Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Using Dad's Guns


The most recent mass school shooting in Texas where a young man used his father's legal weapons to kill his schoolmates reminds me of a JFK incident that could have saved JFK's life, but didn't.

In the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) publication Prologue (Summer 2000), Jeb Byrne wrties, "The Hour Before Dallas - A Recollection by President Kennedy's Fort Worth Advance Man."

According to Byrne, (Secret Service Agent Mike...) "Howard says that every floor and window in a tall building facing the parking lot where the President was to speek on Friday morning was thoroughly checked. Occupants were asked to keep their windows closed on November 21-22, but on Thursday afternoon a policeman spotted an open window on an upper floor. Howard says that two teenage boys in a law office were using a scope to get a closer look at preparations in the parking lot. The problem was that the scope was mounted on a hunting rifle belonging to the father of one of the boys, an attorney in the office. The rifle, taken from an office bun case, was not loaded. It was determined that innocent curiosity had compelled the boys to take a magnified look at the parking lot activity through the scope. The father was notified and the weaponry in the office safely locked up."

Bryrne also fills us in on some other interesting tidbits, and most significantlly gives us the name of the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) officers who set up the mobile White House communications system.

Along with Byrne on this detail were the lead SS Agent for the Fort Worth part of the trip William L. Duncan, his assistant Ned Hall, and the WHCA operations officer Maj. Jack Rubley, and Army Capt. Bill Harnett. Harnett was junior to Rubley who, "was along on the trip to give Harnett his 'check ride' in performing WHCA duties on an overnight presidential stay."

Byrne: "The Secret Service agents and I went out to Carswell Air Force Base for a meeting with the commanding officer Brig. Gen. Howard W. Moore. He contended that because Carsell was a Strategic Air Command base, the public would not be allowed to enter to observe the President's arrival and departure. I argued that an exception should be made, that it was highly unusual occassion, and that the people of Fort Worth area should have the opportunity to see their President come and go. Eventually, Carswell was opened to the public for the visit: no doubt weightier voices than mine were responsible for the reversal of the original, negative decision that I had reported to Washington."

Now we can look for the reports from SS AIC William L. Duncan, and the two WHCA officers Maj. Jack Rubley and Capt. Bill Harnett.

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