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Mixed Reactions to Oswald Killing in New York

Nov. 24, 1963 - A few in New York City said “good” today after Lee Harvey Oswald was fatally wounded in Dallas, but most in the city were horrified as well as mystified by the act. “It just doesn’t seem like America this weekend,” said a New York lawyer, Thomas O’Brien, strolling through Grand Central Terminal. “If this happened in Russia, Cuba, France, Argentina — anyplace else — we’d be saying, ‘That’s typical.’ And when police protection should be at its utmost! It goes back to the lynch states of the wild West.” Many citizens were disappointed in the death of Oswald because now, they said, they might never know what motivated him in killing President Kennedy. “Did Oswald really do it alone, or was this guy an accomplice who shot Oswald so he’d keep quiet?” was another question many asked. There was disgust with the quality of protection given Oswald. A postal employee, Anthony Jacona, asked, “How come they can protect a guy like Joe Valachi, but they let the whole world know where this Oswald was going?” For every three persons who expressed regret today over the lawlessness that took Oswald’s life, there was one person who condoned the act. Their reactions ranged from “Oswald should’ve been shot 15 times” (John Aruta, a barbershop worker) to “It’s great, it’s tremendous” (Ivan Gottlieb, college student) to “Oswald had it coming” (Charles Sley, candy dealer). “I think we all thought of killing this man,” said a truck driver, Charles Winnick. “But we all know that we wait for the authorities to investigate and take care of such men.”

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