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JFK: finally free

author: ethan butterfield staff writer 

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy

Fifty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed during a motorcade through Dealey Plaza. His death shook the very foundation of the United States and opened the floodgates for years to come, with attempts by numerous individuals to understand the “who” and “why” regarding Kennedy’s assassination. Alas, this would prove fruitless, as organizations like the FBI and CIA would withhold sensitive information from the public for their own means.

Now, in 2017, things seem to have finally come around. President Trump made the announcement that he was going to release the assassination files over for public viewing. This was a promise that he mostly made good on, mostly. While the intention was originally to release all the files to the people, Trump then stated afterward that he would only release some of the files, keeping others hidden. Estimates place the number of withheld files around three thousand.

This raises a lot of questions. Questions not so much on the “lack of releasing information” front, but more on the “why keep holding onto the information” front. I, myself, am not really someone who gets wrapped up in conspiracy theories, or is all that intrigued by notions of “the government did it.” However, by not showing those files to the public, I am admittedly a bit curious about what’s worth keeping so secret. Granted, this is a curiosity that will more than likely peter out in the coming days, but I’m still curious, nonetheless.

For those interested in checking out the documents that have become available, you can take a look at archives.gov. After going through some of them myself, I’ll say that history buffs will probably get the most out of it. I wasn’t able to follow too much, unfortunately, but when I did see names that looked familiar, it was kind of a surreal feeling. That thought of reading a government file, which had previously been deemed confidential, was something I just couldn’t get my mind around.

Honestly, this event feels like something of a distraction from other incidents that have taken place over these past few months. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have released the JFK files, but when you eventually pore over them, just remember they came from a man who has been more of a terror to his country then the terror that he perceives there to be (hey, it wouldn’t be a Trump article if I didn’t call him out at least once).

So, all in all, take these new files for what you can. Their release feels like a step forward to a more solid connection between people and government, but that’s a step forward when people have already taken ten steps back. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the files will be handled after the six-month withholding period expires, but that’ll happen when it happens. For now, take care and stay strong.

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy

About Ethan Butterfield

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