November 22, 2003 marks 40 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
November 24 is 40 years since Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.
These seemingly disparate facts intersect nicely when contemplating the past four decades of speculation and theory. From the Warren Commission to Oliver Stone, from the grassy knoll to the book depository, from John-John's salute to Jackie's pillbox hat...all of these are seared into the collective American pop culture consciousness.
In light of this significant anniversary, I dialed up Darnay Hoffman to refresh my memory on his personal JFK theory. Hoffman is a lawyer with a client list that includes subway shooter Bernie Goetz, the Son of Sam, Joel Steinberg, and JonBenet Ramsey's babysitter. He is also married to Sidney Biddle Barrows, the Mayflower Madam. Darnay Hoffman is not shy about controversy.
"I am not part of the 89 percent of Americans-including Bill Clinton and Al Gore -- who doggedly believe in a conspiracy," he told me before saying hello.
Hoffman's position is not the result of startling new evidence or the testimony of a long-ignored witness or the hunger to merely buck a trend.
Rather, his rationale is based on Jack Ruby's dog.
As confirmed by the Warren Commission Report, innumerable assassination books, and even Oliver Stone himself, Jack Ruby loved dogs. The portly strip club owner lived with a dozen canines, doting on them, and even calling them his "children." But it was a special dog, a dachshund named Sheba that Ruby referred to as his "wife."
"She rarely left his side," Hoffman explains. "Even in the film JFK, a celluloid Sheba strolls with her master through the strip club he owned."
Which brings us back to Dallas.
For someone acting in concordance with a massive, well-oiled conspiracy, Ruby's behavior was rather breezy on the morning of November 24, 1963.
"Although Lee Harvey Oswald's prison transfer was scheduled for 10 A.M., according to his roommate, Ruby was still lounging about in his underwear at that time," Darnay chuckled as I struggled to erase this image from my mind.
Moreover, the only reason Ruby left his apartment that early on a Sunday was to visit the local Western Union office. It appears one of his strippers had called and the notoriously big-hearted Ruby promised to wire her a $25.00 advance to pay her rent.
So, Jack and Sheba took a little drive.
With Sheba waiting in the car, Ruby entered Western Union. Although the Oswald prison transfer was delayed, this fact was not made public. Ruby could not have known the accused assassin was still being held in the police station directly across the street. At 11:17 A.M., Western Union records show Jack Ruby sending a money order for $25.00 to the stripper in need. Oswald was murdered at 11:21 A.M.
"Obviously, during those four minutes, Ruby decided Sheba could wait in the car while he checked out the commotion across the street at the Dallas police station," Hoffman postulates. "Then, as Ruby himself testified before the Warren Commission, the sight a smirking Oswald was just too much for him to bear."
If dog-lover Jack Ruby intended to shoot Oswald, knowing full well he'd be caught and arrested, would he leave the beloved Sheba, his "wife," locked alone in the car? Hardly.
In addition, when you consider that Ruby was standing just to Oswald's right-with a loaded gun in his pocket-during the midnight press conference of November 22, you'd have to wonder why he didn't pull the trigger right then and there...especially with Sheba safe at home.
"It matters little which conspiracy theory you subscribe to; Jack Ruby is a major player in them all," concludes Hoffman. "In other words, to disprove Ruby's role is to disprove the presence of a conspiracy, and Sheba may do more than the testimony of 552 witnesses to dispel one of this nation's most powerful and enduring myths."
As anyone who has ever loved a dog could've told the Warren Commission, we've barking up the wrong tree for 40 years.
Mickey Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet (www.murderingofmyyears.com) and an editor at Wide Angle (www.wideangleny.com). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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