Here’s a mini story I wrote to cash in on the release of the #JFKFiles . Most of you will have seen this image. It’s deservedly famous, and it won a Pulitzer. It shows the moment Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald and spawned a thousand conspiracy theories.
The guy on the left, in the cool tan suit and big white hat, is detective Jim Leavelle. He becomes a national hero, tours the world. He wasn't an asshole or a glory-hunter, but everyone wanted to talk to him about that day, and he was a charismatic guy, so he became famous.
Seconds after the shooting he realised Oswald wasn't going to make it, and asked the dying killer whether there was anything he wanted to say in his last moments. But there was no last minute confession, so Jim's achievements on the day weren't exactly earth-shaking.
His buddy, on the other hand, was the very definition of a hero. The man standing behind Ruby in the iconic image is a police officer called LC Graves. You can only see his black hat, but it was Graves who wrestled the gun out of Ruby's hand as the killer tried to keep shooting. We don’t know whether Ruby was trying to make sure of Oswald, or gun down everyone around him, but there’s no doubt Graves risked his life to stop bullets flying into the crowd outside the police station. Graves was a quiet guy, standing in the right place to do something important, but the wrong place to be famous so you've never heard of him.
The moral of this story is clear - If you want to be famous, wear a cool suit and make a lot of noise. Not sure about the hat.