Monday, December 9, 2013

J.D. Tippit's Murder Properly Observed

Dale Myers’ Misleading Portrait of J.D. Tippit 

Dale Myers’ Norman Rockwell portrait of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit in the Detroit Free Press (November, 2013, posted in full below) may be accurate but is misleading in not presenting all the pertinent facts.
Officer Tippit, whose murder is attributed to the same man alleged to have assassinated President Kennedy less than an hour earlier, was a good cop but not a smart one, and had a peculiar inability to look people squarely in the eyes when talking with them. Now is a time when we have to look into the eyes and square things away to determine the truth and achieve justice, not just get misty eyed over a lost loved one.
It’s certainly true that Tippit is not remembered as he should be and because his murder was not properly investigated allows the allegations of conspiracy to continue, and while they may be painful for family and friends they are not as preposterous as Myers claims.

Among the odd jobs Tippit held to make ends meet was at a barbeque restaurant popular with young people where he struck up an affair with a married and pregnant waitress, thus providing a motive for someone other than Oswald to kill him.
The restaurant Tippit worked was owned by a John Birch Society extremist whose business partner was Ralph Paul, who also happened to be Jack Ruby’s business partner.

While the Tippit family and friends may make the anniversary reflections on the assassination personal, so does every American who was robbed of their democracy that day, when bullets replaced the ballot, truth was lost to government propaganda and those responsible for the crimes never saw justice.
A new book on the murder of Tippit by California journalist Joseph McBride tells us that according to Tippit’s father, Tippit was killed while hunting for not just a suspicious person but specifically for Lee Harvey Oswald.  

Myers says that: “At 1:15 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963, Officer Tippit spotted a suspicious man walking near Tenth and Patton in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. He stopped his squad car and got out to investigate. The man, identified by eyewitnesses as Lee Harvey Oswald, pulled a gun from under his jacket and shot Tippit in the chest and head, killing him instantly.”
What Myers doesn’t tell you are a number of contributing facts and factors that question the identity and role of Lee Harvey Oswald. Myers doesn’t tell you that Oswald was also seen by eyewitnesses at the Top Ten Record shop in Oak Cliff twice that morning, and that Tippit also stopped there shortly after one o’clock, minutes before he was killed, to make a phone call.

Eyewitnesses also placed Oswald at a nearby convenience store purchasing candy and beer and using a Texas drivers licenses as identification when the historic Oswald was at work at the Texas School Book Depository. Which Oswald killed Tippit, the one at work at Dealey Plaza or the one at the record shop and convenience store?
Two eye witnesses at the scene of the murder say there were two men near Tippit when he was killed, one who ran away and the other who left in an old Plymouth.

Shortly thereafter an eyewitness saw Oswald behind the wheel of a 1957 Plymouth, and wrote down the license plate number of the car that was traced to Carl Mather. When the FBI questioned Mrs. Mather, with the Plymouth sitting in driveway, she told them that on the morning of November 22, 1963, her husband had the Plymouth at his place of employment – Collins Radio Company, where he worked on the radios of the Vice President’s airplane. But in the afternoon they went to the home of their good friend and former neighbor J.D. Tippit to pay their respects to his widow.
So the accused presidential assassin and cop killer was seen shortly after murdering J.D. Tippit riding around in the car of a good friend of the murdered victim?

Indeed, as Myers contends, Tippit’s showdown with Oswald had momentous impact on our nation’s history, and continues to haunt us today, as the government records related to Collins Radio Company are still being withheld from the public for reasons of “national security.”
As Myers suggests, historians should consider the consequences for Dallas and the country had Oswald, framed as the patsy, escaped the city, as he wouldn’t have been murdered while in the custody of the Dallas police and would have lived to tell his side of the story.

Tippit should be remembered as the Dallas policeman whose murder is considered the “Rosetta Stone” of the assassination of President Kennedy, a murder that should be properly investigated today so those actually responsible for the murders of John F. Kennedy and J.D. Tippit can be properly and legally identified and some semblance of truth and justice achieved.
Truth, justice and the law are essential ingredients of our form of government that has been corrupted by the murders of Kennedy, Tippit and Oswald, and corruption continues with the failure of the government to come clean and enforce the JFK Act of 1992. Rather than redact, withhold, lose and destroy the relevant records on the assassination, the records should be immediately released so the citizens of this country can make up their own minds as to what happened in Dallas that day.

William E. Kelly, Jr. is the son of a Camden, New Jersey policeman, independent researcher, journalist and historian who blogs about the assassination at

In the Detroit Free Press - Nov. 2013
Dale Myers wrote
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
The images of that day are seared in the public consciousness and over the last few weeks have been revisited with television documentaries, newspaper and magazine articles, and what seems like an endless parade of conspiracy theories.

Yet, few remember J.D. Tippit, the Dallas cop who was gunned down on an Oak Cliff side street just 45 minutes after the assassination. Even fewer realize that Tippit’s murder is what led to the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, who was later charged with killing Kennedy.
For the Tippit family, the 50th anniversary of those four dark days in November is personal. The murder of one so loved was devastating beyond words.

Particularly painful for family and friends are the continuing allegations that J.D. was somehow involved in a conspiracy to kill the president or to murder Oswald. Of course, anyone who really knew the 39-year-old father of three knows that such claims are preposterous.
J.D. was a country boy raised in the depression-era farming community of Clarksville, Texas. During World War II, at age 19, he volunteered for the parachute infantry and jumped into France with the 17th Airborne Division earning a Bronze service star. After the war, he married his high school sweetheart, Marie Gasway, and tried to make a go of farming. But drought and floods took their toll on the young family and in 1952 he sought employment with the Dallas Police Department.

J.D. had a keen eye for police work. He was a good judge of people, compassionate, and dependable. Away from the force and the odd jobs he held to make ends meet, J.D. was a devoted family man. He liked Clark Gable movies, the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, bushy Christmas trees, and clowning around with friends and family. He was the funny brother, the favorite uncle, the lovable guy.
At 1:15 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963, Officer Tippit spotted a suspicious man walking near Tenth and Patton in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. He stopped his squad car and got out to investigate. The man, identified by eyewitnesses as Lee Harvey Oswald, pulled a gun from under his jacket and shot Tippit in the chest and head, killing him instantly. Forty minutes later, police pounced on the cop-killer at the Texas Theater.

Late that night, Tippit’s body lay in state at an Oak Cliff funeral home. “I don’t suppose you could imagine what it was like to see your best friend laying up there,” boyhood pal and brother-in-law Jack Christopher recalled. “His life was gone, just like that.”
Three days later, 700 policemen in dress blues joined as many mourners at the small, red brick Beckley Hills Baptist Church to say good-bye. An organist played “The Old Rugged Cross” as broad shouldered lawmen openly wept.

Few historians have considered the consequences for Dallas and the country had Oswald, an avowed pro-Castro Marxist, escaped the city. The president’s assassination had lit the fuse of a Cold War powder keg that might never have been snuffed out. In that sense, Tippit’s showdown with Oswald had a momentous impact on our nation’s history.
J.D. Tippit was one of those ordinary men who, through extraordinary events, had the moniker of hero thrust upon them. And although his pivotal role in America’s darkest days will forever be remembered, it is his likeable spirit that has left the deepest impression on those who loved him.

Duty, honor, and love — essential ingredients of a hero of the ordinary kind.

Dale K. Myers is a Milford resident and the author of “With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit” (Oak Cliff Press, 2013)


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