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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

"JFK: Destiny Betrayed" Misleads by Claiming Jack Ruby was Signaled

Oliver Stone's so-called documentary series, JFK: Destiny Betrayed, alleges that Jack Ruby was signaled by car horns in the basement of the Dallas Police Department. The evidence clearly shows that there were many horns being sounded in the basement. Here is an excerpt from a transcript: (52:42 in episode 2)

Whoopi Goldberg: He is about to be transferred to the county Jail. The FBI has called the Dallas police on both Saturday and Sunday, warning them of threats to kill the alleged assassin of President Kennedy. The police have decided to proceed with the transfer anyway. As you watch, listen for the two car horns. One as Oswald emerges, and the other the moment before Jack Ruby fires.

The notion that these two car horns are signals to Ruby is just ridiculous. It was a very busy parking area with hundreds of people that morning and so it's not surprising that cars were honking. Ruby reacts to the sight of Oswald and not the car horn which sounds like it is quite distant.

Where did this all come from?

In 2007, Ray Marcus called me and asked an odd question. He said, "Jim, what version of Oswald's killing have you seen?" I said, "What do you mean, what version?" He said: "The one with one horn, two horns, or no horns?" I said I had seen the one with one horn. Marcus then explained that the original version has two horns but through the years, this version has been edited, and I had seen one of the edited versions. He said, "I'll send it to you. You'll understand why immediately." He was correct about the understanding. The first horn goes off at almost the exact second that Oswald emerges from the office and into the corridor. The second horn goes off about a nanosecond before Ruby plunges forward to shoot Oswald. Once you're aware of it, it is almost eerie to watch. Bugliosi describes the horns. He doesn't describe the timing. Ruby made this all even stranger in 1965. Because he then wrote a note in which he alluded to the horns. In a letter secured by Bill Diehl of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, he talks about being gravely ill and going to a hospital. He closes with, "If you hear a lot of horn-blowing, it will be for me, they will want my blood." Now I guess someone like Bugliosi could say he was referring to St. Gabriel. But yet, Ruby was Jewish."

DiEugenio says that Vincent Bugliosi "describes the horns. He doesn't describe the timing." In fact, Bugliosi is quite specific and mentions who was doing the honking: (page 272 - 273 in Reclaiming History)

Lieutenant Swan steps through the doorway of the jail office and into the bright television floodlights. Captain Fritz is a few feet behind him. Swain walks toward the sedan that will carry Oswald as it continues to roll back into position. The driver, Detective Dhority, hits the car horn again to clear the media away.
Leavelle and Graves hesitate momentarily at the doorway, holding Oswald just inside the jail office. "Is it okay?" Leavelle asks. Detective Wilbur J. Cutchshaw, standing just outside the doorway, answers Leavelle, "Okay, come on out, Jim."
Detectives Leavelle and Graves march out, Oswald firmly between them, but manacled only to Leavelle. For a moment Leavelle and Graves are blinded by their first exposure to the lights, making it impossible for them to observe any movements originating from their left front. But they soon regain their vision and are surprised that nothing is ready. The white sedan that is supposed to be parked about thirteen to fourteen feet just outside the door is still rolling back, struggling to get into position against the tide of reporters who have come around or over the railing they have been ordered to remain behind and are now surging toward Oswald. The driver blasts the horn again as Captain Fritz reaches for the backdoor handle.

The horns now seem less suspicious.

Here is a longer video of the Dallas Police basement. And you can hear many horns throughout the video:

You can hear car horns at approximately 10:50, 11:25, 11;31 and 12:30, before the two car horn blasts referenced above.

JFK: Destiny Betrayed misleads viewers into believing that Jack Ruby was signaled that Oswald was coming out.

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