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JFK whodunit theories dissected by trio

River Falls dentist David Page holds up a gun of the same type that Lee Harvey Oswald used to shoot President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. . Page, a Kennedy enthusiast and amateur ballistician, explained some of his experiments with the gun during a presentation given last Wednesday at the public library. Page also shared the conclusions he reached about the shots fired at Kennedy. Shown behind Page is local barber Larry Bystrom. (River Falls Journal photos by Gretta Stark)

What do a local barber, dentist, and judge have to do with the events surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination?

Turns out the three — Larry Bystrom, David Page, and Ed Vlack — share an avid interest in the former president and his suspicious death.

The River Falls Public Library held two JFK programs last Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon in honor of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death.

Both began with time for visitors to view a large display of Kennedy memorabilia, including photos, books, and artifacts. All items on display were collected by Bystrom, Page and Vlack.

Wednesday’s program focused a little more heavily on conspiracy theories. Page was present at Wednesday’s program, and shared the results of his experiments with the rifle and how the results affected his theories.

While history books tell us that Lee Harvey Oswald probably shot Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, all three presenters suggested that someone else may have been behind the assassination. They shared their theories for who might have been behind the assassination.

“I’m sure Oswald was involved,” Vlack said. However, he said the evidence he’d found in his research leads him to believe someone else was also involved.

One suspect is the Mafia because the Kennedy Administration spent time and energy prosecuting mob bosses. Page said he highly suspected the mob was involved in the assassination.

Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby not long after he was arrested for the assassination.

Ruby, in turn, was sentenced to death, though the conviction was later overturned. As a new date for his new trial was being set, Ruby became ill and died from a blood clot related to his lung cancer.

“You have to be willing to trade your life for this job,” said Page, referring to someone trying to assassinate an American president.

Other suspects linked to the assassination include Fidel Castro and the Cuban government, because Kennedy sanctioned many attempts to have Castro assassinated; The Ku Klux Klan because of Kennedy’s civil rights work; and the oil industry.

The three presenters also discussed some inconsistencies in the evidence from the assassination.

For example, Kennedy’s autopsy was not performed in Dallas, even though Texas law required his body be autopsied before it was removed from the state.

Vlack, Bystrom and Page got their information from years of careful study of the Kennedy assassination, through reading books and the Warren Commission findings — the Warren Commission was the group appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to look into the assassination — and from watching video of the assassination. Page also gathered some information in a different way.

Page, a self-described amateur ballistician, said he spent 15 years finding a gun of the same kind as the one Lee Harvey Oswald used to shoot Kennedy.

Page brought the gun, a 6.5mm Carcano carbine, manufactured right alongside Lee Harvey Oswald’s, to the library as a part of the artifacts display. He also used it to help with his presentation.

While all three presenters shared their own theories about the assassination, they also encouraged their audience to examine the facts for themselves, do their own research, and make up their own minds about what happened.


While Page was not at Saturday’s presentation, his rifle was.

The authentic 6.5mm Carcano carbine, manufactured right alongside Lee Harvey Oswald’s, was part of Saturday’s display.

Also on Saturday, Bystrom again shared about his father’s up-close contacts with the president-to-be in 1960 as Kennedy spoke to residents on Main Street and visited what is now the South Fork Café (O’Brien’s at that time).

Vlack shared some things he has learned over the years about Kennedy.

Library event and gallery coordinator Katie Chaffee said Saturday’s event drew a very good crowd.