There is no doubt that Jack Ruby played a significant part in the assassination. Apart from the obvious fact that he murdered Oswald on the pretext of protecting Mrs Kennedy from having to testify at Oswald’s trial, he also appeared, openly, in several other critical situations.
Ruby was seen and recognised by local journalist Seth Kantor who knew him, shortly after the arrival of the President and Governor Connally at Parkland Hospital. Indeed Kantor actually spoke to Ruby, and although the Warren Commission believed Kantor to be mistaken, this would seem unlikely. What was Ruby doing at Parkland Hospital at that time? It is easy to believe that Ruby was the means by which the bullet, CE 399, found itself on a stretcher where it was bound to be found later. Given the minimal distortion, the bullet was almost certainly fired into something like a bucket of water and recovered to be used (perhaps planted) as evidence.
During one of the few press conferences held after Oswald’s arrest, Ruby was seen and indeed filmed, standing at the back of the press crowd. What is more, he spoke out and corrected someone who said that Oswald had been a member of the Free Cuba Committee, whereas in fact he had been a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, an opposite faction. Why was Ruby there and most importantly, how did he know anything of Oswald’s associations with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee?
Some witnesses claimed to have seen a man of Ruby’s description on the morning of the 22 November unloading something looking suspiciously like a rifle from a flat-bed pick-up truck, parked part on the pavement on the north side of Elm Street, just below the Grassy Knoll.
The Murder of Oswald
Ruby was said to be known to many and indeed, probably most, of Dallas’s police officers. Ruby owned a popular night club, The Carousel Club, which was often frequented by officers of the local police force. However, the Warren Commission would have us believe that Ruby was virtually unknown to the local police which, given the nature of his club, would seem unlikely. However, when it comes to the murder of Oswald, one has to ask how it is that Ruby managed to gain access to his victim at the time he was being led out to a waiting car in the basement of the Dallas Police Headquarters to be transferred to the County Jail. Most of the Dallas Police on duty at the time would have been present in the basement car park and Ruby would have had to get past many at the very least by whichever means he took to get to his waiting point. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that police officers assisted him to reach his target.
To the amazed looks of the escorting officers, in the presence of the Dallas media and live on television, Ruby forced his way forward and shot Oswald in the stomach. Although Oswald did not die immediately, he was given heart massage which probably saw him off, ensuring that Ruby’s objective of executing Oswald was successfully concluded.
We can of course speculate as to Ruby’s true motive for this murder, but the most obvious was to shut Oswald up. Is it possible that Ruby had even attended the press conference in order to take a pot-shot at Oswald if the opportunity were to arise?
Although Oswald may have seemed a rather simple character, as he was portrayed to be, it is quite clear that deep down he had quite a sharp mind. One cannot know for certain the content of his unrecorded interrogations by the Dallas Police and the FBI, but it is quite likely that he knew more than most would have liked. Perhaps after the event he started to put two and two together and began to understand what had happened and how. He may even have been able to work out who had been responsible as he pieced together what he was told of what had happened and what he had been told prior to the event.
Oswald strongly professed his innocence, something uncharacteristic of assassins anxious to claim fame and notoriety and a place in the history books. He firmly pronounced himself a patsy, and with such clear conviction it may be concluded that he had worked out exactly what had happened and the role he had unwittingly played. Perhaps he could see how and by whom, he had been framed.
It is quite possible that Oswald was expected to have met his end as a consequence of his arrest. Certainly enough police officers arrived at the Dallas Theater to pick him up and there was enough of a scuffle in which he could have been shot while "resisting arrest". Whatever his fate may have been it is of no doubt that Oswald’s removal was convenient to those who would wish us to believe the content of the Warren Commission. Given that Oswald was not even allowed legal representation before the Warren Commission we can only speculate as to how strong his case might have proved to be in the event that he had stood trial.
Of course, Ruby stood trial for Oswald’s murder. He also testified before the Warren Commission and even undertook a lie-detector test. Towards the end of the Warren Commission’s investigation, Ruby requested that he be taken from Dallas to Washington in order that he could disclose to the Warren Commission further and much more pertinent information in the assassination. He felt he would be safer in Washington, but Chief Justice, Earl Warren, refused his specific request and as a consequence we did not get the benefit of what Ruby might have been able to add to the pool of evidence.
Ruby was found guilty of Oswald’s murder and was sentenced to the electric chair, although he died under suspicious circumstances in prison before he could be executed.
What was Ruby’s involvement? Some clues may be found in Ruby’s earlier associations with the Mafia when he lived in Chicago. Although he was not himself a member (he was a Polish Jew, real name, Jacob Rubenstein, and not Italian) he was heavily involved with them. In the days prior to the assassination, Ruby made a significantly increased number of telephone calls outside of the city of Dallas. Perhaps he was coordinating things with outsiders? Perhaps he was also involved in the implementation of detailed aspects such as those required to implicate Oswald? Perhaps he used his extensive array of contacts in and around Dallas to help with such things as providing Oswald with a job, perhaps even to getting the motorcade route changed so that the car passed directly below the Book Depository building? Perhaps he was the local coordinator and logistics manager helping the assassins come and go?
Whatever Ruby’s true role in the assassination there is such a wealth of evidence linking him to the events of 22 November 1963 that it is almost inconceivable that he did not play some further part beyond that of murdering Oswald and certainly he knew a great deal more than he disclosed to the Warren Commission.