20 April 2023

The Legend of Jack Ruby

 by Eve Fisher

Actually, this story is primarily by Gary Cartwright, and was published Texas Monthly in November, 1975.  I think it's an appropriate column for the week, give or take a month, that he was born back in 1911.  

Jack Ruby, Lee Harvey Oswald's assassin, who in turn, assassinated John F. Kennedy, was born Jacob Leon Rubenstein on or around March 25 and April 25, 1911, in Chicago. From then on... it's legendary, mythic, and damned uncertain what happened and why. But one thing is certain, he played his part:

"If there is a tear left, shed it for Jack Ruby. He didn’t make history; he only stepped in front of it. When he emerged from obscurity into that inextricable freeze-frame that joins all of our minds to Dallas, Jack Ruby, a bald-headed little man who wanted above all else to make it big, had his back to the camera.

I can tell you about Jack Ruby, and about Dallas, and if necessary remind you that human life is sweetly fragile and the holy litany of ambition and success takes as many people to hell as it does to heaven. But someone else will have to tell you about Oswald, and what he was doing in Dallas that November, when Jack Ruby took the play away from Oswald, and from all of us.

Dallas, Oswald, Ruby, Watts, Whitman, Manson, Ray, Sirhan, Bremer, Viet Nam, Nixon, Watergate, FBI, CIA, Squeaky Fromme, Sara Moore—the list goes on and on. Who the hell wrote this script, and where will it end? A dozen years of violence, shock, treachery, and paranoia, and I date it all back to that insane weekend in Dallas and Jack Ruby—the one essential link in the chain, the man who changed an isolated act into a trend."

Personal note:  I still remember watching this on the news, and even at 9 years old, I knew there was something fishy about it: I turned to my parents and said, "But they stood back and let him shoot him!"  


"Twelve years ago, when the first announcement that the President had been shot was broadcast over the PA system at Richardson Junior High School, Gertrude Hutter, an eighth-grade teacher, began crying. Bob Dudney, who is now a reporter for the Times Herald, recalled the moment. She turned her back long enough to compose herself, then addressed her class with these prophetic words:

“Children, we are entering into an age of violence. There is nothing we can do about it, but all of us must stay calm, and above all, civilized.”"

Read it all here:  Texas Monthly

Gertrude Hutter was a prophet.  But I doubt even she could have foreseen the seemingly endless death and destruction we have unleashed upon ourselves.  

1963 seems quaintly peaceful:  one assassination, and a nation horror-struck, but pulling together in mourning.  

Even 1975 - Watergate, the last year of the Vietnam War, Squeaky Fromme, a bomb at LaGuardia killing 11 people,  - seems like an era of safety for most, if not all.

But today...  


  1. What presence of mind in that 8th grade teacher and what perception.

  2. I know. But I'm not surprised. I know someone who was teaching a class on 9/11 with a full view of one of the planes hitting one of the towers - and somehow kept that class together and got them out safely... Teachers are awesome.

  3. I guess my question is: Is there anything we could do about the unleached violence? Have we stayed calm & civilized? Has that helped?

  4. The world stopped on that day. And when it started again, it was different.

  5. Oh Eve, this is a powerful message. And I think R.T. is right on the money. Melodie

  6. I agree, R.T. "You can't go home again..."

  7. I have always said the person most responsible for the way the sixties turned out was not John Lennon, or LBJ, or even Lee Harvey Oswald. It was Jack Ruby, because when Oswald died the world of conspiracy thinking was born.

    1. I think you've got a point. As I said in the blog post, even as a child I felt like Ruby was allowed by the cops to go up and shoot Oswald - certainly no one stepped in to stop him - and that seemed weird...

  8. jack ruby dog story: Ruby denied any involvement of a conspiracy but stated that it was an impulsive act while under the influence of prescription drugs. There were wide reports that Ruby left his dog in the car to support his argument that the shooting was not planned?ruby didn't keep dogs at home but at carousel club why?jack ruby murdered Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963, two days after Oswald was accused of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (j d tippit)?Armstrong work Ruby he claim 11-22-63 He got bus got off main st look around at crowds walk to the carousel club? Armstrong mention to ruby he going watch parade prior to it?Armstrong mention that Ruby always call him about dog if fed? Larry Crafard mentions 11-23-1963(or24)that he call Jack that out of dog food for the dogs and jack hollered at him slam phone down that when Crafard decide to leave dallas? Armstrong claim He got off bus 11-22-63 took him about 10 min walk carousel club about 12:30pm then he took off jacket/went bathroom listen to sirens then he went room get portable radio listen to it?Then Armstrong went room Larry Crafard sleeping he try to wake him up by shake him told him jfk shot/but he kept on sleeping& it took Armstrong 2nd time to wake up Crafard (approx 1pm)?Afterwhile later (10-20min)jack ruby called told Armstrong carousel closed&Ruby forgot to ask about dogs being fed11-22?question is who feed the weinerdog Armstrong work for jack ruby 1 1/2yrs or Crafard oct-nov1963?


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