When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, Bob Kaupang was not even born; nevertheless, the RVHS social studies teacher has found a connection with the president and the assassination – mostly because of the fact that there has been so much controversy surrounding it.
When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, Bob Kaupang was not even born.
Yet, the RVHS social studies teacher has found a connection with the president and the assassination – mostly because of the fact that there has been so much controversy surrounding it.
“I remember my mom talking about Kennedy a lot, saying he was such a good president because he was a president for the regular people,” said Kaupang.
While he does not recall any particular moment when his fascination with Kennedy started, Kaupang said he always seems to recall having this desire to learn more about him and the way he died. That interest led Kaupang and a friend to Dallas in November to take in the 50th anniversary of the assassination.
Kaupang, who has visited Dallas before, had the opportunity during a previous visit to see the spot in the schoolbook depository where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly shot the president.
So, when he made the trip this time he focused on other areas, including tracing the final path of Oswald to the theater where he was finally arrested.
“The 60s are my favorite time period in history to study,” said Kaupang, who is currently offering a contemporary studies course in the high school that focuses on that decade. “There was so much going on from the Cold War to civil rights that had such an impact on this country.”
Kaupang arrived in Dallas Nov. 21 and spent that day on Dealey Plaza, which for those who have any interest in the assassination, is the place to visit, said Kaupang.
“We just took it all in,” he said, adding there were quite a few people there taking pictures and talking.
Among the people Kaupang met was a retired Dallas police officer on duty that day.
“He said he was under cover that day,” said Kaupang, adding he was at the theater when Oswald was taken into custody. “He told me half of the police from that time believe Oswald did it on his own.”
Kaupang also spent time Friday at a conference where he heard speakers, including an intern who was on the scene when the autopsy took place.
While Kaupang does not consider himself the conspiracy theory type, the more he heard from the speakers the more questions about the final determination Oswald was the only shooter arose.
“I learned a lot,” said Kaupang, adding the medical speaker named Jim Jenkins is convinced the magic bullet theory does not hold up for many reasons, including the fact that the presumption the bullet entered the back of Kennedy’s head and then left his body could not have happened because the autopsy showed the bullet did not penetrate a membrane it would have had to break to travel through his head.
Kaupang talked with his students about his trip to Dallas after returning, adding the most important thing he wants his students to learn from this event is to think critically and not just accept what people say.
“There is a lot of shady information about the assassination,” he said, adding he knows though his research continues he is likely never going to find the truth.
He’s OK with that.