Even after 50 years, it is impossible to forget the moment of finding out President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. A friend heard it on the radio and called me at my office on the second floor of a building on 2nd Avenue in Seattle.
“Did you hear the news?” he asked.
“Only that it’s going to snow this year in Alaska,” I quipped. At the time, I happened to be the advertising manager of Alaska Sportsman Magazine in its Seattle office.
“Seriously,” my friend, an avid Democrat, said. “Somebody shot Kennedy in Dallas.”
The thought that went through my mind without knowing anything about the situation was, “It was probably the communists.” It turned out I was right. It was one communist, at any rate — a classic commie villain taking the life of a classic American hero. Kennedy was a hero in the minds of some people, at any rate — in the minds of most of the citizens of Seattle in particular.
The city shut down to mourn. My boss sent us home. My young family and I sat in the living room of our apartment near the University of Washington and watched the endless coverage of the death of Kennedy. I remember a sense of disbelief, compounded with a sense of anger at Kennedy for putting himself in a situation where an idiot like Lee Oswald could get a shot at him.
Fifty years later, it seems Oswald wasn’t an idiot at all. He was a carefully prepared assassin, trained in shooting — he had to be a fine marksman to make those shots — and ready to give his life if necessary to get the job done.
Some people find it hard to accept, but that was how communism affected some people. It was an evil influence, and still is an evil force in the lives of those who have to live under its heel.