Frequently Asked Questions - 2


DC: How long have you been working on this project?
CC: Literally, since late 1990. I was to present my first public lecture in November of that year, and I realized that there wasn’t a readily available, adequate map of Dealey Plaza that could be used as a visual aid for such purposes. I had an architect friend of mind create a computer-generated rendering of the plaza and, given the time constraints, plotted only the location of the Presidential limousine on Elm Street and a handful of the closest eyewitnesses to the assassination. I then had the schematic blown up to an outlandish size—I think approximately 5’ x 10’, which had to be printed out in three sections—and while it was an extremely effective visual aid, it wasn’t exactly practical. So I decided to limit the size to the more reasonable poster size of 24” x 36”, and began the process of plotting the rest of the known witnesses and the motorcade procession. So, this project was begun in earnest and has been evolving since 1991.

DC: What of your findings surprised you the most?
CC: You know—I don’t think I can pinpoint any one “holy s*@#!” kind of surprise. Because much of this work has been a gradual recovery process—sifting through record groups and previous published research—there are very few accounts that I didn’t know about or didn’t expect. However, each time a new account has been uncovered, such as the one you had the fortune of being entrusted with (Toni Foster), or the six postal employees cited in Gerald Posner’s book (Case Closed), or the recently surrendered photos and story of Jay Skaggs, there is an immense satisfaction, almost victorious, like—“Yes! One more piece of the puzzle, one more detail that didn’t have to go with someone to their grave.”

Of course, there is something to be said for “no good deed ever goes unpunished,” especially in the examples I just referenced. While Toni Foster was generous and brave enough to come forward, she was in the company of her husband, Stephen, who hasn’t yet been interviewed; of the six new postal employees cited by Posner, only four of them were mentioned by name; and Jay Skaggs was with his wife and one of his two daughters in Dealey Plaza, but which daughter hasn’t been determined. There’s nothing sinister about these unresolved issues; it’s more a matter of proof that there’s still a lot of work to be done as far as eyewitness location and identification.

More surprising to me has been the lack of consensus regarding eyewitness placement in Dealey Plaza and establishing positive photographic identification; the lack of consensus regarding the presence of questionable witnesses, such as Beverly Oliver and Norman Similas; and the fact that the oral histories of no less than 23 eyewitnesses in Dealey Plaza have been sitting—un-transcribed—at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.
As I said, there’s still a lot of work to be done…just with the documentation we already have.

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