My Conclusions Regarding the Kennedy Assassination

I. After watching at least six documentaries relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy since December 24 of last year, three of them dealing with the ballistics of the assassination, I think I am ready to come to some conclusions regarding whether Oswald was the lone gunman or not. I’m glad I wrote my post on the Kennedy assassin before I wrote this post, as launching into the matter of whether Oswald was the sole assassin without first examining his possible motives for the assassination would be a mark of folly. I have come to the conclusion that the most significant conclusion of the Warren Commission, namely, the Lone Gunman Theory, is essentially sound. This is directly contrary to the conclusions of Robert P. Murphy and Murray Rothbard, both economists whom I respect. The Lone Gunman Theory and its foundations are not all that difficult to understand. Three spent cartridges were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. The vast majority of witnesses at Dealey Plaza reported hearing three shots fired. According to the most widely held Lone Gunman Theories, including the Warren Commission’s, one of the three shots fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository missed. Both of the two shots that hit were accounted for in the form of Commission Exhibits 399 (the Single Bullet; see here for captions to Commission Exhibits in order to keep from becoming confused), 567, and 569. The Single Bullet (CE 399) and bullet fragments CE 567 and CE 569 (both part of the same bullet) were all confirmed to have originated from Lee Harvey Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, found near the staircase on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Thus, from even a cursory look, it is understandable why the Lone Gunman Theory was first proposed and expounded. As one of the three shots fired was stated by the Warren Commission to have missed, very many conspiracy theorists have criticized the Warren Commission-claimed trajectories of the two bullets that the Commission claimed hit their intended target: CEs 399 and 567/9.

II. The Single Bullet Theory is mainly criticized by conspiracy theorists for its low perceived prior probability. Even the doctor hired by the Discovery Channel to examine the injuries supposedly made by the Single Bullet concluded the injuries were most likely made by two bullets. The Discovery Channel, however, managed to replicate most of the Single Bullet injuries, the main differences between their results and the Single Bullet theory being that the Discovery Channel’s bullet hit two ribs instead of one, came out in a much worse state due to hitting two ribs instead of one, and did not embed in the simulated Connally thigh due to hitting two ribs instead of one. Also, Dale Myers, a computer animator, has shown that a Single Bullet trajectory from the Texas School Book Depository at Frame 223 of the Zapruder Film precisely matches both the back/neck wound of John F. Kennedy and the wounds on Governor Connally.

[Note: Copy and paste the above video’s URL in the form at http://pausehouse.com , click on the turtle, and use the triangular button that appears to go through the YouTube video frame by frame, especially at around the 2 minute, 30 second mark]

Governor Connally’s testimony is consistent with the Single Bullet Theory, but Governor Connally makes it clear that the Warren Commission was wrong in viewing the first shot as the one that hit Governor Connally. Rather, as Dale Myers and the House Select Committee on Assassinations have concluded, it is best to view the first shot as Oswald’s missed shot and as being fired at around Zapruder Frame 157, one frame before Kennedy rapidly turns his head. It is also best to view the Single Bullet as being fired by the second shot and as being fired at Zapruder Frame 223. Connally visibly winces and Connally’s collar clearly pops out at Zapruder Frame 224 and Governor Connally begins to slump over to the front by Zapruder Frame 226. According to Connally, he began to say “Oh, no, no, no” “immediately” when he was hit. In the Zapruder film, he clearly begins to say this at around Frame 235 or 236 and does so after a wince, a brief slump to the front, and a hat-swiping motion between Frames 223 and 235. This is best seen in the below rendering of the Zapruder film:

The hat-swiping motion is not inconsistent with Governor Connally having been hit in his right wrist before this motion-he was not aware of having been hit in the wrist or in his left thigh until he got to Parkland Hospital. Two-thirds of a second is not “immediately”, but it is fairly quickly. Connally seems to be saying “Oh, no, no, no” between Zapruder Frame 235 and about Frame 270 or maybe some frames before Frame 270. Contrary to the testimony of Governor Connally, Nellie Connally, his wife, testified that he was shot after he said “Oh, no, no, no”. This is apparently a mistake. Nellie Connally, who, unlike John, did not immediately recognize the sound of a rifle, likely did not hear Oswald’s first shot and thought Oswald’s second shot was the first shot. It is likely that she first recognized her husband was shot over two seconds after she first realized John Kennedy was shot, and, consequently, thought the second shot was between the actual second shot and the third shot. Jacqueline Kennedy forgot much of her experience at Dealey Plaza. According to her, her head movement in Zapruder Frames 170s-180s was caused by her hearing Governor Connally’s “Oh, no, no, no”, a scenario which is difficult to imagine, as Connally is not visibly hit in Zapruder Frames 170s-180s. Thus, Jacqueline Kennedy’s testimony should be seen as hopelessly misremembered. Thus, the testimony of the passengers of the vehicle carrying President Kennedy is not seriously damaging to the Single Bullet Theory. Combined, Dale Myers’s Zapruder Film-based computer modeling of the Single Bullet’s trajectory, John Connally’s testimony, and the simultaneous reactions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally in the Zapruder Film add up to good evidence for the Single Bullet Theory.

As for the condition of the Single Bullet, it is to be remembered that bullets of the same type as CE 399 can go through several feet of wood nearly unscathed.

III. The headshot from the rear at Frame 312 of the Zapruder film is rather easier to prove than the Single Bullet Theory. For this one, just copy-and-paste the below video’s URL:

into http://pausehouse.com , click on the turtle, pause the video, and use the triangular button that appears to observe the direction the “melon goo” goes from 30 seconds into the video. Then take a look at Zapruder Frame 313. I suspect the downward movement of Kennedy’s head between Zapruder Frames 312 and 313 was not directly caused by the bullet, but was a result of a neuro-muscular reaction to having one’s brain blown out. If you need anything more, then take a look at this analysis of potential (impossible) headshot from the front trajectories by Dale Myers. Then look at the X-rays of Kennedy’s skull and this drawing of his brain. Observe the location of the metal fragments in the X-rays. This X-ray of an experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location of the head wound is consistent with the cracks seen on the lateral X-ray of Kennedy’s skull, but is totally inconsistent with the locations of the metal fragments seen in the same X-ray. Thus, it appears to me very probable that Kennedy was shot in the House Select Committee on Assassinations’ location of the head wound.

The House Select Committee bullet trajectory (cyan) compared with the Warren Commission trajectory (magenta).
The House Select Committee bullet trajectory (cyan) compared with the Warren Commission trajectory (magenta).
The experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location with an actual curved and hypothetical straight trajectory depicted. Notice that almost all the metal fragments are below the bullet trajectory.
The experimental skull shot in the Warren Commission location with an actual curved and hypothetical straight trajectory depicted. Notice that almost all the metal fragments are below the bullet trajectory.

Note that the big hole in the middle-bottom of Kennedy’s post-mortem lateral X-ray that looks like a right eye socket is not a right eye socket, but is a less dense area of the brain surrounded by broken bone to its left (on the X-ray). This is shown by comparison with one of Kennedy’s ante-mortem lateral X-rays and examination of other people’s lateral X-rays.

If you have time, you could watch the below reenactment of the headshot from the rear by the Discovery Channel:

IV. The belief that John F. Kennedy was killed in some sort of conspiracy remains prevalent among the general public, though the Lone Gunman Theory is still the most widely accepted specific theory of the Kennedy assassination. The 9/11 attacks have also been subject to similar, though less widely accepted, conspiracy-mongering. Yet, the Oklahoma City bombing and World Trade Center bombings have had far less conspiracy-mongering surrounding them. I suspect this was because the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 attacks have had far more impact on world events and U.S. foreign policy, and, consequently, far more opportunity for people to benefit, than the World Trade Center or Oklahoma City bombings in the 1990s. It is notable that both the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks resulted in unusually long undeclared wars against surprisingly difficult-to defeat insurgents in corrupt, undemocratic states which could not survive without U.S. military assistance. Perhaps it is disillusionment with these wars that resulted in the growth of John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11 conspiracy-theorizing. Oswald, after all, was hardly a big beneficiary of the Kennedy assassination, and, unlike Timothy McVeigh, never publicly stated his motives for his killing. The public is right to ask “cui bono?”. Yet, in its assumption of greater interests behind Oswald’s plans than those of Oswald himself, most of the general public remains blind to these simple facts: the vast majority of witnesses at Dealy Plaza heard three shots, three spent cartridges were found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, and Oswald was not known by those acquainted with him to have had any co-conspirators either in his assassination attempt on Edwin Walker or in his assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy.

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My Thoughts On the Kennedy Assassin

Over December 24 and 25, on the recommendation of Gary North (whom I respect, despite his theocratic inclinations), I viewed the latest version of the two-hour PBS Frontline documentary Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?. The documentary is, as is typical of Frontline, very professionally presented. The interviews with persons who knew Oswald are especially useful at revealing Oswald’s nature and political beliefs. After viewing the documentary, I looked at some of Oswald’s personal political writings as presented by the Warren Commission. The writings reveal a man who was clearly disillusioned with Soviet Communism, but continued to oppose publicly traded companies and unequal ownership of business. Oswald’s public pronouncements were consistent in his opposition to Soviet Communism, but they clearly display Oswald’s support for the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba. Indeed, Oswald contradicted himself in the above-linked to interview, saying “We do not support the man“, yet later saying “Quite the contrary, we believe that it is a necessity in supporting democracy to support Fidel Castro and his right to make his country any way he wants to.“. All the evidence I have seen indicates Oswald’s opposition to capitalism and support for Castro was sincere. Indeed, there is evidence Castro had some foreknowledge of Oswald’s attempt to assassinate Kennedy, and not just from Warren Commission Document 1359. Whether Castro’s allegation that the Kennedy assassination must have required at least three gunmen to complete in time and that the Kennedy assassination was most likely done by Castro opponents is mistaken or deliberately made up is uncertain. The Cuban government would certainly have had no problem with a Kennedy assassination, as it tried to orchestrate one of its own creation in 1962 –it wasn’t exactly the smallest risk-taker on the planet. The only person besides Kennedy Oswald tried to kill was Edwin Walker, a Bircher. Oswald also seems to have communicated this assassination attempt to Cuban intelligence. As Oswald left his wedding ring behind on the day he shot Kennedy, and the Cuban embassy was the first place known to us where he communicated his intention to kill Kennedy, it appears likely that Oswald’s plan after his assassination of John F. Kennedy was to go back to the Cuban embassy in Mexico, whether on the week he shot Kennedy or some time later. The most likely motives I can think of for Oswald’s assassination of Kennedy are to improve U.S.-Cuban relations and to convince the Cuban government that Oswald was a useful friend of theirs that they should allow into Cuba. In any case, the Kennedy assassination may have saved Castro’s life -Lyndon Johnson “abandoned the objective of Castro’s overthrow” (here, p. 177).