Shannon Spector on Growing Up With the JFK ‘Single-Bullet Theory'

He was not yet 6 years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas 50 years ago this week. But Shanin Specter has carried the nuances of the tragedy with him his entire life.

His father, the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, was then a young prosecutor selected to work as an assistant counsel on the Warren Commission, where he co-authored the “single-bullet theory.” It stated that the non-fatal wounds sustained by Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally were caused by the same bullet.

This was a crucial yet controversial theory because if the two men had been wounded by different bullets, it would lend credence to conspiracy theories that there was a second gunman — often rumored to be situated on the now infamous grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza. The Warren Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing Kennedy and that Jack Ruby acted alone in killing Oswald two days later.

This is the first major anniversary of the JFK assassination where the elder Specter, who died in October 2012, is not able to once again articulate his views on the subject. A name partner at one of Philadelphia’s best known plaintiffs personal injury law firms, Kline & Specter, Shanin Specter has enjoyed his own professional identity separate from that of his famous father. But with JFK assassination conspiracy theories still aplenty, Specter thought it would be cathartic to shares his thoughts in a recent article in the Daily Beast.

"I also miss my father and wish he was here for the 50th anniversary so he could explain how he came to his conclusions,” Specter said in an interview with the Philadelphia Business Journal on Friday. “Now my kids are being asked about it in school by teachers and classmates and then coming home and asking me, 'What’s this all about.' It’s bittersweet." Read more about Shannon Specter's recollections at

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