We Have Questions About the Death of JFK and Detective Colin McLaren Has the Answers
10.10.13 by Mandy
The documentary JFK: The Smoking Gun breaks new ground in the case of John F. Kennedy’s assassination by presenting evidence amassed by two highly qualified experts during consecutive multi-year investigations into Kennedy’s assassination. Veteran police detective Colin McLaren was one of Australia's most experienced taskforce detectives and worked on some the the country's most high-profile cases. Now, with JFK: The Smoking Gun he's taking on what he considers "the Holy Grail of all cold cases" with his in-depth look at Kennedy's death. We had some questions about the work he did, and luckily this skilled investigator filled us in on his process and let us in on which cold case of international importance he will delve into next.
What intrigued you most about Howard Donahue’s research?
Howard’s ballistic outcomes are faultless, and beautifully explained. He nailed a complex subject, from trajectory lines to bullet types and affects, to angles and bullet entry dimensions.
Why was this particular cold case so compelling for you?
It's the Holy Grail of all cold cases, surely. The ultimate challenge for a detective. The Warren Commission case proving Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman smelt so outrageous I just had to have a go at a cold case study myself.
What cases in your career best prepared you to take on the Kennedy assassination?
I have trouble forgetting the execution murder of two Policemen in Australia. One had his head near blown away, the other was riddled with bullets. Although the perpetrators were sent to trial, the case has lingered with me for over 20 years. The investigation was constantly draining, with the added pressure of working against the underworld.
Was it difficult getting access to the evidence you were interested in? What were the roadblocks?
Difficult only in the sheer volume of paperwork, over 10,000 pages and 15 million words to digest. Once I gained the confidence to move around the vast cache of documents the task got easier as the years rolled on. The real roadblock along my way was maintaining investigative enthusiasm for four and a half long, long years. It's all about having the patience of a spider.
Are there any other cold cases you’re interested in that you think you might investigate?
I am intrigued in the death of Princess Diana. Her death saw more outpouring of grief since the death of JFK. Indeed, the biggest display of grief the world has ever witnessed. There is much skullduggery surrounding her death, and in particular since her burial. The time I have spent delving into the story suggests there's a lot to learn from a negative influence close to Lady Diana, on the side of the man she died along side of. A cold case study could be fascinating and revealing.
What essentially makes the investigation described in JFK: The Smoking Gun different from others of its type?
Time. As a case, the crime scene is long gone. 200 weather seasons have changed the scene irrevocably. Plus the millions of cars and trucks that have rolled over Elm Street, as well as the thousands of people that have trampled the scene. Luckily, we have the witness statements, affidavits and testimonies to allow for a thorough reworking of the scene, through documents.
Why does the Kennedy assassination continue to be so intriguing for so many people?
It had it all; a handsome president, a beautiful First Lady, a sunny Texas afternoon, limousines, suited Secret Service, a foolhardy assassin, strip joint owner Jack Ruby, text book uniform police work, shoddy detective skills, a debate over how many guns and shots, lost evidence, a missing brain, conflicting memories and all the hints of a government cover up. It's a lot like a Hollywood synopsis for a screenplay!
Did you ever believe the single gunman theory presented by the Warren Commission?
Not for a nano second!
Is there any one piece of evidence that stands out the most as being inconsistent with the findings of the Warren Commission?
The vast number of witnesses that claim to have seen smoke or smelled gunsmoke at street level, around the motorcade. Now....what's that (smoke) doing way down there, when Lee Harvey Oswald is way up there, on the 6th floor, 285 feet away behind a sash window and boxes with the wind in his face? Come on Warren Commission, listen to your witnesses!
Do you think the Secret Service should have revealed the part they played in Kennedy’s death immediately after it happened? Should they admit it now?
Strangely, I understand why they never did admit their role in the death of JFK. Had they, it would have worked against the US, at the height of the Cold War. The big bear in Russia (Khrushchev) would have made America the laughing stock of the world, which would have been so undeserving, a massive slight against democracy. The Secret Service of today should step forward and acknowledge their error. It's not about blackening the name of any individual or organization. It's about the truth, and supplying the American people a definitive answer. Then, letting the door to the world's most talked about tragedy to quietly close, once and for all time.
If the Secret Service were to come forward now and confirm Donahue’s and your conclusions, do you think conspiracy theorists would come to believe the truth?
I have no doubt that most Americans would understand and accept the facts. At long last. And....who cares what conspiracy theorist believe, they only feel sated by sensationalism anyway.
How do you think Jack Ruby fits into the scenario outlined by the documentary JFK: The Smoking Gun?
Jack Ruby was just a misguided patriot. His actions ended one life, yet fuelled 1000s of conspiracy theories. I wish he hadn't shot Oswald, as the case would have been closed long ago.
Why do you think this simple, straightforward theory on the death of Kennedy has largely been ignored?
It was no doubt considered too raw for the American public, circa 1963. Too sad a tragedy. Too difficult to explain. USA today has a closer relationship to violence and mishaps, this bitter pill would be easier to swallow, especially if taken with time.
Where were you when you found out that Kennedy had been shot?
Blissfully kicking a football around in my backyard, like most small boys in short pants, without a care in the world!
Get more questions and answers from Bonar Menninger best-selling author of Mortal Error: The Shot that Killed JFK. [Click Here]