Yet, the assassination did have a profoundly negative effect on this country that lingers today.
Widespread distrust of the government may not have begun on Nov. 22, 1963, but the assassination became a watershed moment when many Americans felt they could no longer trust their government.
Vietnam, assassinations of RFK and MLK, and then Watergate further diluted whatever trust most Americans had, not only in their government but also in their society in general.
Most Americans have long believed that JFK was murdered by multiple gunmen. That doesn't make it true, but that is what most Americans believe.
And, with good reason.
From Mark Lane's "Rush to Judgment" through Josiah Thompson's "Six Seconds in Dallas," both published in the 1960s, through the House Select Committee on Assassinations of the 1970s, the American public concluded that the JFK assassination was a conspiracy of some sort.
They didn't need Oliver Stone's "JFK" film to convince them.
It was always a long-held belief by most Americans that more than one person shot Kennedy, because the assassination sounded fishy from the beginning.
The armchair analysts like to say that those who believe there was some sort of conspiracy just can't fathom the idea of a lone nut taking out the most powerful man in the world.
On the contrary, it is quite believable that one man, acting alone, can commit such a terrible crime. It's happened before and will happen again.
I do think Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in some fashion from his perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, but it's hard to believe he was the sole shooter in Dealey Plaza.
Here are a few facts that many Americans knew in the mid-1960s that led them to conclude something was wrong with the official Warren Commission account that Oswald acted alone:
1) Oswald was a U.S. Marine in the late 1950s. He was a low-end marksman, not a sharpshooter. He had top secret clearance in Japan and California as a radar specialist with knowledge of the U2 spy plane. A month after he gets an early discharge in 1959, during the height of the Cold War, he defects to the Soviet Union. Within a few months of his defection, Gary Powers' U2 spy plane is shot down. Oswald marries a Russian woman in the Soviet Union, but is disgruntled with his life there. He returns to the U.S. in 1962 with his wife, Marina, and their new daughter. He settles in Dallas, but then goes to New Orleans to become a one-man, pro-Castro protester. He also visited the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City.
You would think, given the era of the Cold War that gave us the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile crisis, that a former Marine, who defects to the USSR then comes back to the U.S., would be under constant surveillance. We learned years later that the FBI destroyed its paperwork about tailing Oswald.
2) The Abraham Zapruder film clearly shows Kennedy's head being partially blown off by a shot from the right front of the vehicle, from the infamous "grassy knoll" and not from Oswald's perch in the book building behind the motorcade. Many witnesses, including bystanders, Dallas police officers, Gov. John Connally, who was seated in front of Kennedy and was wounded by the "magic bullet," and Secret Service Agent Clint Hill believed the fatal shot came from the grassy knoll.
Parts of JFK's skull and blood were blown to the left rear of the vehicle indicating a shot from the right front.
The Zapruder super-8mm film, above, is painful to watch, but seeing is believing. Kennedy's fatal shot came from the right front in frame 313.
3) On Nov. 24, Oswald is gunned down on live TV at the police station by Jack Ruby, a strip-joint operator with known connections to the Mob, as well as the Dallas police.
How convenient that the only suspect in the JFK assassination is silenced before anyone can get any information out of him. Naturally, the Dallas police never recorded, nor took notes, of Oswald's interrogations at the police headquarters. It's worth noting that Dallas, at that time, was ground zero for hatred of JFK. Here's another story providing more context for that hate.
Those facts alone would make even the casual observer question what the heck happened in Dallas in 1963. Those same questions persist in 2013.
And, there are plenty of other issues, from the magic bullet theory, where one bullet passed through Kennedy and Connally and is left in good condition, yet the bullet that blows half of Kennedy's skull off is scattered into bits. This suggest different types of bullets struck Kennedy meaning different guns were fired, by different men.
Or, the fact that Oswald, who clearly was a misfit and craved the limelight, would say to reporters that he was a "patsy." Why wouldn't he claim credit if he did it?
Or, the botched autopsy.
For more information than you could possibly imagine, check out this website, which contains multiple links to other websites.
And, here is a listing of TV programs slated to air in November.
All of the conspiracy theories out there, and there are almost too many to count, are no more crazy than the one dished up by the Warren Commission.
But, that is the official version of events. Oswald acted alone.
I believe the Mob had Kennedy killed, but we'll never know the truth. Of all the murders in this country, the ones by the Mafia are the ones seldom, if ever, solved. I mean, who killed Jimmy Hoffa and where is he buried? Mobsters rarely talk about their killings.
The JFK assassination is now just a curiosity for history buffs. It's easier to believe Oswald did it alone than to imagine something far more sinister was at play.