oswald double” is a popular one. According to conspiracy enthusiasts, Oswald was spotted in more than one Dallas locale at the same time during November 1963. Oswald’s wife Marina later told investigators her husband behaved “like a different person” in the weeks leading up to Kennedy’s visit.
Dallas police moved forward with charging Oswald, despite possessing circumstantial evidence.
A partial palm print matching Oswald’s was discovered on the barrel of the rifle left at the Book Depository ... but that didn’t prove he pulled the trigger. Several fibers found on the rifle were similar to those found on Oswald’s shirt ... but again, that didn’t prove he was the shooter. Even the bullets that had killed Kennedy — later matched to the rifle — couldn’t prove that Oswald was the assassin.
And while eyewitnesses place Oswald at the scene of officer Tippit’s murder, the bullets could not be confirmed as being fired from the revolver Oswald owned. According to forensic records, the bullets were “too extensively damaged” for a conclusive analysis.
“I am not malcontent. Nothing irritated me about the President,” Oswald said during an interrogation on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 24. “I have nothing more to say to you — or anyone else.”
Oswald was more right than he knew. Twenty minutes later, at 11:21 a.m., he was shot during a jail transfer, under police protection. He died in Parkland Memorial Hospital’s operating room #5, less than two hours later, less than 200 feet from where Kennedy had died two days before.
Jack Ruby was the shooter. Ruby owned a Dallas-based nightspot called the Carousel Club. He assumed sole responsibility for the murder. He told a Secret Service agent he killed Oswald to save “Mrs. Kennedy the pain of coming back for a trial, especially for that no good son of a bitch.”
Ruby would later recant this confession, claiming he could not recall his whereabouts on the day of the Kennedy assassination, or the days leading up to the Oswald killing, or even several days after that. “It’s all lost time,” he reportedly said. “I don’t know how I got here (in police custody).”
On Dec. 11, Warren Commission chairman Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren and committee member Gerald R. Ford conducted a personal meeting with Ruby. Ford, then a U.S. Representative, later recalled:
“Ruby told us, he said, ‘The nurse that worked here. She injected me for a cold.’ A flu vaccine is what he meant. But Ruby said it was cancer cells. Earl told him, ‘Mr. Ruby, don’t tell me you actually believe that bullshit.’ But Ruby said, ‘I damn sure do!’”
Ruby’s testimony was not admitted into the Warren Commission. His trial moved forward. On Jan. 20th, 1964, Ruby was convicted of murder with malice, and was sentenced to death.
Two days later, he was admitted to Parkland hospital after prison medical staff diagnosed him with pneumonia. Parkland doctors discovered rampant cancer in Ruby’s liver, lungs, and brain.
Two days after that, Ruby died from a pulmonary embolism associated with lung cancer. He died in operating room #5 — the very operating room where Oswald had died, two months prior.
The Trial of Magneto
Two key factors led to the swift conclusion of the Warren Commission investigation and apprehension of Erik Lehnsherr in February 1964. The first was Ruby’s death.
“We were deeply concerned about what happened to him,” Ford said in a 1983 interview. “We’d been confident that the man behind the assassination (Oswald) was in the ground. The cancer could’ve been a coincidence, but it forced us to reevaluate.”
The second factor was the CIA’s eventual “full cooperation” in positively identifying Lehnsherr, using Marie Ellen Dodge’s photograph. Until then, “the agency claimed certain classified operations were in danger of being exposed,” Ford later wrote. “This clearly included Division X.”
The Warren Commission was under pressure to provide a “definitive record” and “if possible, a hopeful conclusion to the harrowing story” of the Nov. 22 events, The New York Times reported.
Critics of the Warren Commission believe Erik Lehnsherr represented this “hopeful conclusion” for investigators. According to reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the CIA quietly deployed Project: WideAwake agents to locate and capture Lehnsherr not after the Warren Commission’s release, but nearly two weeks before it.
By this time, it must have been clear the Commission report would expose X-Gene mutants and resoundingly damn Lehnsherr. It cited such evidence as Dodge’s grassy knoll photo, her testimony, the “bent bullet” ballistic data, Oswald’s recruitment and assassination of Gen. Edwin Partridge (and presumed reactivation by Lehnsherr as Kennedy’s assassin), the threatening phone call made to Parkland hospital, Jack Ruby’s mysterious death and other events — some relevant, some not.
Project: WideAwake operatives didn’t find Lehnsherr. On February 4th, he found them, in rural New York. Lehnsherr turned himself over to their custody.
The Warren Commission’s 688-page report was released the next morning. By that afternoon, President Johnson noted in a closed-door meeting with the commission that “The most dangerous man in the world” — Lehnsherr, the prime suspect in Kennedy’s assassination — was captured, and would be immediately tried for the crime.
The trial began the following week. The proceedings were closed to the public.
According to declassified court records, Lehnsherr offered little in his defense, especially compared to the prosecution’s onslaught. Brian M. Wein’s opening remarks were arguably more successful at striking fear and uncertainty in the minds of jurors than a thousand Gen. Edwin Partridge speeches ever could:
“We are gathered here to do more than find justice for a crime,” Wein said. “We’re here to address an issue of critical national importance: the appearance of homo superior. Mutants. Flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, yet possessing powers and abilities which set them apart from — some might say above — humanity. I wonder, in a world of beings like this ‘Magneto,’ if there’s any place for ordinary men and women.”
Thomas Jarvis, Lehnsherr’s public defender, would later say, “It was a circus. Never mind ‘due process.’ The nation was out for blood. This kid didn’t stand a chance.”
While on the stand, Lehnsherr admitted to being at Dealey Plaza’s grassy knoll on Nov. 22. But he was not there to assist in Kennedy’s assassination, he said. He was there to stop it.
Oswald was not Kennedy’s killer, Lehnsherr told the court. The true murderer was still at large, and “will very likely never be caught.” Lehnsherr refused to say more about the matter under cross-examination.
However, prosecutor Wein demanded that Lehnsherr demonstrate his mutant powers for the court. “If you seriously want people to believe you can alter the course of a bullet to save the president,” Wein said, “put your money where your mouth is. Prove it.”
Wein then presented a metal crow bar to Lehnsherr. To the shock of the audience, Lehnsherr easily twisted it using his mind. According to the court transcript, it took nearly five minutes for the court to return to order.
“It didn’t take long for that news to leak,” explains Fabienne Austen, author of X-Factor: How Mutants Shaped Our Lives and Laws. “This moment, more than any other, galvanized the nation regarding the X-Gene and mutants. Here (Lehnsherr) is, doing this unbelievable thing, being the person we all wish we could be. But because we weren’t him, we became afraid.”
Lehnsherr made his own closing argument. He insisted he was not guilty, and noted that no physical evidence linked him to the assassination.
“I did not shoot your president,” he told the jury. “But I know who did, and you’ll never find her. She has a way of hiding in plain sight.”
Erik Lehnsherr was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiring to assassinate the President of the United States. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in a federal correctional facility, with no possibility of parole.
The most dangerous man in the world would soon prove to be difficult to imprison. During the 1960s, Lehnsherr reportedly destroyed at least three of his holding cells. In 1971, Trask Industries was commissioned to design and construct a unique cell using industrial-grade polymers and concrete that could effectively contain Lehnsherr. The company has maintained and upgraded Lehnsherr’s famed plastic prison ever since.
Magneto’s Last Words
The famed plastic prison. Yes.
It’s present day. Kennedy’s 80-year-old killer stares on, through the thick transparent plastic. Time is running short — visitors are permitted only 20 minutes with the man — and there are so many questions left to ask.
People want to believe the Warren Commission report because believing the Warren Commission report is easy. It’s safe. But there are many loose threads … too many to count.
The last round of questions come, desperate now:
Who manipulated Oswald? If not Lehnsherr, then what man put him up there in the Book Depository? Why did Lehnsherr want to kill the president in the first place? Was it because Kennedy created Project: WideAwake, the CIA force that killed Brotherhood of Mutants members Azazel and Tempest earlier that year?
Perhaps it’s the mention of his old, long-dead comrades that sparks the sudden movement … or perhaps it’s something else … but Lehnsherr leans forward now. His lined face is so close to the plastic wall, his breath condenses on its surface. He opens his mouth, and — for the first time in fifty years — speaks to a reporter.
“Whoever said that was Oswald in the warehouse?” he says. His voice is low. German accent. Smooth. It sounds like butterscotch.
“And whoever said the killer was a man? And whoever said I wanted Kennedy dead because my brothers and sisters were being killed?”
“Humans,” he says, disgusted.
And with that, Lehnsherr turns away. The interview is over.
The search for Kennedy’s true killer, however, may never be.
Kennedy’s Last Words
Before his death, political pundits insisted that the genetic-related rumors spreading nationwide should be addressed by Kennedy. The speech the president had planned to deliver on Nov. 22 would have done just that. An excerpt:
"My friends and fellow citizens," he would have said, "America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions. Our dangers have not diminished. Our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the strength to do whatever must be done to ensure the preservation of all our citizenry. A citizenry that is ever-changing, shaping the unique landscape of tomorrow’s America. Now we can choose to accept that change and allow it to make us stronger. Or we can choose to be throttled by fear of the unfamiliar. I ask that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility. That we proudly accept these differences, be they of race, creed or genetic background, that we may achieve in our time — and for all time — the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.' Toward all men, and all women and all our magnificent and unique abilities.”