It’s largely forgotten today, but in the early 1970s, RFK’s murder was almost as popular an object of conspiracy theorizing about a second gunman as JFK’s was.
This was even though Sirhan Sirhan, smoking gun in hand, was tackled by several B-list celebrities including Olympic decathlete Rafer Johnson, NFL star Rosey Grier, and bon vivant George Plimpton (who was possibly on the CIA payroll, but that’s a different story).
Part of the conceptual problem Americans had in dealing with RFK’s murder was that we didn’t have a convenient category yet into which to lump Sirhan, so he got dumped into the dubious-sounding Lone Wacko category.
In hindsight, the Palestinian immigrant was obviously an Arab terrorist—he shot Kennedy on the first anniversary of Israel starting the Six Day War in vengeance for Kennedy pandering to Jewish voters by promising to send warplanes to Israel.
But the notion of Arab terrorism didn’t emerge until later…
What’s also “largely forgotten”?
The 1997 shootings at the observation deck of the Empire State Building by… a Palestinian:
The gunman killed one person and wounded six others before taking his own life with a gunshot to the head.
Law enforcement officials ruled it was a premeditated attack after finding notes indicating anger over Palestine and Israel. At the time, Abu Kamal’s widow stated the shooting spree was not politically motivated, but rooted in his despondency over financial ruin.
Ten years after the shooting, Abu Kamal’s daughter revealed that she had lied in hiding that her father’s actions had in fact been motivated by Palestinian nationalism.
Her mother’s 1997 account was a cover story fabricated by the Palestinian Authority as Abu Kamal sought revenge against the Americans, the British, and the French for supporting Israel.
The man was deranged, but what are the clues to the diagnosis? One clue is the history of his long hours working, teaching English.
It was said that every child in Gaza was his pupil.
Despite meager earnings and large expenses, he was able to save a half million dollars.
People who are manic are capable of great endurance and performance…