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The Day Kennedy Was Shot…

The Day That Changed The World…

What If You Could Change It? 

I must confess.  I have only read one novel written by Stephen King.  I have enjoyed many of the movies derived from his novels, but I just never cared to read any of his books.  I enjoy a good horror movie, I just don’t read books from that genre.  What a shame.

While wondering the aisles of my local Barnes and Noble this past November, I happened upon King’s latest novel 11-22-63.  The unusual title caught my attention.  I picked the book up and read the inside jacket.  The basic premise of the story idea sounded intriguing and with some hesitation, the book is 750 pages, I headed to the cashier.  I was excited about reading a King novel and even more anxious to see how this plotline would play itself out.  The story line presented endless possibilities to my imagination. (Note: there are no spoilers!)

From the author’s website: Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time. 

While reading the novel, I couldn’t help myself from thinking about events I would like to change if given the chance to go back in time.  There are some stipulations attached to this idea.  You can not go back in time and change something in our own personal life.  I’m sure there are many things we would like to change.  There would probably be fewer ex-wifes or ex-husbands banished from our timelines.  The decision to change careers could be erased.  The money lost in that bad investment would be back in your pocket. That night you had one to many drinks at the party and got behind the wheel to drive home could be erased.  However, that is not the question raised in this book.

If you could go back in time through a portal what national event would you change?

It would reason that most of us would like to change the outcome from September 11, 2001, a date that resonates with us just as 11-22-63 does.  However, I don’t know if it would be possible to stop a network of terrorists.  Unless you’re Jack Reicher, Mitch Rapp or Garbriel Allon.  In King’s novel, the goal is for one man (Epping) to stop another man (Oswald).  It would be impossible for one person to stop the entire network of terrorist and preventing the horrific events of 9-11 from every taking place.  You can not just march into the White House and warn the appropriate people.

Here in my homeland of Oklahoma, I’m sure there are many who would like to go back and stop Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols from blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City which caused the deaths of 168 people and injuring 800 more.  At the time, it was the worst domestic act of terror in the United States.  Seems the odds of stopping two men from their intended plans is not too far-fetched.

Earlier this month we celebrated Martin Luther King Day.  It would be gratifying to celebrate his birthday every January 15th with him still alive.  Thwarting King’s assassination seems possible for one  person to attempt with a realistic chance of success .  Who knows what the future would look like if a shot never rang out that day at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  The race riots that followed would be erased.  Imagine the beautiful speeches he had yet delivered.

For those seeking high adventure and dangerous odds maybe you prefer to go back in time to Nazi Germany and prevent Adolph Hitler from ever seizing power.  I imagine that, at some point in Hitler’s rise to power, it would have been possible to stop him.  What would the world look like today if the Holocaust never happened or World War II never took place?

Of course, maybe you are not interested in changing a national event or risking your own life to do so.  Maybe you prefer to go back in time for personal gain.  Imagine the money you could stockpile gambling on future sporting events where you already know the outcome!  Maybe you would like to beat Steve Jobs to the punch and take credit for all of his future inventions.  You could live like a King. Own your very own deserted island.

If you’re a music fan you could travel back through the portal to prevent Stevie Ray Vaughan from boarding that helicopter in East Troy, Wisconsin headed to Chicago.  Perhaps you try to prevent Jimi Hendrix from overdosing that night at the Samarkand Hotel in London.

The possibilities are endless.

Would you be willing to go back in time?  What national event would you go back and try to change?  Or would you rather time travel back through a portal for personal gain?