The assassination of John Kennedy
I have a faint memory of the feeling in my house when Walter Cronkite in his shirtsleeves interrupted our routines with news that broke adult hearts. It still seems impossible for us to believe that a man who by most accounts seemed rudderless and marginal could target the genteel American President, parading beside his glamorous wife, and end his life. We believe it must have been a conspiracy, with powerful foreign or domestic forces manipulating Oswald to their objective of assassination. There must have been elite or royal or sinister money behind the shooting: militaries, corporations, kings, despots, the mob. The idea that Oswald, a man blown here and there in search of solid ground, could take his rifle, find the polished American President in the crosshairs, and pull the trigger, turns our world upside down. But we know from other recent examples of terrorist violence that emptiness, disenfranchisement, revolutionary ideologies, resentment and anger do not always protest, seethe and disappear quietly under the greater power of the establishment. Sometimes, in violent moments, one or more of these break through the walls of civil society and leave us stunned and searching, for years.