Thursday, June 05, 2008

RFK, Sirhan Sirhan and the Woman in the Polka Dot Dress; 40 Years Later

It seems as if my blog has been Kennedy-centric of late. But for good reason.

Today, June 5 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Coincidentally, it comes one day after Barrack Obama wins the Democratic nomination for President, a position RFK would most likely have gained, and won.

It comes several weeks after some bizarre comments made by Hillary Clinton referencing the tragedy. When asked why she hadn't conceded a race that, for all intents and purposes, has been decided for months she replied:

My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it.

What's even stranger is that this is not the first time she referenced RFK's death in association with her stretching the primary through June. Here are her comments from a March 6 interview with Time:
TIME: Can you envision a point at which--if the race stays this close--Democratic Party elders would step in and say, "This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall"?

really can't. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last
a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in
1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing
particularly unusual.
Are you kidding me? You're right Hillary. Primaries lasting through June is not particularly unusual... but your comments are. I'm sure she was apologetic the first time she said it, and I know she doesn't mean any harm to Senator Obama, but I thought she would have learned from her mistakes. She's always appeared to be a very intelligent and calculating woman but I'm not exactly sure how these comments in particular passed through her filter.

I'm happy they did because it makes this blog post come full circle back into the present.
The Assassination

The movie Bobby is a great portrayal of the entire event. Even though you know what happens the movie sets up the suspense very well.

The Woman in the Polka Dot Dress
So who exactly is the woman in the polka-dot-dress? Several witnesses to the shooting told police they saw Sirhan Sirhan talking to a man and a woman in a polka-dot dress before the incident. This combined with an LAPD sergeant's report that he overheard a woman wearing a polka-dot dress say "We shot Kennedy." This mystery woman, disappeared in the chaos as the crowd dispersed before the police officer could react. Many believe this woman may have hypnotized Sirhan Sirhan brainwashing him and convincing him to kill Kennedy. This theory was quickly dismissed by police. So where is this woman now? Where was she then? Nobody knows who she is, or if she ever even existed.

Despite this confusion, we are certain of one thing. Both Robert Kennedy and John Kennedy were killed by two very unstable men. Though what is not certain is whether these deaths are related or are they part of a larger conspiracy. Did Sirhan have accomplices? Did Oswald have accomplices? Are they mob related? Were there more than one shooter in both assassinations? Will we ever know the truth of either of the Kennedy assassinations?

Some information:

The Freedom of Information Act at least gives us the ability to see the results of the investigations, though we can't possibly judge the validity of them. Here is a link to the FBI report on the assassination of RFK:

For more information on the RFK assassination and other California assassinations, read the book California Justice by David Kulczyk. It has short histories of nearly 35 California lynchings and shootings.

I can't say this is the best read in the world, and it's definitely not for everyone, but it does work if you're into old style lynchings and posses and bar room brawls turned into shootouts.

Where's Sirhan now?
He's still in prison. He's been eligible for parole 13 times (as of June, 2008) and has been denied each time.

Here's the eulogy of Bobby Kennedy, presented by his brother Teddy.

Fun Facts:

It is rumored that in true Kennedy fashion, as RFK lay dying on the kitchen floor at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, he uttered his last words: "Is everyone alright?"

The lead investigator for Robert Kennedy's assassination was Assistant Police Chief Daryl Gates, who later would become Chief of Police of the LAPD during the Rodney King incident and the riots that ensued after the verdict.

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1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I just watched the show "1968" with Tom Brokaw and he talks about RFK's assassination. With everything happening in the country, it seems like after Bobby Kennedy was shot, the political situation fell apart, as if people lost hope things could get better. Sad!

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