Thursday, August 09, 2007

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy. Just the word has a flow and aura to it in English that people fall in love with the concept. We see conspiracies everywhere. Conspiracies have launched a thousand novels. The daVinci Code is a huge conspiracy story. My own novels deal with conspiracies, or more accurately, what happens when conspiracies fall apart.

Everyone claims conspiracy. A left-wing conspiracy to control the media. A vast right wing conspiracy against Hillary Clinton. And of course, the granddaddy of all conspiracies: The Kennedy Assassination.

I have spent my career amazed at how hard conspiracies are to keep together. The code of silence among anyone; gangsters, cops, thieves, drug runners, anyone at all, is a myth. People talk. In fact, they can’t shut up. Government employees are the worst. The U.S. government can’t even keep secrets from our enemies. Conspiracies don’t work.

I know, I know, what if they are so good we never detect them. I don’t buy it. Not a big scale. And if you say “What about the _____ conspiracy?” If you know about it the conspiracy failed. Someone knows about it.

I’ve read up a little on the Kennedy assassination. I don’t claim to be an expert but I can’t buy into a conspiracy. I have visited Dallas twice. This is me and my friend Bud Wilson in front of the Book Depository. We were there on a meeting for Internet predator investigations back before NBC made it fashionable. We got a great tour of the depository and I spent a long time next to the sniper’s nest. I could testify in court, based on my experience and training that the shots were nowhere near impossible.

Last weekend I watched Vincent Bugliosi on BookTV. I know I like to go wild on the weekends. Not only is he a good writer he’s about the smartest guy I’ve ever heard speak. His new book on the events in Dallas in 1963 is exhaustive and he is not shy about contradicting conspiracy theorists. His conclusion: Oswald acted alone. That, unfortunately happens all too often. One lonely, crazy person affecting history. No plan. No conspiracy, just coincidence and luck. From Gavrilo Princip and his act that led to World War I to Nathuram Godse who killed Gandhi history gets screwed up enough by nuts that conspiracies are superfluous.

What do you think? Did Oswald act alone?

Website updated.

Just a quick note to say my website was just updated. Among the new things is the cover of next year’s book, Burn Zone. I won’t waste time talking about a book six months before release but I’m happy with the revamped website. If you get a second drop by and leave a note on the repaired guest book.


  1. I heard there's a conspiracy to get you to come back to Columbia, SC to do a book signing when BURN ZONE comes out.

  2. Dammit. I really wanted to hate the new cover. Dammit.

    And Oswald did not act alone. Just sayin'.

  3. I think people love conspiracy theories because they crave complexity. Besides, one crazy guy acting alone makes us all feel vulnerable. We want to know that it takes more than that to take us out.

    The site looks faboo!!!

  4. Debby
    YOu and Jim rock. I think I might be in Charleston regardless.

    The Phillipino prison video is a huge hit here. I know it's a couple of weeks old but, wow, you went above and beyond.
    BTW Oswald --Alone.

    Patty, You hit the nail on the head. The same reason the Congress worries about little things and ignores the big things. We want to feel like we can do something.

    I was going to wait to put up the cover but the conveninece of having it all done at once was too enticing.


  5. He acted alone. And I don't really believe in conspiracy theories either for the same reason--nobody can keep their mouths shut.


    What do you think about Hoffa's disappearance?

    Being from the Detroit area, I'm inclined to think, since they were building both the Renaissance Center and the M-69 extension during his disappearance, that his body is buried in concrete somewhere in the area. I don't believe the hitmen could have driven him all the way to the Meadows in New York state to bury the body when there were plenty of construction sites available in the Detroit area.

    But why hasn't anyone talked?

  6. Love the cover for the new book!

  7. MArk,
    Excellent point.

    JUst because we haven't heard about it doesn't mean somebody didn't talk. He may be at the bottom of Giants stadium. WHo knows.

    Thank you. I'd like to claim credit but that was the fine art department at Putnam. The cover of the arc is glossy and spectacular.


  8. I think it was Bart Simpson on the grassy knoll...

  9. If not for the most bizarre footnote to the assassination, the mobbed-up Jack Ruby shooting Oswald, the conspiracy theorists would probably have faded away.

    LHO acted alone.

    However, did you know that JFK is still alive, having been kept on life-support at a secret location since 1963?

    And...between you and me...I saw Elvis buying a case of peanut butter at the local Ralph's last week.