Thursday, 31 March 2011 18:58

The Real Wikipedia? Part Two Addendum: Fernandez and the .38 Smith and Wesson

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Wikipedia gets the facts wrong on the alleged Tippit murder weapon, as Jim DiEugenio point out.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Rob Fernandez, aka Gamaliel, is about as ignorant – and arrogant – on the JFK case as Anton Batey is. He has apparently implicitly trusted the likes of disinformationist extraordinaire John McAdams on several matters dealing with this very complex murder. As shown above, this trust backfired on him with the mail order dealings about the rifle allegedly used to murder President Kennedy. What is ironic though is that Fernandez seems to think that he is skating on solid ice when dealing with the weapon used to allegedly kill Officer J. D. Tippit. This is the result of pure ignorance on his part. For the issue of how and if this .38 Smith and Wesson revolver got to Oswald's post office box is fraught with problems. Let us educate Gamaliel with information he will not find on John McAdams' web site.

On October 19, 1962 George Rose and Company of Los Angeles (aka Seaport Traders), ordered 500 of this type of revolver from Empire Wholesale Sporting Goods in Montreal. These were shipped to Century Arms in Vermont and then to Los Angles on January 3, 1963. (WC Vol. 7, pgs. 373-75) Once in LA, Seaport sent the weapons to be modified in Van Nuys by gunsmith M. L. Johnson. (ibid, p. 375)

The Warren Commission states that Seaport Traders was sent a coupon along with a ten-dollar cash deposit from one A. J. Hidell at PO box 2915 in Dallas to order one of these revolvers. (WC Exhibit 790) According to the Commission, one Emma Vaughn at Seaport filled the order on March 20, 1963. The order was sent via Railway Express Agency (REA) to Mr. Hidell. (John Armstrong, Harvey and Lee, p. 482)

This is where the story gets quite interesting. For REA was the forerunner to the modern private mail services United Parcel Service and Federal Express. So the first question then becomes: Why would you ship through a private mail company to a USPS post office box? Because, for example, both UPS and FedEx are considered competitors, the USPS will not accept their mail. And both companies have policies not to ship to government post office boxes.

Now, just like the USPS, REA had regulations about shipping firearms. Their Vice-President, Robert C. Hendon, told the Dodd Committee: “We have always required that shipments of small arms be handled through our moneys departments and each employee handling such shipments sign a receipt for same.” (ibid) If one looks in the Warren Report for such documents on this transaction, one will not see any such signed receipt from any REA employee. (p. 173)

According to a copy of an REA invoice from Seaport, they allegedly shipped the revolver to Hidell at his post office box. (ibid) The FBI never obtained the original of this document. (Armstrong, p. 482) Now, Texas state law required that the consumer of firearms have an affidavit from a legal magistrate testifying to his good character on hand. This should have been forwarded with the order. There is no evidence it was. Further, REA had strict rules in place about identifying the receiver of firearms to make sure the man who ordered the weapon was the man REA was giving it to. There is no evidence in the record that this was ever done: no signed affidavit, no copy of an ID, not even a signed receipt by Hidell or Oswald. In other words, as with the rifle, there is no extant evidence that Oswald ever picked up this revolver.

Contrary to what the careless Mr. Fernandez placed on the Lee Harvey Oswald page at Wikipedia, the actual package with the handgun could not possibly have been sent to Oswald's box. Only the USPS delivers packages to its boxes. When the package arrived in the REA office at 515 South Houston in Dallas, a postcard should have been sent to Hidell at his box. And the date of this mailing should have been noted in their documentary record of the transaction. Again, this record is not in evidence. REA possessed no documents to certify the identity of the individual who picked up the package or the date of the pickup.

Something is wrong here. And it appears the FBI understood that. For they never tried to certify the transaction, as they did with the rifle, by checking the bank records of REA for a remittance to Seaport. Or the Seaport records for a receipt from REA. But even more surprising, there is no evidence in the record that the FBI ever visited the REA office at South Houston. Which is very surprising. In any normal investigation, agents should have been sent there immediately to find the clerk who performed the transaction, and to pick up the documents REA had in support of the transaction. Without that evidence in any form, what is the proof that 1.) Oswald ever picked up a postcard at his box notifying him that REA had the revolver, or 2.) That Oswald picked up the weapon at REA?

The world awaits Mr. Fernandez' answers to those queries. In light of the above facts and evidence, his statement that the revolver had been sent to Oswald's PO Box in Dallas is nothing but ignorant mythology. That is the price one pays for trusting unreliable sources and not doing any actual research.

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 15:15
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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