Sometimes it takes an outsider looking at something in a new way to make sense of it.
Now an Australian homicide detective has come forward with his theory about what really happened that day nearly 50 years ago in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
To this end, ReelzChannel offers up “JFK: The Smoking Gun,” a documentary that sets out to prove that Lee Harvey Oswald did not shoot the bullet that killed the 35th President on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas. Retired Australian homicide detective Colin McLaren, whose investigation is the focus of the ReelzChannel film, reveals his technique for uncovering his theory about a second shooter and the identity of that second shooter is a shocker.
McLaren, using both modern technology and good old-fashion investigative skills, exposes evidence proving that the fatal bullet that struck President John F. Kennedy’s head – long thought to have been shot by Lee Harvey Oswald – was actually fired by Secret Service Agent George Hickey.
"JFK: The Smoking Gun" is based on a combination of solid ballistic and forensic evidence and actual witness statements from the scene of the shooting. The findings, developed during consecutive, multi-year investigations, present evidence indicating that the only plausible explanation for the shooting is that while Oswald certainly did fire at – and hit – the President and Gov. Connally, the bullet that struck Kennedy’s head came from an AR-15 rifle accidently fired by Hickey, who was riding atop the left-rear seat of the follow-up car immediately behind the presidential limousine.
After reading Bonar Menninger’s "Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK," McLaren embarked on his own four-year investigation building on the research conducted by ballistics expert Howard Donahue, who spent 20 years studying the available evidence from history’s most infamous and debated crime scene. Donahue concluded that while Lee Harvey Oswald was the actual assassin, a second gunman fired the fatal bullet into Kennedy’s head – and that the kill shot was an accident. There was never a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, Donahue determined, but there was a colossal cover-up.
McLaren isn’t some random theorist, having served in Australia’s most elite crime squads; he solved some of that country’s most horrendous crimes of the 1980s and 1990s as part of the 14,000-strong Victoria Police department. There he investigated, charged and jailed many underworld figures and served on four nationally important task forces into homicides and organized crime — the longest of any serving detective sergeant or team leader of his time. He sent Australia’s Mafia godfather and 10 others to jail after going undercover and leading the country’s largest covert operation. His expertise was (and is) “crime scene principles & procedures.” McLaren’s life and crime solving have inspired multiple documentaries, a movie and a TV series.
Recently, I sat down with McLaren and spoke with him about the project, first asking about his motivation for undertaking the task of investigating such a well-known, and much talked about, crime.
“At the start of this, I just wanted to see if it was solvable,” explained McLaren, “and truthfully I thought it wasn’t. Then once I got into the research, I found a ‘critical mass’ situation and that turned everything around. Once I found that I felt better about the whole thing.”
McLaren is referring to his discovery that witnesses near the motorcade that day reported smelling gun powder from shots fired and some even recalled seeing George Hickey with a gun.
“The real turning point was I read about a woman who was a secretary in her late thirty’s who just happened to go out to see this passing parade and then after the shooting she’s hit by the smell of gun smoke. That was a turning point for me. I thought, ‘Wait, you can’t smell gun smoke from someone who’s six stories up like Oswald was,” says McLaren. “So I decided to keep digging and I found there were others who said the same thing, many very adamant that they smelled gun smoke. First, it was that one woman, and then I found testimony from ten people and then it was up to 22 people – some smelled smoke, some saw smoke, some say they saw George Hickey and believe he fired. It’s just too many people saying these things to ignore. One person saying something can be dismissed as possibly unreliable, but to have more than ten becomes critical mass and that’s when I started to think it was solvable.”
Knowing that his allegations will only continue to feed the public consciousness that even half a century later believes in a massive government cover-up, McLaren offers his reasoning for why that happened. “A cover-up was necessary for several reasons,” theorizes McLaren, “It was the height of the cold war. The damage that the true would have done to the nation was just too much. The Secret Service would have been a laughing stock. At the time, the Secret Service was under question by J. Edgar Hoover. He wanted to disband them and this would have assured that that happened. I can understand the need for the cover up and once you start something like that, you’re all in from the start. You can’t undo it.”
McLaren is not unaware that the introduction of his theory will cause uproar, much of which may be directed at him. “To malign me is to malign all of those witnesses on the ground at the scene. Those 22 people are good Americans who happened to be there that day and spoke up about what they felt and saw. They’re honest, decent people, so in essence you’re not really maligning me, you’re maligning those Americans. They’re the collective voice of the people.”
Finally coming to fruition with his book and the documentary, McLaren offers a final reason as to why he was the perfect candidate to finally uncover the truth, saying, “Not being an American, I have a different perspective on this. I don’t carry any politics. I love the country and the people but I have no interest in all the machinations that this story has in it. I don’t carry the scars that I think Americans do. All I had was the burning desire to get to the bottom of this. I’m only interested in facts, exhibits and testimony. I came to this undertaking cleanly with no agenda other than to find the true and that’s exactly what I believe I’ve done.”
“JFK: The Smoking Gun” airs several times during the month of November on REELZChannel, including on Friday, November 22nd, the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. For exact show dates and times, please check your local listings, or visit the REELZChannel website here.
For more information on Colin McLaren’s book, the documentary and the ReelzChannel, please visit this site.