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.