In the book ["Killing Kennedy"], [Bill] O'Reilly actually declares, with laughable solemnity, words to the effect that "Either Oswald would win Marina's love again that night or he would kill Kennedy the next day. That was the choice." .... It's an utterly laughable theory based on lame armchair pseudo-psychology.


It's not a laughable theory at all. Not in the slightest. It makes perfect sense--from the point-of-view of Lee Harvey Oswald on the evening of Thursday, November 21, 1963.

I, too, think that the assassination would almost certainly have not occurred had Marina and Lee agreed to get back together on November 21st.

Marina Oswald said that Lee, on November 21, offered to go look for an apartment in Dallas "tomorrow" if Marina would agree to come back and live with Lee right away. Quoting Marina Oswald:

"He said that he was lonely because he hadn't come the preceding weekend, and he wanted to make his peace with me. .... On that day [11/21/63], he suggested that we rent an apartment in Dallas. He said that he was tired of living alone and perhaps the reason for my being so angry was the fact that we were not living together. That if I want to he would rent an apartment in Dallas tomorrow--that he didn't want me to remain with Ruth any longer, but wanted me to live with him in Dallas. He repeated this not once but several times, but I refused. And he said that once again I was preferring my friends to him, and that I didn't need him." -- Marina Oswald; Warren Commission testimony; February 3, 1964 [1 H 65-66]

Therefore, given that testimony from the lips of Marina Oswald herself, is it likely Lee would have had thoughts of taking his rifle to work with him the next day and killing JFK at noontime just before he went to look for a new apartment for his family after work? I kind of doubt it.

The fact that Marina rejected Lee on November 21 is, in my view, a key event that allowed Lee Oswald's plan of attempting to assassinate President Kennedy to go forward uninterrupted.

When Lee went to Ruth Paine's house in Irving on November 21st, he had, of course, already been thinking about shooting the President with his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. We can know he had thoughts of shooting JFK as early as Thursday morning, November 21 when he made up his lie to Buell Wesley Frazier about the nonexistent "curtain rods".

So Marina's rejection on the night of the 21st was certainly not an overriding motive of Lee's in his decision to take his gun to work the next day and shoot the President of the United States. Obviously, he must have had a motive for wanting to kill the President even before riding to Irving with Wesley Frazier on Thursday afternoon. And the proof of that fact rests in the provable "curtain rods" lie he told Frazier on Thursday morning. So Lee Oswald had a motive for shooting the President even before he saw his wife on November 21, although we will never know for sure what that motive was.

But Lee Harvey's assassination plan was not yet finalized in his mind or fixed in stone as late as Thursday night. If Marina had responded differently to Lee's request to get an apartment in Dallas right away, I think history would have been different on November 22, and John F. Kennedy would very likely have lived to make his speech at the Trade Mart that day.

And Vincent Bugliosi thinks so too. Let's listen:

People are, of course, free to disagree with the above assessment of Lee Harvey Oswald's perceived thought processes. Is it a guessing game? Sure it is. It can't be anything else, given the fact that the President's assassin was himself killed just two days after JFK was slain. But in my view, the above evaluation is a reasonable one when trying to get inside the head of Lee Harvey Oswald on the night of Thursday, 11/21/63.

Ruth Paine also made a good observation about Lee Oswald that deserves to be replayed occasionally. She said this:

"I do think for the historical record it's important that people understand that Lee was a very ordinary person -- that people can kill a President without that being something that shows on them in advance." -- Ruth Paine; July 1986; "On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald" (London Weekend Television)

David Von Pein
January 4, 2013