Beyond JFK, Who Was Ruby?

There is a ton of talk about the conspiracy theory surrounding JFK’s murder, but are there any answers about Jack Ruby? First, what ever happened to Ruby? Second, if brought to trial, what explanation did he offer for his actions? Was he acting on his own accord? What was his motive: just anger at Oswald, or perhaps to silence Oswald? (Extra Credit: Do we know who shot Bobby Kennedy?)

Ideally, I’m curious to know what folks know about this without mixing in Hollywood’s take on all of this. - Jinx

Ruby was tried, convicted, and jailed. He died there of cancer in 1967.

It was anger at Oswald, and definitely spur of the moment. At the time Oswald was supposed to be moved, Jack Ruby wasn’t even in the jailhouse – he was sending a money order. Unfortunately, Oswald asked for a delay so he could change his clothes. Ruby arrived at the assassination less than a minute before he shot Oswald.

That sort of timing makes a conspiracy impossible. If he had planned to shoot Oswald, Ruby would have been there at the time Oswald was scheduled to be moved and would not have depended on Oswald himself asking for a delay so Ruby could get there on time.

Ruby was also in police headquarters the day before (security was not particularly tight back then) and was in a hallway when Oswald was being led down. If there had been a conspiracy, why didn’t he kill him then?

Bobby Kennedy was shot by Sirhan B. Sirhan. Sirhan did it in front of hundreds of witnesses and was captured immediately. No questions about that at all.

Had Jack Ruby displayed any signs of being a nutcase before? Not to be judgmental or anything, but to bring a gun into police headquarters and then, in front of many witnesses and cameras, shoot Oswald doesn’t exactly reek of rationality. Did he offer any explanations of his actions?

Ruby was a nightclub owner and reputedly involved in organized crime in a low-level way. He was also known to try to be friendly to the police in his area, which makes sense in his business. Not really known as a whackjob though.

Ruby had some underworld connections, and many people put that forth as some sort of motive for killing Oswald. That makes as much sense to me as flipping out in anger at Oswald.

Sirhan Sirhan was convicted for RK’s assasination, but there are a few conspriracy theories about that one too. Has something to do with some guy in a photo. I never really followed that one. Just wanted to point out that there are other views, although these are probably even more stretched than the JFK theories.

Ruby’s expressed motive was to prevent having Jackie Kennedy undergo the ordeal of testifying at LHO’s trial. Ruby was very distraught at the death of JFK because he thought the president was such a good friend to the Jewish people. This was also Sirhan’s reasoning behind killing RFK.
For more on Ruby visit this site:
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ruby.htm

Ruby was what is commonly referred to as “a known associate of organized crime”; throughout his life he had hung out with gangsters. He was also acquainted with a great many policemen who hung out at his strip clubs, a fact which has prompted some conspiracy enthusiasts to try to link him with J. D. Tippitt, the policeman Oswald is said to have shot on the day of the assassination.

As noted above, at various times Ruby said that he wanted to spare Mrs. Kennedy the stress of a trial. He has also been quoted as saying “I wanted to show them a Jew had guts”.

Ruby worked from time-to-time as a translator for Israeli papers, and it was apparently under this excuse that he got into the Dallas police headquarters on the day Oswald was arrested. It also helps account for why it did not create excitement when, two days later, he showed up as Oswald was being transported.

The night before he shot Oswald, Ruby went to a deli and bought a fair amount of food. This is the sort of trivia which Warren Commission staff were required to track down while working on the investigation. They actually reconstructed his grocery list and how much he spent. The results suggested he did not expect at that time to be seized by police the next day, reinforcing the impression that he acted on the spur of the moment.

No one seems sure just when or how Ruby got into the police headquarters on the day of the shooting. In the movie JFK he is shown as having hidden behind a locked door, and having been let out by a policeman. Given all of the police and reporters milling about at the time, thought, it seems that any conspiracy which worked out such a plan was taking a lot for granted. It has also been suggested he simply walked in through a driveway. It had not been guarded.

The timing of Ruby’s appearance is problematic. Oswald would have been expected to have been in the basement garage earlier, but there was a delay because he was allowed to go back and get his sweater.

Many conspiracy theorists have suggested that Ruby was part of the overall conspiracy, and that the plan all along had been to use him to rub out Oswald if he was caught. If conspirators were confident they could rely on Ruby to commit a murder and keep quiet about the conspiracy, though, one can reasonably ask why they would not have simply used Ruby to kill Kennedy, thereby eliminating the need for a second murder, and the risks associated with using Oswald in the first place.

To throw conspiracy theorists a bone, it is said that a car horn was heard to honk three times just before Ruby appeared. If the conspirators had wished to give him a go-ahead signal, one would think they could have been more subtle. One could also ask why a person in a vehicle outside (who has apparently never been identified, by the way), would have the job of telling Ruby that conditions inside the garage were right.

The question of timing generally seems to have a way of tripping up conspiracy theorists. The route for Kennedy’s motorcade which tok him past the book depository was a last minute change because of a disruption in The President’s schedule. It had originally been planned that Kennedy would receive an honorary degree from Texas Christian University that morning, but this was cancelled at the last minute when some members of the Board of Regents objected to giving a degree to a Roman Catholic.

Whatever else he was, Ruby was a strange guy all round, and had been acting particularly strange in the days leading up to the killing of Oswald.

A billboard saying “Impeach Earl Warren” had recently gone up in Dallas, and earlier that week Ruby had become obsessed with learning who was responsible. When he found out that the man listed as the chairman of the group which put it up had a name which sounded Jewish, he told a number of people that he was sure this was a conspiracy to discredit Jews.

In an act which may speak volumes about the man, Ruby went around expressing his anxiety about the billboard to friends and acquaintances for a couple of days or more before he thought to ask someone just who Earl Warren was anyway. He had only known that he was someone someone in the government whom some conservatives disliked.

It was eventually found out that the man listed as chairman was a college student who had allowed some wealthy conservative businessmen to use his name, apparently because they wished to avoid publicity. He, in turn, had apparently wished to get in good with rich right wingers who might do him some good in the future.

In the hours following the assassination Ruby visited his sister, with whom he had infrequent contact, at her place of work. She later said that he had become extremely maudlin, and talked about how the Kennedys would be gathering together tonight to comfort one another. When he observed that their family had been like that while they were growing up–a big, loving, supporting group–his sister replied that they had been nothing of the kind and he became incensed. He had also visited an ex-girlfriend, telling her that he had come because she was sure she would be overcome with emotion. She wasn’t.

While in prison, Ruby insisted that he had important information about the assassination, but that he could not disclose it without being taken to Washington D. C. first. He also claimed that people at the prison had been injecting cancer cells into his blood as a way of killing him, although cancer is not “catching” and this could not work. He was also quoted shortly before his death as saying that he knew that an astronomical number of Jews had been executed on another floor of the hospital where he was being kept.

A final interesting note: Warren Commission investigators who interviewed people who had known Ruby in various cities, at various times, in various contexts, found a peculiar thread of continuity. More than once an interviewee told them they had an unconfirmed suspicion that Ruby enjoyed having sex with his pet dogs.

As for Sirhan Sirhan, there are some discrepancies in the record which point to a conspiracy. Then again, any sudden and unexpected event which happened in front of a large group of unprepared witnesses is likely to generate ambiguous details and contradictory stories. For instance, when my father was in high school he attended a football game at which a player for the opposing team fell over dead. The following Monday one of his teachers polled the students who had been in attendance. Although students generally claimed to have seen and remembered the events clearly, it turned out there was no consensus as to in which half of the game the death had occured, what position the boy had been playing, which team had the ball, on which half of the field the teams had been positioned, what the score had been, etc.

It has been claimed that some of the bullet hole evidence suggests at the site of the Robert Kennedy murder suggests that shots could have come from two locations. A popular theory is that while Sirhan Sirhan was standing in the open drawing attention, a second gunman was hiding in a pantry and shot through a barely opened door. Again, it would seem that the planners of any such conspiracy took a lot for granted.

Some witnesses claim that a man and woman had been “wandering around” the hotel in the hours prior to the shooting. Then again, it seems likely there would have been a lot of people that day in a large busy hotel doing a lot of different things over a period of many hours.

The woman was said to have been young and attractive and wearing a yellow dress. At least one witness later claimed to have seen an attractive young woman running down a staircase and out of the building immediately after the shooting. She allegedly shouted “we’ve shot Kennedy!” For all I know, this may have happened.

Life being what it is, it would be kind of surprising if there wasn’t someone who came forward with suspect and confusing testimony; one of the witnesses along the motorcade route when President Kennedy was shot described the dog Mrs. Kennedy was holding. Following President Kennedy’s death, 65% of Americans polled claimed to have voted for him. In fact, he had received less that 50% of the popular vote (though more than Nixon got). To give a more recent example, after a “witness” described seeing the D.C. sniper drive off after one of the shootings, a store security tape showed he had been indoors the whole time.

Asked to describe the scene at the shooting while being questioned under hypnosis (a technique notorious for sometimes producing bogus information) Sirhan is said to have begun babbling excitedly about how “there was a woman…a woman”, remarks which he apparently never explained.

Sirhan is known to doodled pictures of checks for fabulous amounts of money made payable to him in the months leading to the assassination. Maybe this is evidence that he had been recruited by a conspiracy, and maybe it is just more evidence that he was a twerp and a nobody given to gradiouse thinking.

Summing up, there does seem to be some evidence of a conspiracy in the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. And, judging from the few examples I know about, they don’t amount to much.

One of the main pieces of evidence suggesting multiple gunmen was the number and angle of bullet holes that found in the original investigation. I saw a program on Discovery or TLC (before the reality craze engulfed them, too) on the RFK assassination, and in a fresh examination of the evidence, a number of the originally suspected bullet holes were not really bullet holes. Those that could be reliably identified were consistent with a single gunman and Sirhan’s position.

Puddleglum, JFK was a good friend to the Jews? Is this the President JFK we are talking about? You might want to ask Ben Gurion how good of a friend he was to Israel.

one can reasonably ask why they would not have simply used Ruby to kill Kennedy, thereby eliminating the need for a second murder

This is kind of begging the question, though. Using another to silence the actual killer is a widely known tactic. Besides, this was not your everyday heinous plan, and would have required many layers to protect the guilty, assuming it was a conspiracy.

*The question of timing generally seems to have a way of tripping up conspiracy theorists. The route for Kennedy’s motorcade which tok him past the book depository was a last minute change because of a disruption in The President’s schedule. *

I’ve had the same question, but in regard to Oswald. Since Ozzie had no idea the limo would turn past the TSBD, why would he have been there, rather than somewhere with a better shot? The shot to the middle road of the three from the TSBD would have been much worse. It’s all speculation, of course, but this (the schedule change) has always seemed to me a little more than the usual speculation.

This is just one of those subjects where the known facts can be reasonably argued either way.

A billboard saying “Impeach Earl Warren” had recently gone up in Dallas

Really? I had no idea this was connected with the event. I was in 7th grade at the time, and we used to get a free weekly paper through the school (Weekly Reader, or something). I remember seeing a picture of the billboard on the front of the paper which gave a PO box. As a joke, I wrote to it, but never received an answer. Now I know why.

FYI, I’ve heard one theory that Sirhan didn’t actually shoot RFK himself…but that he was accidently shot by his own bodyguards, as they were taking down Sirhan. (!)

Talk about your “D’oh” situation.

Who was Jack Ruby? In addition to being a nightclub owner and small time hood with ties to organized crime and the guy who killed Oswald.

Who was he before all of that? He was privately employed by Richard M. Nixon for awhile in security IIRC.

Oh and unless I missed it, no-one mentioned the fact that he was arrested in 193? for the murder of the President of the Teamster’s union. Which put Hoffa in the drivers seat. What happened to Hoffa? I guess he knew too much also.

Strange coincidences…simply unbelievable

Ranchoth, I’ve never heard that about RFK – are you sure you’re not thinking of Huey Long?

Known from where? What cases are we talking about? And what is the point of the tactic anyway? If Oswald had been professionally killed and the killer never found, sure. But Jack Ruby shot Oswald down in front of policemen, reporters and cameras. He can’t possibly have had any illusions about getting away.

So, we’re talking about a conspiracy that first uses an unreliable killer to kill the President, and then uses the guy they can trust never to talk to kill the first killer. Why not give Jack Ruby a rifle and point him towards Kennedy instead?

I suppose one reason might be that Ruby wasn’t capable of making the shot. Some people don’t think Oswald was even capable. No, I’m sure Ruby didn’t expect to get away.

I’ve been watching the PBS program about the Kennedys, and this topic was just covered last night. As stated already in this thread, Ruby did say he was saving Mrs. Kennedy from having to come back and testify and the pain that would go along with it. I also remember it being mentioned that he thought he would be a hero for shooting Oswald, with the reasoning that he would be clearing Dallas, in the eyes of the public , from being the city that killed the president. PBS also mentioned it’s possible he thought he would get positive publicity for killing Oswald, thereby giving his nightclub business a boost.

I did a quick search on “Jack Ruby thought he would be a hero for killing Oswald” and found this site:
http://www.jfk-online.com/rubydef.html

It has a pretty good explanation as to why Ruby requested being taken Washington D.C. I also see that it is a link on the site Puddleglum posted. Interesting reading.

Biography of Jack Ruby, from the Warren Commission Report.

False. The final and exact motorcade route was published three days before the assassination. From the Warren Commission Report:

From what I’ve read of the Warren Commission’s report they seem to have left out some things and try to make Ruby sound more like a victim of society with possible mental defects.
It even tosses around the idea that he was doing his patriotic duty.

No mention of his ties with Nixon… guess I’m the only one who finds that disturbing. Forget the fact that Nixon was in Dallas the day JFK was killed and later said he couldn’t remember where he was that day.
Made out like Ruby was never a suspect in the Union Pres. murder.

Oh well, it wouldn’t be a conspiracy if they didn’t have any secrets would it.

No mention of GHWB and his role. Nor the fact that he claimed he didn’t work for the CIA and could not recall where he was the day Kennedy was killed. Still doesn’t AFAIK. Read My Lips

First thing Nixon did when he became president. He pardoned Hoffa. Jack Ruby’s old buddy. Why? He claimed that he was gonna spill the beans on everything and everybody.

Alas, poor Jimmy never got the chance did he.