In general I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. A good historian learns that, in regard to controversial events, the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be accurate. I long ago took to heart Napoleon’s maxim that you should not blame on hidden machinations what can be more readily explained by incompetence.
Yet, as the ebullient Murray Rothbard used to point out, there really are conspiracies—history is full of them. And in regard to political assassinations, the “lone nut” theory is often less plausible than conspiracy—especially when it is in the interest of the controllers of state power to obscure the truth. They are always more inclined to favorable spin than to truth and justice.
Of course, obscuring the truth is now standard defense practice in criminal proceedings, so that there is always doubt in the most open-and-shut cases. This is something that ideological federal judges devoid of common sense have made routine, although, unlike most criminal defendants, James Earl Ray never enjoyed the benefit of raising red herrings before his guilty verdict. Deception is also the regular stock-in-trade of politicians, bureaucrats, and judges even before they are caught with their pants down and their pinkies in the till.
Contrary to general assumption, James Earl Ray was never convicted of the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr., by...