[10] You May Not Be the Same Zac Transcript

ZAC STUART-PONTIER: Check, check check. I am uh… just picked up the rental car. It’s a minivan, a red minivan. So I’m traveling in style. I’m headed back up to Acidalia for a final interview with Bill Klaber, my co-host.

I think he’s a little upset with me. He’s not - I don’t think he’s super excited about the way the series has been turning out, and more specifically maybe our relationship has been turning out. So yeah. I’m a little nervous about it, to be honest.

ZAC: Bill and I have been working on this podcast for the past 18 months. When we started, I didn’t know much about the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Bill was my guide. And now I’m in the car talking to myself.

ZAC: I don’t know, I mean...it was all new to me, you know? It was a journey. It was all this sense of discovery and learning about the case. And Bill has been so generous with his time and his contacts and his research.

You know I was believing this. I was believing this stuff. You listen to Lowenstein and you hear the evidence of the extra bullets and you listen to those tapes of Sirhan being hypnotized and all that stuff.

I mean, it’s really - difficult to buy the original story, and you can see the LAPD is not being totally honest about the official story so I can absolutely understand how you look at this and come up with a conclusion that there was a conspiracy. But.

Right now, I’m not willing to take that  leap of faith to believe that the government conspired to kill Robert Kennedy. I don’t believe it.

I mean I feel like I’m driving to like, a very religious person’s house and I’m going to try to convince them that God doesn’t exist.

I’m Zac Stuart-Pontier. This is the RFK Tapes. The final episode. Here I go. Jesus Christ. New York City is crazy, man. It’s a crazy place. Why anyone wants to live here.

ZAC: The first time I started to question Bill’s theory we were researching a new development in the RFK case: a recently discovered audio recording of the shooting at the Ambassador Hotel.

Obviously, if you could count the number of shots on this tape you could answer the question of how many guns were firing in the pantry that night.

ZAC: Where are we going right now?

BILL KLABER: We’re going to someplace in Arizona where’s there’s this guy who’s taken this audio tape.

ZAC: Bill and I went to Arizona to meet an audio engineer named Philip Van Praag, who has spent a lot of time analyzing this tape.

BILL: An audio tape of very poor quality and he’s taken this audio tape and then has applied new computer techniques to analyze sound and has apparently identified thirteen shot sounds, um, in this tape.

Um, and if that’s true, if that’s scientifically true, then it proves exactly the same thing that the door frames would have proved had they survived. And that’s two guns were firing. Um. We’ll see if he can convince us.

BILL: Hello Phil.

PHIL VAN PRAAG: How you doin?

BILL: Good, how are you?

VAN PRAAG: Feel good to get out of New York?  How you doin…

BILL: Alright.

VAN PRAAG: Pleased to meet you.

ZAC: Hello, I’m Zac.

ZAC: Van Praag was just the nicest guy. He took us inside his house, made us some coffee. And then he brought us into his lab, a giant temperature controlled warehouse.

BILL: This place is a museum. This is a museum of sound and audio and.

ZAC: Everywhere you looked was audio equipment.

VAN PRAAG: It’s an RCA it’s a portable radio. Weighs about 38 or 40 pounds.

ZAC: Different version of portable.

ZAC: After a quick tour Bill and I sit down with Van Praag to listen to the recording of the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

VAN PRAAG: Ok. When I hear it this way, I hear. And that’s eight, that would be eight shots by the way.

ZAC: The audio was captured by a reporter named Stanislaw Pruszynski.

VAN PRAAG: And unfortunately, Mr. Pruszynski did not have a recorder and microphone as nice as yours. He was using what I found to be a Telefunken 4 0 0 1.

Let me play just that part of it again and see if you catch that.

ZAC: So, I'm sitting there, leaning in, and I can barely hear the gunshots Van Praag describes.

I mostly hear chaos and screaming.

VAN PRAAG: So the first two shots are very very difficult to discern and if you're not looking for them with advanced means, there's no way that you can just hear them.

ZAC: Van Praag says he knew where to look for the first two shots because of what Karl Uecker said. Uecker had been leading Kennedy through the kitchen pantry when Sirhan Sirhan started shooting.

VAN PRAAG: Karl Uecker, the assistant maitre d, had at that point grabbed Sirhan's gun arm and hand and pinned that down onto the steam table. So there was about a second and a half pause after the second shot before the shots again commenced, you know, with his - this time with his arm pinned down.

ZAC: This is a big part of the conspiracy theory, that Sirhan only fired two shots at Kennedy before Uecker and others grabbed him. Then Sirhan fired the rest of his shots with his arm pinned to the steam table.

VAN PRAAG: So by shots three and four Pruszynski’s a little bit closer, and five and six he’s closer.

So shots seven and eight, that particular two shot grouping, or double shot as I call it.

ZAC: According to Van Praag, “double shots” are two shots so close together, they couldn’t have come from the same gun.

VAN PRAAG: There’s just no way a person can fire an iver johnson cadet 55s that rapidly. So that was further evidence.

ZAC: In the end Van Praag says he identified thirteen shots on the tape.

VAN PRAAG: So as far as my work, as far as my findings, my discoveries are concerned the principal finding is there had to be two shooters.

ZAC: Van Praag showed us some technical data. But basically, we had to take his word for it that he’d found these thirteen shots. Driving back with Bill I was skeptical, but Bill he wasn’t.

BILL: I have total confidence in the guy and I think what he found is rather remarkable. He one, knows what he was doing, put in a tremendous amount of effort to seek out the truth, and fuckin’ found the truth.

ZAC: You just buy it.

BILL. Yeah. He’s not -

ZAC: You’re the most trusting person in the world. How could you just buy it?

BILL: What? You think that guy just made that up?

ZAC: No, I… I’m more skeptical.

BILL: Did you see all - did you see all the audio equipment in that room?

ZAC: Yeah, so he’s got a lot of audio equipment.

Talking to Bill that day in the car knowing he’d heard the same tape I had just heard I started to suspect that he believed Van Praag because he wanted to believe Van Praag. And when I challenged him?

BILL: No! You’re out of your mind.

ZAC: Really? I’m out of my mind because I don’t believe that for sure that’s 100% accurate that that’s thirteen shots?

BILL: Yeah. I’m - I...yeah.

ZAC: Okay.

ZAC: I wanted to talk to someone else who’d analyzed the tape. So I called up this guy.

ZAC: Hi, is Philip Harrison there?

ZAC: Audio forensic expert, Dr. Philip Harrison.

ZAC: And so how many shots did you find on the tape?

PHILLIP HARRISON: I was happy to be able to kind of identify seven.

ZAC: Harrison says he found seven shots and a few possibilities for an eighth on the tape.

ZAC: So you’re also familiar with Philip Van Praag’s work on the case?

HARRISON: Yes, yep.

ZAC: He’s saying he’s finding many more shots. He’s saying thirteen.

HARRISON: Yeah.

ZAC: Um, is that possible?

HARRISON: It depends how you’re interpreting it. He’s not inventing sounds or creating sounds that aren’t there in the recording. There’s something there in the recording. He’s interpreting it as a shot and I’m saying it’s not a shot.

ZAC: And you - you said you found seven shots and also multiple candidates for an eighth shot.

HARRISON: Yeah that's on the basis of my understanding that it was given that Sirhan had fired all eight shots from his revolver.

Therefore you would expect to find eight shots on the recording and for seven of them...

ZAC: Harrison was looking for less than eight shots and found seven. Van Praag was looking for more than eight shots and found thirteen. I decided that I needed to talk to someone new, who wasn’t looking for anything.

TED: Can you hear me?

ZAC: Yeah, where are you?

TED: I’m in Greenpoint, sitting in the car, driving.

ZAC: I called my friend Ted, a very talented audio geek.  He knew nothing about the RFK assassination and promised not to Google it.

This is what he said about Van Praag's analysis.

TED: A little curious that he doesn’t use any spectrographic information.

ZAC: Talk to me like I don’t know what I’m talking about, because when you say things like that.

TED: When I say spectrographically, what I mean is you’re looking at the amplitude of all the frequencies.

ZAC: Ted brought up something called a spectrogram, a way to visually represent a piece of sound. Like a waveform but with more information.

TED: Can you pull that image up real quick.

ZAC: The image you sent me?

TED: Yeah.

ZAC: Ted made me a spectrogram of the Pruszynski tape.

ZAC: Okay I have it up.

TED: Ok, so do you see how there’s like in that image there’s darker parts and lighter parts?

ZAC: On the image I can see several bright vertical lines.

TED: So when you see those lines, that’s the gunshots. It’s so loud it’s reading on every part of the spectrum. It has a very short attack and very short decay and I count eight of them.

ZAC: I mean I don’t know if I see eight, I see seven.

TED: You see seven in there. When you listen to it, that scream - that line, that’s the scream, know what I mean?

ZAC: I’m shocked at how clear this was.

TED: Sure you could say that there’s other gunshot sounds in there I guess. The resolution is so low. The quality of the recording is so low. I could see that. I could also not see that. It’s just not enough to go on.

ZAC: Listening to Ted and after all the work I’d done, crisscrossing the country, examining evidence, interviewing witnesses. I began to realize something. That many of the people I talked to, people asking a lot of really good questions, many of them were looking for answers to confirm what they already believed.

JESSE WALKER: Yeah looking for clues. Yeah I mean it's just it's part of what we do as human beings is looking for ways to fill in the gaps in the signals.

ZAC: This is Jesse Walker. He wrote "The United States of Paranoia," a book that examines why people come to believe so strongly in conspiracies.

WALKER: Conspiracy theories have been around for as long as human beings have been living in societies with one another.

Conspiracy theories about Native Americans from the early settlers would be an early example of this. Yellow peril stories about Asian immigrants and so on. Salem witch trials, where someone in your own family might have been working for the devil and you didn’t even know it.

During the lead up to the Civil War. There are a whole lot of, on the one hand, Northern conspiracy theories about the slave power. And on the other hand Southern conspiracy theories about abolitionists, you know allegedly fomenting slave revolts and so on.

ZAC: Walker explains that human beings are hardwired to look for conspiracy theories.

WALKER: Number one, we are a pattern-seeking, story-telling creature. Uh, we want to try to make sense of the signals that are coming towards us and there are gaps in the signals, so we’re going to fill those in with stories. We’re going to look for patterns that explain what’s not there. And number two, we’re afraid of things. Sometimes we’re rationally afraid of things, sometimes we’re irrationally afraid of things. But when you combine fear with pattern-seeking, you’re bound to have people imagining fearful patterns. And number three, on top of that, sometimes people really do conspire.

Some conspiracies are real. Often conspiracy theories that are not true still have some sort of grain of truth, you know, that people are building from and extrapolating these larger ideas from. But even when there’s no truth at all to the theory, it can still tell you something true about the people who believe and repeat it.

ZAC: Check, check, check. Ok. I am in Acidalia. I’m driving on a tiny tiny road, trees stretch out on both sides. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m about the arrive at Bill Klaber’s house. We haven’t spoken in about a week. And we haven’t really spoken since we had a big argument. So. He knows I’m coming, I’m not going to surprise him. He’s agreed to have a final interview. Bill and I are going to talk about the case. I have a feeling of nervousness in the pit of my stomach.  It’s going to be fine.

ZAC: Hey Bill! What a beautiful day.

BILL: Yeah it is. No rain for a change, man. It’s been raining. I guess you know.

ZAC: Hello, hello.

BILL: Hey, hey.

We’ll probably have to turn off these fans, right? As far as the noise?

ZAC: Bill and I talk after the break.

[BREAK]



ZAC: Thank you for, uh, thanks for letting me come back to Acidalia and interview you.

BILL: Yeah. Jean had to go to town earlier but she said, “So, the mad prince is coming today?” I said, “Yeah, he’s coming. He’s gonna be here this afternoon sometime.”

ZAC: That’s my new nickname?

BILL: Yeah. I mean, she didn’t say the dark prince.

ZAC: The mad prince is - I’ll take it.

BILL: Yeah, I figured that’s ok.

ZAC: Um. Well, the first thing I want to say is thank you and I really, really mean that. For everything. I mean, for being my partner in this and for letting me into this world and for introducing me to everybody and I, uh, I really - I really appreciate it.

BILL: Well sure, you bet. Yeah. It, um. Yeah. This thing’s gone along. In a lot of ways - um, in some ways, it’s turned out a lot better than I thought. In other ways, I think - uh, we missed a few opportunities and  we could have done a better job in putting out the case, that there’s really some problems in this. And if there are no problems in this case, if it’s just the way the police said it was, then what’s the show about?

ZAC: Bill and I pick up right where we left off and start arguing about the case.

BILL: You know, we’ve had this argument before and one of the things you said to me was, “You can’t take all these things and look at them all at the same time.”

ZAC: Right.

BILL: And I said, “No, you have to do that,” because you take them individually like that and yeah, I can imagine Sirhan getting drunk and you know, he goes to his car and gets his gun and he’s there and all of a sudden this thing overcomes him and he thinks, “Oh my god,” and he shoots him. I can imagine that.

ZAC: Right.

BILL: Um, but I don’t know how he gets four bullets into the back of Bobby Kennedy when he’s not - when he’s in front of him.

ZAC: Sure.

BILL: I don’t know how he gets four bullets into the back of Bobby Kennedy when he fires his gun twice in Kennedy’s direction and then is wrestled down to the steam table.

That’s just what Karl Uecker said happened. He said, “The gun was right next to my face, it went off twice, I grabbed the guy’s arm, we went down on the table, and then he emptied his gun.”

ZAC: This is where Karl Uecker's account of grabbing Sirhan's gun arm after just two shots comes into play.

ZAC: But let’s - let’s imagine that we’re Karl - Karl Uecker in that moment. Right? I mean, that - like, so you’re at the hotel, it’s probably been a tense night, maybe it hasn’t, but there’s certainly tons of people there trying to get to Kennedy. He’s helping Kennedy off of the podium, he’s trying to keep people back, he has Kennedy by the - all of a sudden, there’s this guy who’s shooting and the whole thing is over in five or six seconds.

BILL: Yep.

ZAC: It’s - BANG BANG he’s, “Oh my god!” He’s shocked, he’s this, he’s that, he’s, “Get the guy, get the gun,” so to me it’s like, he’s gone through all that, he has blood on him, Kennedy’s dying on the ground, uh, he goes on television.

ARCHIVAL: What happened? What did you see?

UECKER: I brought him out. I brought him out...

ZAC: Moments after the shooting Uecker is in total shock. He keeps saying. I brought him out. I’m the one who brought him out.

UECKER: I’m the one who brought him out.

ARCHIVAL: What did you hear?

UECKER: A firecracker or something. I don’t know. Then on the second shot and the third shot and I grabbed him. Right on his neck.

ZAC: Here, Uecker says that he grabbed Sirhan after the third shot. And a few hours, later when he talks to the LAPD, he’s even less clear.

UECKER: First shot, second shot must have been one after another. He’s still shooting, then I hit his hand down. I don’t know how many times he shot, couldn’t even tell you. Four times, five times, six times.

ZAC: Then, a few years later, he’s talking to a journalist and has absolute confidence about what happened.

UECKER: I heard one shot and I thought it was a firecracker or something and I heard a second shot going off and then I realized I saw that gun. I pushed him down and I put him over the steam table and here Sirhan starts shooting very rapidly.

ZAC: And this is the version of Uecker’s story that gets repeated by conspiracy theorists. Sirhan got off two shots before Uecker grabbed his arm. But I point out to Bill that not everybody heard a pause after the second shot.  

ZSP: There’s probably maybe half, maybe even less of people who heard the two shots then the break. Most people actually hear firecrackers, not everyone hears that.

MAN: All of a sudden, I sounded what seemed just like four or five firecrackers.

WOMAN: All of a sudden, there was a rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat sound and it almost sounded to me like eight shots.

RAFER JOHNSON: I thought it was a balloon, the first pop, and then I heard three or four just one right after another.

BILL: Zac, we have a recording.

ZAC: Bill brings up the Pruszynski recording.

BILL: And now there is differences of opinion as to what that recording reveals. Does it reveal eight shots as some people say? Or does it reveal thirteen shots as some other people say, ok? No one listening to that tape disputes the fact that there were two shots, and then a pause, and then more shots. Everyone agrees to that.

ZAC: No, no I don’t think so.

BILL: Well, I do, because those first two shots are from Sirhan’s gun and they are loud and - well, I’m sorry, they’re not loud.

ZAC: No, the -

BILL: Yes?

ZAC: The reason that Van Praag was able to find those two shots is because he’s relying on the witness testimony of the two shots existing.

BILL: Yep, yep, you’re right on that.

ZAC: He sees a flurry of shots and he says it a lot, many times in his interview, “I would never have seen the other two shots if didn’t already know that these - that the other two shots existed.”

VAN PRAAG: After the second shot, Karl Uecker the assistant maitre d’ had at that point grabbed Sirhan’s gun arm and hand and pinned that down onto the steam table. So the first two shots are very, very difficult to discern, and if you’re not looking for them with advanced means there’s no way you can just hear them.

ZAC: It’s really hard to get anybody who’s been able to back up what he’s - To me at best it’s a bad recording and it’s a wash, at worst it’s like. He’s finding the gunshots because he thinks that they’re there, and it’s like a - it’s a bit of a confirmation bias. It’s like he’s using this other information - I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I don’t think he - I just think he’s using other information.

BILL: Yeah, I kind of - from spending time with him, I kind of disagree. I think he applied science and uh, he found what he found. And yes he had to look for those first two gunshots because they were buried.

I believe he’s an honest person and I think thirteen shots is what makes sense for me. You know you can say well maybe Phil Van Praag doesn’t know what he’s doing, maybe he’s dishonest, maybe he’s lying. But how does that get the bullets in the door frames?

ZAC: Finally we get to the extra bullets in the door frames.

ZAC: It’s like - when you tell me about weighing the evidence, it’s like, so -

BILL: Mhmm.

ZAC: On the one hand, you have to have - could the people be wrong about seeing bullets? Is it possible?

BILL: You know, every time there’s a witness who sees the bullets, you know, in the door frames or the the bullet holes, “Oh, maybe they didn’t see it right,” or “Maybe they just were being fooled by what Walter Tew thought he saw.”

ZAC: This is from Moldea?

ZAC: Investigative Journalist Dan Moldea discovered that the guy who identified the bullet holes in the doorframe was Walter Tew, a motorcycle cop.

MOLDEA: And so I was convinced that an uninformed person had originally marked this so-called bullet evidence and anybody who passed by those things thought that these were bullet holes.

ZAC: That’s not even worth considering in your mind?

BILL: What?

ZAC: That they might have been wrong.

BILL: All of them?

ZAC: Yeah.

BILL: Why do you - this is - this is an important murder case that they’ve supposedly done an excellent job on -

ZAC: They clearly didn’t do an excellent job. Like, we knew that. We know that they had...

BILL: Sure and the excellent job they didn’t do was destroying evidence and coercing witnesses and pretending things were true that were not true.

That’s not bumbling along. Destroying door frames, burning door frames that were thought to be important evidence - that’s not an accident. That’s not a bumble.

ZAC: What if that’s what it is? Like you don’t think that’s at least as possible as anything else? That -

BILL: No.

BILL: I think Moldea maybe slipped you a Mickey when you were down in Washington, I really do. I mean, because -

ZAC: Really?

BILL: Yeah. You know, and you don’t actually look the same, I think you may not be the same Zac that I started out with, it’s like -

ZAC: When I think back about my own journey through this, it feels interesting because I really was - I was ready to believe it, you know?

BILL: And now your disbelief hangs on a series of, “Is it possible? One chance in a hundred that they were wrong, whatever?” What about - we have the photograph of them looking at the bullet in the bullet hole.

ZAC: Right.

BILL: So where’s the report from the criminalist, DeWayne Wolfer, that says, “We took that piece of wood down and by golly, it was a snail. It wasn’t a bullet.” Or it was whatever. There’s no report. And there should be.

ZAC: Well there should be, but -

BILL: Ok, so -

ZAC: But is that a paperwork problem? Or does that mean there was a bullet there that he has to cover up?

BILL: That’s what it means. It was a bullet there that had to be covered up. Um, that’s the - that’s the most likely meaning of that.

ZAC: Maybe.

BILL: That’s a cover-up.

ZAC: Or, there wasn’t a bullet there.

Let’s say it wasn’t a bullet, and they didn’t write a report. Wouldn’t that look the same way?

BILL: Yeah. And you can do that with every single piece of evidence here. But you add it all up together and there’s an awful lot of coincidences of things that they should have done but they didn’t do and um, but the easier and more likely interpretation is they found a bullet there and they knew that bullet represented a second gun and they weren’t willing to go there.

It’s a complicated thing and if you look at it from the point of view of, “Who would bother to do that and isn’t there a better way to kill Bobby Kennedy?” Yeah they might be or this is the way they came up with. Certainly better than how they killed Jack.

BILL: But you know if you're rich enough and powerful enough to murder the President of the United States and you get away with it are you going to let his brother become President five years later? I don't think so. So in terms of do I know that's who it was? No, I don't know that, the evidence doesn't show who you know you can only suppose.

ZAC: It’s pretty clear that we aren’t going to get anywhere arguing about the facts of the case. Sitting next to each other in Bill’s study, we’re perhaps further apart than we’ve ever been and so we basically agree to disagree.

And Bill brings out some homemade lemonade.

ZAC: This looks great.

BILL: Might be a little tart. I put sugar in it but.

ZAC: Mm. Good.

ZAC: I ask Bill if he’s enjoyed working the case all these years.

BILL: There’s not a lot of good things that comes to you because of this. You stand up in a country like this and say you know the official version of how these important people died, really isn’t true. It’s not a lot of good things happen to you when you do that. So uhm, it’s not been a lot of fun in that regard. There’s a few people who I know and I’ve come to know in this investigation. Some really strong people, people who I trust and have high regard for. And I never met Allard Lowenstein and I wish I had, I felt like I was a child of theirs, and that I wanted to carry on what they carried on, and when you heard his voice. Allard Lowenstein when he spoke, he didn’t believe that there was a conspiracy to murder Robert Kennedy, he was a friend of Robert Kennedy. He didn’t believe it. How could that be? And then he saw the evidence and he changed his mind. And that’s the same thing that happened with Paul Schrade and that’s basically what happened with me. So Uhm. These are people who I think respect what I did. And that’s who I care about. I would hope that some of the million people listening out there would not think I’m a crackpot. But. In a way. The people who I care about know who I am.

ZAC: And then, I ask Bill about making this podcast.

ZAC: I hope you don’t regret - Do you regret doing it?

BILL: I don’t… um...

ZAC: Bill asks me to turn the recorder off. He’s done. And I get it.

ZAC: Check check. Well okay, I’m leaving Bill’s.

ZAC: I’ve had a fascination with this story since I was a little kid, driving around with my Dad listening to Bill’s voice on the radio.

YOUNG BILL: Good evening, I’m Bill Klaber, and tonight we’re going to take another look at the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Was Sirhan Sirhan as we were told, really a fanatical Arab nationalist, or was he as some think, a robot assassin. Did Sirhan even murder Robert Kennedy…

ZAC: And honestly things have not turned out like I thought they might.

So, before I return to the city, I'm going back to where it all started.

ZAC: Hey, Dad.

ZAC: My dad’s car.

DAD: Hello. Alright, where do you want to go? Just drive around?

ZAC: Yeah, you want to go to breakfast at that diner you like right over here?

DAD: Yeah we can do that.

ZAC: So do you remember like when Bill gave you that tape of The RFK Tapes?

DAD: It's not really. When you tell me, if you'd asked me about it I would have had no memory. When you tell me that he gave me a tape. I believe you but it wasn't that significant in my life.

ZAC: But do you have any memory of me like listening to it or being struck by it or anything like that?

DAD: No.

ZAC: No.

DAD: So it's funny because you know obviously, it was something significant and important to you.

To me who killed Robert Kennedy is not nearly as important as the fact that we lost an incredibly powerful leader in our country. I mean, I lived in that time when people were being shot that were - that would have changed history. The real story is Robert Kennedy. I mean, he’s amazing.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY: No one, no matter where he lives or what he does, can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed.

ZAC: Like a lot of people who lived through the conflict of the late sixties, my dad held out hope that his country divided by an unpopular war struggling over issues of race could find a hero who would offer peace. And that hero was Robert Kennedy. He connected and brought people together. He untied rather than divided. But he was gone too soon.

RFK: What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

ZAC: When I started this, my wife was pregnant. Now I have a young son. One day, when I share with him what I learned about Robert Kennedy it won’t be conspiracy theories about bullets in door frames.

RFK: Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation. And only a cleansing can remove this sickness from our souls.

ZAC: I’ll share with my son the legacy of the man and all that he stood for. And I’ll encourage him to look for his own heroes. Heroes like Robert Kennedy.

RFK: When you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies.

We must admit to ourselves that our children's future cannot be built on the misfortune of another's. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or by revenge.

And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again. Thank you very much.

Episode Credits

Crimetown is me, Zac Stuart-Pontier and Marc Smerling.
The RFK Tapes is made in partnership with Cadence 13.
The show is produced by Jesse Rudoy, Bill Klaber, and Ula Kulpa.
Austin Mitchell is our senior producer.
Editing by Marc Smerling. Fact checking by Jennifer Blackman.

This episode was mixed, sound designed and scored by Kenny Kusiak.
Additional music by John Kusiak.
Our title track is Maria Tambien by Khruangbin. Our credit track this week is “Abraham, Martin, John, and Bobby,” covered by Rosaleen Eastman. 
Music supervision by Josh Kessler and Dylan Bostick at Heavy Duty Projects.

Recording help by Donnie Carlo at WTMD in Towson, Maryland. 
Production assistance by Kevin Shepherd.
Our website is designed by Curt Courtenay.

Archival footage courtesy of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and the California State Archives.
Archival research by Brennan Rees.

Thanks to Emily Wiedemann, Jean Klaber, Greencard Pictures, Alessandro Santoro, Ryan Murdock, Max Miller, Ben Davis, Oren Rosenbaum, Ryan Nord, Judith Farrar, Elizabeth Benham, and the team at Cadence 13.

For more information on the Robert Kennedy murder, pick up a copy of Bill’s book, Shadow Play.
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