Wecht symposium to stick with assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Give Dr. Cyril H. Wecht an hour or two, and he can describe countless details surrounding the assassination 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy and what the renowned pathologist considers a government conspiracy to hide the truth.
Imagine what he and 30 fellow JFK experts can talk about given three days.
“In these three days, you'll learn anything and everything that you want to know about it, what was done and what was not done,” Wecht said about a conference at Duquesne University starting Thursday.
For the second time since Duquesne's Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law started hosting annual symposiums 13 years ago, it will devote its entire program to the assassination, the subject that helped make its namesake world-famous.
The conference title, “Passing the Torch,” plays on the imagery of Kennedy's famous inaugural speech and acknowledges that Wecht, 82, fellow researchers and surviving witnesses are looking to a new generation to carry on the study of the assassination.
“It's not just about passing the torch of active research, but of interest and of awareness of the assassination, and of the inadequacy of official explanations,” said Wecht's son, Ben, administrator at the institute.
Cyril Wecht said he recently spoke on the topic at several universities, conferences and community meetings.
Larry Sabato, a professor of American politics at the University of Virginia who will address the symposium on Thursday, said students remain interested in the case.
“You want to learn to make sure it never happens again. You never, ever want the kind of job the Warren Commission did,” Sabato said. “If you don't do the process right, you condemn the country to decades of cynicism.”
Both Wechts cite recent polls that they say show up to 85 percent of people do not buy the government's official determination as published by the Warren Commission — that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed the president in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Cyril Wecht, who is a doctor and forensic pathologist, has studied the case and testified in proceedings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He says forensic analysis of evidence — particularly of the “magic bullet” that is supposed to have struck both Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally — proves one man could not have done it alone.
Before next month's anniversary, the Wechts are bringing to Pittsburgh nearly three dozen experts to discuss the evidence on Thursday, the investigations on Friday and the future on Saturday.
Speakers will include Oliver Stone, who directed the 1991 film “JFK” that brought theories about the assassination to new audiences, and Dr. Robert N. McClelland, a surgeon who was working in Trauma Room 1 at Parkland Hospital in Dallas when Secret Service brought in the mortally wounded president.
“What he's willing to say he saw stands at odds with what a lot of other clinicians at Parkland are willing to say that they saw,” Ben Wecht said.
Those who criticize the investigation and official explanation often point to conflicts between what doctors reported at the hospital and what two inexperienced Navy doctors reported during the autopsy on the next day at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
The symposium will include a look at the media's role in the case during a panel discussion on Thursday evening in the Sen. John Heinz History Center, a sponsor of the conference.
For a schedule of events and speakers and information about registration, go to www.duq.edu/jfk.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police chief: Officers, public must unite against violence
- Black Pittsburghers still challenged in education, workforce, housing
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- Port Authority committee to focus on natural-gas bus fleet for proposed rapid transit line from Downtown to Oakland
- Body found in rubble after Shaler house fire
- University of Pittsburgh Senior Vice Chancellor Humphrey to be paid $395K a year
- Newsmaker: Robert Gould
- Muslim group to host interfaith symposium
- Federal judge dismisses Monongahela mayor’s lawsuit against district judge, district attorney
- Grant to bolster ranks of Pittsburgh police
- Ice falling from Allegheny County Courthouse frightens passersby