Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The national news on some days one doesn’t forget. For me, those days include Pearl Harbor Day in 1941, the day Roosevelt died in 1945, the terrorist attack on September 11th in 2001 and, before that, November 22nd 1963 when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Texas.
My interest in politics grew over the years. I attended my first political rally during a weekend leave in 1952, when I was a nineteen year old Aviation Cadet on a weekend leave. I wanted to see General Eisenhauer in person, so I attended a Eisenhauer for President Rally at St. Louis’ Kiel Auditorium. The political extravaganza astounded me. Wow! Politics is “fun.” But it was the 1960 presidential campaign of John Kennedy that engendered my first real interest in politics – an interest I couldn’t indulge personally until after military retirement. I had a chance to see Kennedy at a parade in Long Beach, California but, to my lasting regret, didn't go. I do, however, remember that Kennedy’s campaign kept my eyes glued to our old black and white television. In those days I had no real understanding of liberal versus conservative political ideology, but I did recognize political charisma when I saw it – and Kennedy had charisma in spades.

On November 22nd, 1963 I was a Captain in the Air Force living in a rented home in San Bernardino, California. The television was on, and I was getting dressed for duty at the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector at Norton Air force Base. That’s when I heard the first announcement of Kennedy being shot in Dallas. Soon after, venerable TV newsman Walter Cronkite broke into tears, when he announced Kennedy’s death. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing on the television. I felt like crying myself. Grief is contagious. Moments later, the telephone rang and I was called to duty early because, not surprisingly, we were ordered into an increased military alert. No one knew what was happening. Was Kennedy’s assassination a single event, or part of a larger situation? We're still pondering that question.

Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for Kennedy’s murder. Uncertainty escalated even more, after strip joint owner Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald. And that uncertainty continues until this day. In 1971, I had an opportunity to visit Dallas, Texas and the site of Kennedy’s assassination at Dealey Plaza. I drove over to the Plaza, looked up to the 6th floor of the School Depository Building, and walked over to the infamous “grassy knoll” nearby. It seemed eerie. I find it very difficult to believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, despite the conclusion of the Warren Report (if you think I'm a “conspiracy theorist,” so be it).

I am (or at least was) an excellent rifle shot. I was on my high school ROTC Rifle Team, and later a member of a rifle team in Montana, with an NRA rating of Expert, and had almost achieved a Master rating – as well as having Expert Air Force military rifle and pistol ratings. I can tell you that it’s difficult- if not impossible - to fire “3” shots accurately downward within 5 to 7 seconds, with a bolt action high power rifle, at a moving target, from a kneeling position, from a six story building, with the recoil - and working the bolt action - that would have jerked a cheap rifle scope (or any other scope) off the target between the shots.

Consider this: according to sources, Oswald scored barely two points above the minimum for sharpshooter on one occasion, and only one point above the minimum requirement for marksman on another. Anyone with target shooting experience will tell you that’s not very good. There’s also huge psychological factors involved. No matter someone's rifle expertise, anyone attempting to assassinate a president would have to be extremely stressed – far more stressed than the stress of shooting at a deer, or even at a paper target during a rifle match.

I own an Argentine 7.65 caliber Argentine Mauser rifle (similar in power to the .308 Winchester), which is very similar to the Italian 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano identified as Oswald’s rifle. The difference between my Argentine Mauser and the Italian Carcano rifle is only a few thousandths of an inch for the muzzle and bullet. I have repeatedly attempted to dry fire my Argentine Mauser rifle three times within the 5 to 7 seconds allotted to Oswald’s time to shoot three times. Even without aiming, or recoil, or attempting to make a difficult shot downward at a moving target, I can hardly do it. And I don’t think Oswald could do it either.

Oswald may well have shot at President Kennedy – whether he hit or missed. But I do not think Oswald acted alone. We’re still debating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln after 141 years. We’re likely to debate John F. Kennedy’s assassination even longer.


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