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In Los Angeles, Grief and Revulsion over Assassination

Nov. 22, 1963 - In Los Angeles this afternoon, grief and revulsion were the reaction to President Kennedy’s assassination. From Mayor to corporation executive to blue-collar laborer, the general response mixed a sense of deep loss with a welling up of indignation. “It would appear we’re going back to the days of the jungle,” said one young real estate dealer. “I didn’t agree with the man, but this sort of thing can’t be condoned.” A group of executives strongly opposed to Mr. Kennedy’s policies expressed shock and disgust. Most of the women and many of the men in an elevator wept as the news of the death was confirmed. Downtown banks, stores, and streets were alive with people carrying transistor radios and wearing dazed expressions for at least an hour after the news. “I have the kind of feeling that I had the morning of Pearl Harbor,” said Melvyn Rivkind, a public relations man. “This is a legacy of the hate that has arisen. Frankly, I feel pretty sick.” Mayor Sam Yorty called the assassination “an awful black mark” on the nation’s history and added: “Maybe the American people will stop and think about the hate groups who encourage this type of thing.” A salesman in a hotel bar said it more pungently: “It’s those flag-waving screwballs. They’re only about 10% of the population, but it’s people like them that cause this kind of thing. I’m a conservative, and I didn’t agree with him, but my God, he was our President.” A Negro shoeshine man shook his head sadly and said: “I feel like I’ve lost a real friend.” Flags were at half-staff minutes after the President’s death was verified.


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