The man who did not kill JFK

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In a few weeks a noteworthy anniversary will arrive: fifty years since the election of John F. Kennedy as president of the United States.

Much will be made of the fact that half a century has passed. Photographs of the young president and his family will be republished, retrospective essays will be written. Inevitably, as the Kennedy years are freshly examined, the name of the assassin Lee Harvey Oswald will be mentioned in the context of what might have been, if only Kennedy's path and Oswald's never had intersected.

But there is another name that you have likely never heard: a man who might have changed history as drastically and irrevocably as Oswald did. Kennedy was elected in November 1960; a month later, this man came very close to making sure that Kennedy never served a single day in office.

His name was Richard Pavlick.

Pavlick came much closer to killing Kennedy than most news reporters realized at the time. He was arrested in Palm Beach on December 15, 1960, in a car loaded with sticks of dynamite. Kennedy; his wife, Jacqueline; his daughter, Caroline; and his son, John Jr., were staying in the Kennedy family mansion in Palm Beach, preparing for the inauguration the next month.

Because Pavlick didn't get near Kennedy on the day he was arrested, the story was not huge national news. The announcement of his arrest coincided with a terrible airline disaster in which two commercial planes collided over New York City, killing 134 people, and that was the story that received the banner headlines and led the television and radio newscasts.....

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