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The Oswald family at the Furniture Mart, a rifle scope installation in November 1963, and why it matters: a sale of the rifle before the assassination


Greg Doudna
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Here I make a case that witnesses’ accounts of the Lee Harvey Oswald family in the Furniture Mart in Irving in early Nov 1963 was a genuine sighting, differing from the Warren Commission and a majority of researchers who have thought that it was not Lee and Marina and their children.

That Lee and Marina and their children were at the Furniture Mart in turn will serve to substantiate a separate set of evidence indicating that Lee, seeking a gunsmith, had had a scope installed on his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle that same day at the Irving Sports Shop about one block away from the Furniture Mart, where he had been directed to go by Furniture Mart store owner Edith Whitworth.

The scope installation by Oswald has also been rejected by the Warren Commission and a majority of researchers, despite the existence of an authenticated job ticket at that shop (verified by an employee to have been written in his handwriting) saying a scope had been installed on a rifle for a customer named “Oswald”.

Both the employee who wrote the job ticket and his boss, the business owner, were certain that that customer named "Oswald" had existed, although the Warren Commission was skeptical. Conspiracy theorists too have imagined all sorts of things, such as someone other than Lee pretending to be Lee—anything except what it prima facie was, which was Oswald having a scope put on a rifle. The Warren Commission asked the FBI to attempt to identify another “Oswald” who might have had a scope put on a rifle at that shop. The FBI contacted every known Oswald in the greater Dallas area, but reported to the Warren Commission that they could not identify some different Oswald as the customer.

Here I intend to post in three parts. First the Furniture Mart, arguing that that was a genuine sighting. Second the Irving Sports Shop rifle scope installation, which I will argue occurred and was a reinstallation of the original scope on the Mannlicher-Carcano which had come with the rifle but which Oswald had removed, but now was reinstalling to prepare it for sale, not for his own use. And third, reason for supposing that Oswald sold the rifle the day before the JFK assassination.

That is, Oswald had removed the scope and its mounting plate that had come with the rifle but now was having that same scope and mounting plate reinstalled again, for the purpose of preparing the rifle for a sale or conveyance. And the anomalies which have been noted with the job ticket which Irving Sports Shop employee and gunsmith Dial Ryder disclosed and turned over to the FBI on Nov 25—the absence of further customer information; Dial Ryder not telling his boss, the business owner, of that job ticket; the inability of the owner to find a register receipt or other store record of a cash payment for that job—are explained not in terms of Dial Ryder forged that job ticket (as the Warren Report seemed to suggest) but rather is in keeping with a phenomenon ubiquitous in retailing which was not considered by the Warren Commission—that this was a case in which cash received for work done by an employee in the owner's absence had gone into the employee’s pocket directly, rather than run through the cash register and processed through store records as should have been done. The owner, Greener, in all likelihood privately realized this but defended his employee publicly rather than lose an otherwise productive high-earning long-term employee and humiliate him before the nation over that indiscretion. But having said that, there is no basis at all for supposing Dial Ryder forged anything, called any reporter, or sought any of the publicity which came upon him.

The significance of this analysis, if viable, is that it goes to the circumstances leading up to and bearing upon the JFK assassination itself. For if this analysis is sound it may emerge that Oswald not only had the scope reinstalled on his Mannlicher-Carcano to prepare it for a sale or conveyance, but reason to suppose such a sale or conveyance indeed did take place before Nov 22, 1963. 

 

The Furniture Mart Oswald family sighting

Edith Whitworth, owner of the Furniture Mart in Irving, and Gertrude Hunter visiting in the store at the time, told of a visit to the Furniture Mart in early Nov 1963 of a man, a woman, a small girl, and newborn baby carried by the woman, who seemed exactly like Lee and Marina Oswald and their two children, a 2-year old girl and newborn baby. The man had told Mrs. Whitworth either that the baby had been born on October 20 or about two weeks prior to the incident at the Furniture Mart. Marina gave birth to Rachel, second child of Lee and Marina, on October 20. The small girl with the woman in the Furniture Mart corresponded to 2-yr old June, daughter of Lee and Marina. Whitworth and Hunter's other details matched Lee and Marina, in physical descriptions and in the woman not speaking; and Whitworth and Hunter confirmed the identity of Marina in a face-to-face meeting with Marina set up by the Warren Commission, though Marina denied it. Marina claimed she had never seen the two women before. 

The man had entered the store inquiring about a gunsmith which a sign outside advertised. Store owner Mrs. Whitworth explained the gunsmith had moved and referred the man to the Irving Sports Shop about a block away. About to leave, the man noticed and expressed interest in Mrs. Whitworth's furniture for sale, saying they would be needing some soon. The man went out to the car and came back into the store followed by a sullen, non-speaking wife carrying a baby and leading a ca. two-year old girl.

Despite the description indicating identification of the Oswald family, seemingly formidable difficulties are encountered. A first problem is that the family arrived in a car driven by the man with no other driver or person with them. The man parked the car in front of the store and the man drove the family away in the car when they left. But Lee did not have a car, did not have a driver’s license, had no known access to a car, and both Marina and Ruth Paine testified unequivocally that they had never seen or known Lee to drive a car on his own.

Second, in the face to face meeting of Whitworth, Hunter, and Marina set up by the Warren Commission, Marina denied ever having been in the Furniture Mart and denied having seen either of the women before, even though both women recognized Marina as the woman who had been in the store.

Third, Ruth Paine, whose detailed testimony provided the timeline relied upon for reconstructing the movements and locations of Lee and Marina in October and November 1963 before the assassination and whose testimony was very thorough and reliable, denied knowledge of any trip to the Furniture Mart or the Irving Sports Shop on the part of either Lee or Marina, said she was sure she would have known if there had been such a trip, and was certain that such a trip had never happened.

And fourth, the Warren Commission concluded that there was no time such a visit could have happened. According to Whitworth and Hunter the family came to the Furniture Mart during business hours on a weekday—remembered by Mrs. Hunter to be a Wed, Thu or Fri of the week ending Nov 9 or Nov 16, and remembered by Mrs. Whitworth similarly as in the week ending Nov 9, though neither could situate the exact day—but Oswald’s time on weekdays in early November was fully accounted for by full-time employment at the Texas School Book Depository, and Oswald’s work records showed no missed days or hours at work. And on weekends when Lee was at Ruth Paine's house Ruth knew where he was and knew he had not gone to either of those places, let alone driving her car.

At the request of the Warren Commission, the FBI did an extensive investigation, trying to identify some alternative famly in the area with baby born in late October and a ca. 2-3 year old girl, but failed to find any alternative identification for the family in Mrs. Whitworth's furniture store that day.

Since no one actually supposes Edith Whitworth, an experienced retail business owner, intentionally fabricated the story, or hallucinated it, most researchers in light of these formidable problems agree with the Warren Report's assessment, basically that it was some sort of freak mistaken identification, some other family of four of exactly similar description, with a wife not responsive or speaking a word of English, just like Marina--but which certainly could not actually have been Lee and Marina. 

(Theories of impersonation in this instance I am not considering worthy of serious consideration, and wish that such theories be discussed elsewhere not on this thread. Any theory of impersonation would have to have not only an actor pretending to be Lee and an actor pretending to be Marina, but an actor 2-yr old daughter and an actor baby as well, all for the elaborate purpose of having a couple of women in a furniture store weeks later maybe remember and tell that a family that looked like Oswald’s had come into the store and the man had sought directions to find a gunsmith. That is pretty elaborate for such a trivial outcome.)

Going against the grain of what the Warren Commission and most conspiracy researchers have thought (that it could not actually have been Lee and Marina), I think it was Lee and Marina and their two children in that Furniture Mart, and that each of the difficulties cited have reasonable explanations.

In brief, I think Lee took Ruth Paine's car on Monday, Nov. 11, without Ruth’s knowledge or permission—the only time Lee did that—with Marina and the children; that Lee had access to Ruth’s car that day and had ability to drive consistent with what was observed at the Furniture Mart; that Ruth Paine's testimony was honest and accurate according to her knowledge but this occurred without her knowledge; and that Marina was untruthful in her denials. I will now run through each of these points in further detail.

 

When?

Although neither woman could fix a specific calendar date, both women remembered it was a weekday (not a Saturday or Sunday), during business hours, midday. Mrs. Whitworth thought it may have been Nov 6, 7, or 8 (Wed-Fri). Mrs. Hunter thought it may have been Nov 6, 7, 13, or 14. This is a case in which memory that the event occurred was certain but there was uncertainty concerning the date. 

Oswald was normally in Irving only on weekends, but there was one exception. On the weekend of Nov 9-10 Oswald remained in Irving one additional day, through Monday night Nov 11, because that Monday was a holiday, Veteran’s Day. 

According to a timeline of day-by-day information obtained from Ruth Paine, compiled by the FBI from interviewing her on Nov 28, 1963: 

"November 11, 1963 -- This was a holiday. [Lee] stayed at the Paine residence this entire day and night. He practiced parking for a short period with Mrs. Paine's car. Mrs. Paine was gone for two or three hours this date but Lee was there when she left and there when she came back." (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=57699#relPageId=37 )

There are two notable things about that day according to this early FBI report: (1) Lee practiced parking Ruth’s car. And (2) Ruth Paine was gone for two to three hours.

In later testimony Ruth seemed to have the driving lessons she was giving Lee occur only on Sundays, with no further mention of a Monday. But this Nov 28 FBI report appears to represent the earliest recorded information from Ruth on this subject, and here Lee is practicing with Ruth’s car on Monday Nov 11.

In a later affidavit of June 24, 1964, for the Warren Commission, this one under her own signature, Ruth stated that she was gone about five hours that day (not just two or three hours), on Monday Nov 11, from about 9 am to 2 pm:

"At no time after Marina and I and our children arrived in Irving, Texas, on September 24, 1963, from New Orleans, Louisiana, did I ever take Lee Oswald or Marina Oswald to the Irving Sports Shop, which is located at 221 East Irving Boulevard, Irving, Texas. I was quite aware during all of this period of Marina's activities and where she was. I know of no occasion when either she or Lee Oswald visited either the Furniture Mart or the Irving Sports Shop. 9. There was no occasion during the period Marina resided with me in the Fall of 1963, of which I was aware or now recollect, that Marina rode either in my station wagon or any other automobile or means of conveyance with Lee Oswald at the wheel. Neither the Irving Sports Shop nor Mrs. Whitworth nor Dyal Ryder was ever mentioned in my presence by either of the Oswalds. (. . .) 13. I was not present in my home for part of the day on November 11, 1963. As I testified, I made a trip that day, which was Armstice Day and a holiday, to Dallas, Texas. I was gone from approximately 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Not wishing to burden Lee and Marina with my children, I had them stay at my neighbors the Craigs. Marina and Lee Oswald and their children were in my home when I left and were there when I returned. Based upon my conversation with Marina and Lee Oswald, and my understanding of their plans for the day, it is my clear opinion that all of them remained in my home during my trip to and from Dallas." (11H154-155)

This is when I think the Furniture Mart trip happened—during those hours on Monday Nov. 11.

 

Could Oswald drive?

Ruth Paine tried to help Lee get a driver's license, and gave him driving lessons. Ruth told the Warren Commission that on her first driving lesson with Lee in mid-Oct, Lee took the keys, got in Ruth's 1955 Chevy Belair station wagon, started it up, and drove, with Ruth in the car, several blocks to the parking lot where they were going to practice, upsetting Ruth who did not want Lee driving her car illegally without a license. (2H505).

Mrs. Paine. ... I offered him a lesson and intended to drive him to this area for him to practice. He, however, started the car.

Mr. Jenner. He got in and started the car?

Mrs. Paine. He got in and started the car so that I know he was able to do that and wanted to drive on the street to the parking lot.

Mr. Jenner. He wanted to?

Mrs. Paine. He wanted to. I said, 'My father is an insurance man and he would never forgive me.'

Mr. Jenner. Your father?

Mrs. Paine. My father. And insisted that he get a learner's permit before he would drive on the street.

Mr. Jenner. At that moment and at that time he acted, in any event in your presence, as though he himself thought--

Mrs. Paine. That is right.

Mr. Jenner. He would be capable of driving an automobile from your home to the parking area in which you were about to give him a lesson. That was your full impression, was it not?

Mrs. Paine. Yes. I should add that, as I am recalling, he did drive a portion of the way, he drove in fact, it is about three blocks, to the parking lot. I was embarrassed to just tell him 'No, don't'. But I did, in effect, on the way there, when he was on the street, driving on the street in my car, when we got there I said, 'Now, I am going to drive back.' I didn't want him to.

Mr. Jenner. From your home to the parking lot?

Mrs. Paine. The first time before we had any lesson at all. And at that time I made it clear I didn't want him to drive in the street. Also, it became clear to me in that lesson that he was very unskilled in driving (. . .)

(. . .)

Mr. Dulles. Did I understand you to say he drove three blocks, was that all the way to the parking lot? So he drove all the way to the parking lot?

Mrs. Paine. Perhaps a little longer. But a short distance, whatever it was, to the parking lot, yes.

Oswald did not have a driver’s license. He was not an experienced driver. But as known from elsewhere, his uncle or cousin in New Orleans had taught him informally to drive, enough that Lee knew how to drive from point A to point B locally without assistance, as in fact he did with Ruth’s car with Ruth in it according to Ruth’s testimony just cited above. By Nov 11 Lee had had additional teaching and practice in parallel parking from Ruth.  

(From an FBI interview of Marina on Nov 29, 1963: “Mrs. Oswald was asked if Oswald could drive a car, and she replied that he did not have a driver’s license. She said Mrs. Paine had taught him something about driving a car after he returned to Dallas in October, 1963. She said also that Oswald’s cousin who lived on French Street in New Orleans had taught him something about driving. She said she believes Oswald could have passed a driver’s test.” https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=95652#relPageId=44&search=oswald_driving)

Therefore Lee had the ability to drive to and from the Furniture Mart on the date it happened. That Oswald was not the most skilled or experienced driver is in agreement with Mrs. Hunter at the Furniture Mart telling of how she had to run out front to tell the driver--Oswald--that he was about to drive the wrong way on the one-way street in front of the Furniture Mart, which the driver—Oswald--then corrected and went in the right direction. But Oswald could drive.

 

What car did Oswald drive to the Furniture Mart?

At the Furniture Mart Mrs. Hunter, who got the best look at the car of pulling up to the store, described the car she saw as a "1957 or 1958 Ford, two-tone blue and cream" (FBI interview, https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=58994#relPageId=36). Blue and white is the same color as Ruth Paine's blue and white 1955 Chevy Belair, the car that Ruth said Lee practiced parking on Nov 11, on the same day that Ruth was gone from the house for several hours. I interpret that Mrs. Hunter saw Ruth Paine's BelAir, driven by Lee.

 

Circumstances of Lee and Marina and their children at Ruth’s house on Nov 11

Michael Paine who lived elsewhere was present visiting at Ruth's house on both Sat Nov 9 and Sun Nov 10, according to testimony. The Paines owned three cars at that time: Ruth's 1955 Chevy Belair in her name; Michael's 1959 Citroen in his name; and a recently purchased 1956 Olds with title also in the name of Michael. It is assumed (not verified from testimony) in this reconstruction that Ruth left for her trip to Dallas that day not in her 1955 Belair but by some other means: perhaps with Michael in Michael's car, leaving the Belair behind at her home.

It is plausible that Ruth, generous and trusting, might have left the keys with Lee to practice parallel parking in the driveway--as the early document prepared by the FBI on the basis of what Ruth told the FBI indicated for that day: he practiced parking for a short period with Mrs. Paine's car”.

Ruth had arranged childcare for her children next door. From other testimony of Ruth, Marina liked to leave the house at any opportunity to go with Ruth on errands, any chance to get outside of the house. If Lee did decide to borrow Ruth’s car that day without Ruth’s knowledge, Marina's track record was wanting opportunity to get out of the house and go too, anytime someone was driving somewhere and she could accompany.

However, for Marina to go on that day necessarily meant taking both of their children. 2-yr old June and baby Rachel born Oct 20, 1963. In other words, if Lee decided he was going to go somewhere that day when Ruth was gone, Marina is likely--it would be expected--that Marina would have wanted to go too. This then reasonably accounts for why all four of the family, and not Lee alone, were in the car that day running Lee's errand.

 

Purpose of the trip

The purpose was for Lee to get a scope put on his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. At the Furniture Mart, the man (Lee) walked in asking for a gunsmith. The man (Lee) was carrying a package in his hands holding something about the size of a scope.

Mr. Liebeler. Now, Mrs. Whitworth, you testified that when this man came in the store he did have an object with him about 15 inches long wrapped n brown paper; isn’t that right?

Mrs. Whitworth. Yes.

Mr. Liebeler. And you also testified that this man asked about a part for the gun; isn’t that right?

Mrs. Whitworth. Yes.

Mr. Liebeler. And you know he had some part of the gun wrapped in this package; didn’t he?

(. . .)

Mr. McKenzie. (. . .) you stated that he had a package in his hand about 15 to 18 inches long; is that correct?

Mrs. Whitworth. No; I saw him.

Mr. McKenzie. I say, you had seen that and stated that he had such a package?

Mrs. Whitworth. I saw him; yes.

Mr. McKenzie. How was the package wrapped?

Mrs. Whitworth. Loosely in brown paper and you know, it didn’t have any strings on it, as far as I remember—it was loosely tied.

Mr. McKenzie. Well, was it a package in a bag?

Mrs. Whitworth. No; he held it with one hand.

Mr. McKenzie. He held it with one hand?

Mrs. Whitworth. Yes.

Mr. McKenzie. Did it look like a piece of pipe or did it look like a gun stock, or did it look like a piece of wood or what did it look like that was in the package?

Mrs. Whitworth. I didn’t see it.

Mr. McKenzie. How big around was the package?

Mrs. Whitworth. It wasn’t large—I’d say it might have been this big [indicating].

Mr. McKenzie. You are making a sign with your hands there, with both hands—

Mrs. Whitworth. What is that—about 2 or 3 inches in diameter?

Mr. McKenzie. All right.

Mrs. Whitworth. And then it was some 15 or 18 inches long.

Mr. McKenzie. So, the package that he had was 2 or 3 inches in diameter and approximately 18 inches long; is that right?

Mrs. Liebeler. Fifteen to 18 inches long.

Mrs. Whitworth. That’s right.

Mr. McKenzie. What did he say to you when he came into the store?

Mrs. Whitworth. He asked me if I had this particular part, some particular part, but not knowing about guns, I didn’t have it. I don’t remember it, you know, what he asked for.

(. . .)

Mrs. Whitworth. Mrs. Hunter and I discussed it afterwards, and I think that she might know more about guns and she said it was a plunger, but I’m not sure—I might have told them [reporter] that I thought it was a plunger, but I don’t remember.

Mr. McKenzie. And you dd not tell the reporter what you thought it was; is that right?

Mrs. Whitworth. No; I didn’t—I don’t believe I ever made the statement that I knew exactly what it was.

Mr. Liebeler. Well, you told the reporter that you thought it was a plunger; isn’t that a fact?

Mrs. Whitworth. I believe Mrs. Hunter said that. She talked to the same reporter—I don’t know what it was, because I don’t remember.

(. . .)

Mr. McKenzie. Did he tell you what the part that he was looking for was to be used with or for?

Mrs. Whitsworth. No; because I didn’t ask him.

Mr. McKenzie. Did he tell you that he was looking for a part for a gun? 

Mrs. Whitworth. Well, it was for a gun, because he asked for it, you know, that part. He came in because I had a gunsmith sign on the street and there had been one there.

Mr. Liebeler. Did he tell you that?

Mrs. Whitworth. No; he didn’t tell me that.

Mr. Liebeler. How did you know that he came in because you had a gunsmith sign on the oor?

Mrs. Whitworth. Well, I presume, that because he asked for a gun part.

Mr. Liebeler. And what part did he ask for?

Mrs. Whitworth.  Don’t know.

Mr. Liebeler. How did you know it was a part for a gun?

Mrs. Whitworth. Well, I just knew it was—whatever he asked for was, you know, pertaining to a gun, but as far as what it was, I don’t know. I didn’t pay that much attention to it because I had people coming in every day asking for something for a gun.

Mr. Liebeler. Did he tell you it was a part for a gun?

Mrs. Whitworth. I knew that it was at that time.

Mr. Liebeler. Did he tell you that it was?

Mrs. Whitworth. That it was?

Mr. Liebeler. Yes.

Mrs. Whitworth. No; he didn’t tell me.

Mr. Liebeler. Did he mention guns?

Mrs. Whitworth. We didn’t talk about it. We didn’t talk about it—when I told him I didn’t have the gunsmith, that he had moved, that he was no longer there and when I told im we no longer had a gunsmith we didn’t talk about what he wanted any more.

Mr. McKenzie. To the best of your recollection, and that’s based on your conversation with Mrs. Hunter, the part that he asked for was a plunger?

Mrs. Whitworth. Well, to the best of my recollection it was, but I wouldn’t say definitely that he asked for a plunger.

Mr. McKenzie. Well, you say you recognized the part that he asked for as being a part of a gun.

Mrs. Whitworth. Yes.

Mr. McKenzie. He didn’t mention to you a gun part at that time, did he, or did he?

Mrs. Whitwort. Well, he asked in such a way that I knew he was seeking the gun shop and not the furniture store.

Mr. Liebeler. Was the word ‘gun’ ever used?

Mrs. Whitworth. Yes; it was, because I told him the gunsmith had moved.

Mr. McKenzie. And what did he say then, please, ma’am?

Mrs. Whitworth. He turned around and he looked at me. He was standing practically nit eh ront or in the middle o the store and he turned and I had furniture all around me—dinette suites over on this side and there was living room furniture to this side, and in front of him there was living room furniture and bedroom furniture and he said, ‘You have furniture?’ I said ‘Yes’. He said, ‘I’m going to need some in about 2 weeks,’ and I said, ‘All right, I’ll be glad to show you some.’ He turns and walks out the door that he came in and took whatever he had in his hand back in the car and that’s when Mrs. Oswald followed him back in and he got back in the store before she did.

(. . .)

Mr. McKenzie. Now, if I may direct this question to Mrs. Hunter; Mrs. Hunter, do you recall any of the conversation that you heard Mrs. Whitworth testify about this morning? 

Mrs. Hunter. Well, when he drove up in the car and I thought it was my friends from Houston and when I seen it wasn’t, I sat back down in the chair and he went down to the door on that end of the building and went in and he asked her, he says, ‘Where is your gunsmith?’ I remember that and he had something—I won’t say just what it was, because I wasn’t particularly interested. I wasn’t in her being down there at the time. She told him that the gunsmith was moved—that he wasn’t there, and she showed him down the street where to go to. 

Mr. McKenzie. Where did she tell him to go?

Mrs. Hunter. Well, now, I don’t know, but it was back down east on Irving Boulevard.

Mrs. Whitworth. There was a gunsmith or a sports shop or something back down there.

Mrs. Hunter. There was a sport shop down there where she showed him to go.

I think it was not simply something related to a gun that was of similar size and shape as a scope, it was a scope--the scope, and its base, that had originally come with the Mannlicher-Carcano, which Oswald had earlier removed (because it was a piece of junk and in the way), but which he had kept and was now going to pay to have put back on for purpose of prep for resale. That what Oswald had in his hands in the Furniture Mart of the size of a scope probably was a scope, is consistent with where he went next, to where Mrs. Whitworth referred him, the Irving Sports Shop, where a work order was found--a document--telling of a customer named Oswald having a scope put on a rifle. Its a fairly straightforward connection of dots.

Why would Oswald want to install a scope on the Mannlicher-Carcanao, since it has been established that the Mannlicher-Carcano was shipped with a scope already installed? The simplest explanation is that Oswald removed the scope and base because it was unwanted or inconvenient, then had the same base and scope reinstalled on Nov 11 to prepare it for resale or conveyance. Since the same base and scope (kept by Oswald apart from the rifle after taking it off) was being put back on, it did not involve Oswald buying anything or bearing any expense other than the necessary charge for the reinstallation itself. The reinstallation of the scope would not be for Oswald’s own use (he did not like it, as evidenced by his having removed it earlier), but to ready it for sale or conveyance with the scope on it that it had been sold with. This solution to the apparent contradiction of the scopes is simple and uncomplicated. However it is inconsistent with an intention of Oswald to use the rifle for himself (as in fact there is no evidence that Oswald fired the rifle at all in October or November 1963). It was a reinstallation of the same scope on the one rifle in Oswald’s possession.

 

Why would Lee and Marina keep the borrowing of the car, and this short local trip, a secret from Ruth Paine? 

Because it involved the rifle, and because Lee had borrowed Ruth’s car without permission. Marina was complicit by having ridden in Ruth's car with Lee and known about it without telling Ruth. Neither Lee nor Marina told Ruth. Also, and the reason for accomplishing the scope installation in this manner behind Ruth’s back, Lee and Marina did not believe Ruth knew of the existence of the rifle itself or its presence in her garage, whereas Marina knew or perhaps had recently learned, how strong Ruth's anti-gun views were, particularly in a house with small children. It is even conceivable--very possible--that Marina hearing Ruth's pronounced views on this topic (guns), and Lee learning of this via Marina, could be a contributing factor (maybe even the reason itself) for Lee taking action to resolve that issue by getting the rifle moved out of Ruth Paine's garage. He had not been using it, and had no real place to store it other than Ruth Paine's garage, so it would not be surprising that Lee would rationally conclude the thing to do was sell it, and to sell it meant getting the scope put back on like it was originally.

Even if Marina had protested to Lee or had tried to talk Lee out of driving Ruth’s car that day (Marina’s sullenness and lack of any word or smile seen by the women at the Furniture Mart could be consistent with having had an argument with Lee), the fact that Marina had acquiesced and went along on the trip would be sufficient reason not to disclose the trip to Ruth.

As to why Lee would take Ruth's car without permission and not tell her--an abuse of Ruth’s hospitality--the reason would be because it was the only way Lee could get something done that needed to be done with the least amount of conflict, combined with opportunity. As reconstructed, this would be the only time Lee drove Ruth’s car without Ruth’s knowledge or permission. There is no evidence or indication that happened on any other occasion.

 

Why did Marina deny she had been in the Furniture Mart or ever seen the women before, when the Warren Commission set up the meeting of the three women in 1964? 

Because Marina had already lived this minor lie to Ruth all the time up to that point, and as is often the case when people are involved in deception, a choice is sometimes made to stick with a story rather than the discomfort and scrutiny raised by disclosing the truth in contradiction. 

The two women recognized Marina but Marina denied having seen them before. In reading that bizarre testimony it is simply obvious that one of the two parties is either wildly mistaken or untruthful. The issue is which. Was it Mrs. Whitworth the longtime sensible business owner who has no reason to lie and a second witness backing her up? Or was it Marina who had reason to dissemble and a track record of doing so on other matters in her testimony in numerous instances? It is not too difficult to decide which one of the two has a greater likelihood of being the dissembler, all else being equal, if a choice has to be made (and in this case a choice does have to be made). Simple witting dissembling is regarded here as the simplest explanation for why Marina, in that face to face, denied that she was the woman in the store with two children and a husband who exactly matched the description of herself, her two children and Lee, even when Mrs. Whitworth and Mrs. Hunter were right there recognizing her and saying it was her. The mystery is over; it indeed was Marina in that store, despite Marina’s denial.

 

Time of day 

There is a discrepancy in that the Furniture Mart women had the time of the family arriving as after 2 pm, which if correct seems incompatible with Lee running an errand of this nature if Ruth Paine was only gone ca. 9 am until 2 pm that day. Also, the Furniture Mart women had it on a Wed-Fri not a Monday. I believe the other reasons for considering the visit of Lee and Marina and their children to the Furniture Mart as real, mean this timing discrepancy will have some mundane explanation as witness error, rather than negating that it was Lee and Marina.

Here is what I think: although Mrs. Whitworth remembered the visit itself well and estimated it was most likely in the week ending Nov 9, it was Mrs. Hunter (the more dramatic and opinionated of the two) who convinced Mrs. Whitworth of a more exact timing as the two women discussed it following the assassination. Mrs. Hunter linked it to their talking about who was traveling with who to a particular school football game, when the man (Oswald) had walked in. Mrs. Hunter linked that to her pattern of coming to the Furniture Mart after 2 pm on Wed or Thu or Fri to discuss carpooling (or whatever) to the weekly Friday night school football game. Mrs. Hunter thought the Oswald family visit had happened either the week ending Nov 9 or the week ending Nov 16. In fact the particular football game that both Mrs. Whitworth and Mrs. Hunter linked their conversation to that day was identified and it took place Fri Nov 8. I think Mrs. Hunter confused a post-game talking about that Nov 8 school football game with a pre-game talking about that school football game. Furthermore, although Mrs. Hunter explained that she normally came in after 2 pm because of something about waiting until after a 2 pm phone call daily from her daughter at work, that may not have been the case on Veterans Day, a holiday. Mrs. Hunter seems to have hung out at the Furniture Store as a social need, and she may have went to the Furniture Mart that day, Veterans Day, earlier (without a 2 pm daughter at work phone call factor). Mrs. Whitworth herself remembered the time of day as being somewhat earlier than Mrs. Hunter's insistence that it had been after 2 pm, with Mrs. Whitworth not sure but thinking it may have been more like maybe noon or 1. Since in the analysis here the family actually was Lee and Marina and there is no other day this could have occurred than Monday Nov 11, if Ruth Paine left in the morning that day, the true time of the Furniture Mart visit most likely would have been late morning. The difference between, say, 11 am, and Mrs. Whitworth's noon or 1 pm, in a witness who said she could not remember the time or exact day, is interpreted as a witness not perfectly remembering an exact time of day something happened two weeks earlier.  

 

Summary

Ruth Paine left her house on Monday, Nov 11, perhaps with Michael in Michael's car, leaving Lee and Marina and her Chevy Belair at her home. Ruth was gone for either ca. 2-3 hours (earliest estimate) or ca. 5 hours (later more specific estimate, 9 am-2 pm). Lee and Marina were at her home when she left and were there when she returned. Neither Lee nor Marina told Ruth that Lee had taken her car to a gunsmith to get a scope put on a rifle which Ruth did not know Lee had been in her garage. Ruth testified she was certain Lee and Marina had not gone on any trip to the Furniture Mart or Irving Sports Shop in October or November, because she knew their whereabouts when they were in Irving and, in her mind, such a trip could not have happened without her knowing about it. But the evidence indicates exactly that; it did happen on Nov 11 without her knowing about it—the only day in the timeline it could have happened; a day which matches the “weekday” memory of the women at the Furniture Mart (though not which weekday of the women’s imperfect memory), a day in agreement with the few days range in early November of both Furniture Mart women’s memory of when it occurred, and a day in agreement with the two-week span of time in which the owner and an employee of the Irving Sports Shop determined the visit of an Oswald to the Irving Sports Shop to have a scope installed had occurred (a two-week period when the owner had been gone, Nov 1-14). Lee, who did have sufficient ability to drive even though he did not have a license, borrowed Ruth's car without her knowledge, the 1955 BelAir wagon. The color of Ruth’s 1955 Belair matches the blue and white color of the car Mrs. Hunter said the family arrived in when they parked in front of the Furniture Mart. That is because it was Ruth’s car.

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Lee Harvey Oswald: Schrodinger's Driver. He can drive just enough for the theory.

If Lee could indeed drive, why didn't he escape in a car after the assassination?

I think your analysis has problems. You put absolute faith in Ruth Paine. If she's not telling the truth, then it seems to me that there are significant holes in your argument.

Occam’s Razor suggests it was Michael Paine. He resembled Lee, had access to Ruth's car, and was known to Marina.

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1 hour ago, Greg Doudna said:

Why would Oswald want to install a scope on the Mannlicher-Carcanao, since it has been established that the Mannlicher-Carcano was shipped with a scope already installed? The simplest explanation is that Oswald removed the scope and base because it was unwanted or inconvenient, then had the same base and scope reinstalled on Nov 11 to prepare it for resale or conveyance.

Do you think Oswald was practicing rifle shooting during the time he allegedly owned the rifle?

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6 hours ago, Denny Zartman said:

Do you think Oswald was practicing rifle shooting during the time he allegedly owned the rifle?

I think Oswald probably did practice shooting the rifle when he had it prior to Oct-Nov 1963, not necessarily a great deal but a bit. But I do not think he practiced shooting the rifle in Oct or Nov 1963. I regard the alleged Oswald Sports Drome sightings as mistaken identifications, perhaps of Masen. For a lot of good reasons, Oswald was not shooting at the Sports Drome.

Edited by Greg Doudna
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I don't see anywhere in the article where you present any evidence that Oswald was intending to sell the rifle. Did he place a "for sale" notice somewhere, or is there testimony of someone who discussed purchasing the rifle from him? Is there someone who said Lee discussed wanting to sell his rifle?

Was the Furniture Mart open on Veteran's Day 1963?

It is also assumed in your theory that both Lee and Marina would have been willing to take Ruth's car without Ruth's knowledge, risking being stopped by a cop or having an accident with an unlicensed driver at the wheel. Not only would they be knowingly risking Ruth's car, their relationship with Ruth, and Lee's freedom, they would have been risking the safety of their small child and newborn infant. And for an errand that Lee could have easily accomplished using public transportation?

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Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to follow the logic of:

  1. LHO trying out the rifle with the scope and deciding the scope is junk
  2. Paying money to have the junk scope removed
  3. Trying out the rifle without the scope
  4. Getting rid of all remaining ammo save the four bullets in the rifle, getting rid of any rifle cleaning/maintenance tools, and not doing any more shooting
  5. Deciding to sell the rifle (even though there seems to be no evidence of this intent)
  6. Paying more money to have the junk scope put back on the rifle

It just seems simpler to offer the rifle and scope for sale as is and let any potential purchaser make the decision of whether or not the scope was worth putting back on the rifle. If Oswald didn't like the scope, how could he expect someone else would?

Pay money to have it on the rifle in the first place, pay more money to have the scope removed, pay even more money to have it put back on (as if it really would have made the rifle that much more valuable), and then possibly leave the potential purchaser with the cost of removing the scope again?

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5 hours ago, Denny Zartman said:

Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to follow the logic of:

  1. LHO trying out the rifle with the scope and deciding the scope is junk
  2. Paying money to have the junk scope removed
  3. Trying out the rifle without the scope
  4. Getting rid of all remaining ammo save the four bullets in the rifle, getting rid of any rifle cleaning/maintenance tools, and not doing any more shooting
  5. Deciding to sell the rifle (even though there seems to be no evidence of this intent)
  6. Paying more money to have the junk scope put back on the rifle

It just seems simpler to offer the rifle and scope for sale as is and let any potential purchaser make the decision of whether or not the scope was worth putting back on the rifle. If Oswald didn't like the scope, how could he expect someone else would?

Pay money to have it on the rifle in the first place, pay more money to have the scope removed, pay even more money to have it put back on (as if it really would have made the rifle that much more valuable), and then possibly leave the potential purchaser with the cost of removing the scope again?

The article is a Part 1 of intended 3, and the purpose here was to make the argument that it was Lee and Marina at the Furniture Mart. That argument is either convincing or not independent of the purpose of a scope installation. You cite various reasons why you don't think that was Lee and Marina, which is fine but raises the question of, if it was not, who were they? Which you answer by suggesting that it indeed was Marina but it was Michael Paine, not Lee, who took Marina and her children to the Furniture Mart. But the man with Marina told Mrs. Whitworth he had just fathered a newborn baby girl, the baby of Marina, a couple of weeks earlier. To me that sounds like Lee, since it was Lee who had just become the father of a baby girl on Oct 20, whereas Michael Paine had no newborn baby girl. The argument for the rifle sale I intend to make in Part 3. A brief point here: I do not think it would cost money to remove a scope, since that simply involved unscrewing the base.

Edited by Greg Doudna
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39 minutes ago, Greg Doudna said:

The article is a Part 1 of intended 3, and the purpose here was to make the argument that it was Lee and Marina at the Furniture Mart. That argument is either convincing or not independent of the purpose of a scope installation. You cite various reasons why you don't think that was Lee and Marina, which is fine but raises the question of, if it was not, who were they? Which you answer by suggesting that it indeed was Marina but it was Michael Paine, not Lee, who took Marina and her children to the Furniture Mart. But the man with Marina told Mrs. Whitworth he had just fathered a newborn baby girl, the baby of Marina, a couple of weeks earlier. To me that sounds like Lee, since it was Lee who had just become the father of a baby girl on Oct 20, whereas Michael Paine had no newborn baby girl. The argument for the rifle sale I intend to make in Part 3. A brief point here: I do not think it would cost money to remove a scope, since that simply involved unscrewing the base.

If removal of the scope was a simple process of unscrewing the base, would it not be just as simple to re-install the scope in reverse order? Thereby negating the need for a gunsmith?

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1 hour ago, Jeff Carter said:

I would say one of the main problems with this line of approach is that many persons are justifiably skeptical of the notion that there ever was a rifle sitting in a rolled up carpet in the Paine's garage to begin with.

I understand. The logic and the argument does assume that the rifle was received by Oswald earlier in 1963, and was in the blanket in Ruth Paine's garage after late September, in agreement with the basic FBI/Warren Commission narrative concerning the mail-order of the rifle by Oswald by means of an alias, also supported from testimony of the DeMohrenschildts, Marina, and the Backyard Photographs. If the rifle was not in Ruth Paine's garage in early November, and not otherwise in the possession of or accessible to Oswald, then obviously Oswald could not have taken that rifle on a trip to the Furniture Mart and Irving Sports Shop to have work done on it. So you are correct, for those who know that the rifle was not in Ruth Paine's garage, then my analysis will be of limited or no interest. 

However, if that is so, it still leaves the central question unresolved the point of my analysis, which is whether the family that was in the Furniture Mart seen by Mrs. Whitworth was or was not Lee and Marina and their children. That question calls for response irrespective of theories of the rifle. The Warren Commission was clear: it concluded that though the FBI was unable to identify the family otherwise, it simply could not have been Marina and Lee for reasons of (a) internal implausibility and (b) it did not agree with the larger narrative of the Warren Commission. Therefore it was some freak coincidence without any explanation offered other than that, in the Warren Commission analysis. The question I wish my article (this Part I) to have answered by you or other readers, is, do you agree with that Warren Commission analysis that it was not Lee and Marina? Do you agree with the WC that it was not Lee and Marina but on different grounds (than cited by WC)? Or do you think it was Lee and Marina (as I have argued)? It is an up or down question, and set the rifle issue aside, calls for a position taken on that question directly. 

The issues do become linked to this extent however: if it was Lee and Marina in the Furniture Mart--if that up-or-down "yes" answer is the correct judgment there--then that adds weight to Oswald having had possession of a rifle in early November, and likely in Ruth Paine's garage if so since where else would he have it. That is how I see it.

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8 hours ago, Denny Zartman said:

Lee Harvey Oswald: Schrodinger's Driver. He can drive just enough for the theory.

If Lee could indeed drive, why didn't he escape in a car after the assassination?

I think your analysis has problems. You put absolute faith in Ruth Paine. If she's not telling the truth, then it seems to me that there are significant holes in your argument.

Occam’s Razor suggests it was Michael Paine. He resembled Lee, had access to Ruth's car, and was known to Marina.

Denny,

I share your skepticism of Greg's theory. However, I think we can dismiss the possibility that Michael Paine impersonated "Oswald" on the trip to the Furniture Mart - Michael Paine was 6'4" and "Oswald" was roughly 5'9". 

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23 minutes ago, Greg Doudna said:

I understand. The logic and the argument does assume that the rifle was received by Oswald earlier in 1963, and was in the blanket in Ruth Paine's garage after late September, in agreement with the basic FBI/Warren Commission narrative concerning the mail-order of the rifle by Oswald by means of an alias, also supported from testimony of the DeMohrenschildts, Marina, and the Backyard Photographs. If the rifle was not in Ruth Paine's garage in early November, and not otherwise in the possession of or accessible to Oswald, then obviously Oswald could not have taken that rifle on a trip to the Furniture Mart and Irving Sports Shop to have work done on it. So you are correct, for those who know that the rifle was not in Ruth Paine's garage, then my analysis will be of limited or no interest. 

However, if that is so, it still leaves the central question unresolved the point of my analysis, which is whether the family that was in the Furniture Mart seen by Mrs. Whitworth was or was not Lee and Marina and their children. That question calls for response irrespective of theories of the rifle. The Warren Commission was clear: it concluded that though the FBI was unable to identify the family otherwise, it simply could not have been Marina and Lee for reasons of (a) internal implausibility and (b) it did not agree with the larger narrative of the Warren Commission. Therefore it was some freak coincidence without any explanation offered other than that, in the Warren Commission analysis. The question I wish my article (this Part I) to have answered by you or other readers, is, do you agree with that Warren Commission analysis that it was not Lee and Marina? Do you agree with the WC that it was not Lee and Marina but on different grounds (than cited by WC)? Or do you think it was Lee and Marina (as I have argued)? It is an up or down question, and set the rifle issue aside, calls for a position taken on that question directly. 

The issues do become linked to this extent however: if it was Lee and Marina in the Furniture Mart--if that up-or-down "yes" answer is the correct judgment there--then that adds weight to Oswald having had possession of a rifle in early November, and likely in Ruth Paine's garage if so since where else would he have it. That is how I see it.

Greg,

You have put much thought into this, and I do agree with your theory that Marina and her two daughters visited the Furniture Mart sometime in the first two weeks of November. I also agree that it is likely that Hunter and Whitworth were telling the truth (as they remembered it) about the visit of the couple with their children. 

However, there is powerful evidence that our "Oswald" did NOT visit the Furniture Mart - he was at work in the TSBD. You have speculated that the visit took place on the one weekday in November when such a visit was possible - Veteran's Day. Maybe, but that's not what Hunter and Whitworth said.

Your theory about a cash transaction at the Rifle Shop is legitimate, and everyone agreed that Dial Ryder was not lying about the repair tag. Someone came to the shop and wanted some simple "tapping and drilling" done on their rifle. Did Dial Ryder do the work and pocket the cash? I don't know, but that is plausible, and the fact the Warren Commission never even considered that obvious possibility makes it probable, in my view. 

We differ on the identity of the man with Marina. You say it was our Oswald. I doubt it - even the Warren Commission conceded that there were several apparent instances of impersonation in the weeks before the assassination. The Commission dismissed every instance, but virtually everyone here thinks at least some of those "Oswald" sightings were legitimate. 

I do too.

I don't know who was impersonating "Oswald", but that man bore at least a superficial resemblance to our man. 

Marina knows who he was, which may explain why she is terrified to this day . . . 

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2 hours ago, Ty Carpenter said:

If removal of the scope was a simple process of unscrewing the base, would it not be just as simple to re-install the scope in reverse order? Thereby negating the need for a gunsmith?

Not if the threads were stripped, I think. I would welcome persons experienced with firearms to confirm or refute this, but as I understand it from firearms sites, if the threads were stripped the way a new installation would be done would be to tap and drill right over the existing holes but slightly larger, with new threads. Apparently some gun afficionados can do this at home with the right tools, but most people take it to professionals to do, a gunsmith.

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I find this a fascinating scenario - from personal experience from that period of time I would expect a gun shop to remain open on Saturday (especially during hunting season) regardless of Veterans day.  However that might actually mean only one person was working and Ryder was there alone, for at least part of the day.

I also have no trouble visualizing Oswald taking off on his own with the car to have the scope removed, Marina thinking she and the kids were just going for a short ride while he practiced driving, then getting mad at him.  It seems typical "Oswald" to me, especially if he was shielding ownership of the weapon.  Ruth not believing it happened seems standard for Ruth and Marina not wanting to upset Ruth at first and then not wanting to talk about Oswald and a rifle also strikes me as very believable.

None of that provides any corroboration but its a scenario I find very consistent with all three personalities as I've come to visualize them and it would resolve an incident that has bothered me since I first learned about it. 

 

 

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