Sunday, November 22, 2009

The JFK Assassination in History


Want to know how the JFK assassination will be remembered by history?

Here’s what a concerned citizen wrote ten days ago:

“The controversy surrounding JFK`s assassination will go on forever as long as the government stonewalls on its release of every bit of information still sealed and as long as they continue to employ individuals to counter any new conspiracy information and label those of us who continue to believe in a conspiracy as ‘nuts.’

“There are too many loose ends, hundreds of them. Oswald`s time frame from the book depository to his apartment, the police car outside of his apartment, possible shots being fired from the storm drain in Dealey Plaza, the single bullet theory, and on and on.

“I will not live to see the truth revealed in my lifetime, but I hope a new generation of researchers continue to carry the torch in the name of truth.”

Very inspiring. If only it were true.

The idea that the government is sitting on information that will completely change what we know about what happened in Dallas 46 years ago today may be very popular with the general public, but it has nothing to do with reality as anyone who has spent any significant time with the millions of pages of documents which have long been available.

James Sibert, the 91-year-old retired FBI agent who sat in on the Kennedy autopsy, recently told the news that he doubts that there are anymore secrets to be unearthed.

“After 46 years,” Sibert said, “there couldn’t be.”

The notion that the government “employs individuals to counter any new conspiracy information” may also be popular among the fringe conspiracy crowd but is laughably implausible. Most of the men and women working for today’s CIA, FBI and other assorted intelligence agencies weren’t even born when Kennedy was killed in Dallas. What stake do they have in the big cover-up and conspiracy?

Most of them grew up on the same conspiracy theories you did and no doubt would jump at the chance to reveal the “truth” about the big dark secret supposedly kept hidden by their predecessors – men who have been, for the most part, long dead in their graves.

Instead of common sense, we’re bombarded yearly with the many loose ends, strange coincidences, and titillating factoids that make up the great “unsolved mystery” of our time.

Oddly enough, the loose ends often cited aren’t loose or mysterious at all. Take the few mentioned above:

“…Oswald’s time frame from the book depository to his apartment…” There’s no mystery here and never has been that I’m aware of. There has been a lot of discussion about whether Oswald had time to get to the shooting scene of Officer J.D. Tippit after he left his apartment, but the evidence (both physical and eyewitnesses) is overwhelming that he murdered Tippit, making the debate rather moot.

“…the police car outside his apartment…” This is a reference to the testimony of Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper at Oswald’s rented room, who told investigators that a police car honked its horn outside the house during the brief period Oswald was in his room arming himself with the pistol he would use to murder Tippit less than a quarter hour later. Mrs. Roberts testimony about her claim was contradictory and unsupported. I know a lot of conspiracy folks like to believe it was Tippit’s squad car out in front of Oswald’s room or another police vehicle driven by Oswald’s confederates, or worse, his potential murderers, but there’s nothing in the record to suggest or support such beliefs.

“…possible shots being fired from the storm drain in Dealey Plaza…” This loose end survives only in the far-out conspiracy publications having been debunked years ago when it was determined that anyone foolish enough to try to assassinate Kennedy from the storm drain when he drove by wouldn’t have the necessary angle on his intended target.

“…the single bullet theory…” Ah, yes; the magic bullet. The only thing magical about the single bullet debate is that otherwise intelligent people can believe that a high powered rifle bullet, traveling at over 2000 feet per second, could penetrate the soft flesh of Kennedy’s right-upper back and throat and vanish! That’s what conspiracy theorists are forced to believe by rejecting the Warren Commission’s idea that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and struck Governor Connally seated in front of him. How magical is that?

The majority expert opinion (the one presented by the 1964 Warren Commission and endorsed by the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations) found that a bullet passing through Kennedy’s upper-right back and throat would continue on and strike something or someone in the car. When it was determined by investigation that no damaged to the car could be attributed to a bullet traveling at nearly 2000 feet per second and that the only other person struck by a bullet (Connally) was seated directly in front of Kennedy, the experts came to the crazy conclusion that the wounds to Kennedy’s back and throat and the wounds to Connally were caused by a single bullet. What’s so hard to believe?

The only people still on the fence about the single bullet debate are those ignorant of the facts or those willing to believe that a high-powered rifle bullet can vanish into thin air.

Accepting fiction for facts has become far too commonplace in the Kennedy assassination debate; hence the perpetuation of the myth of the big conspiracy.

Earlier this month, Dartmouth College’s Hany Farid, a pioneer in the field of digital forensics and the director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth, revealed the results of his digital analysis of the infamous backyard photograph showing Oswald holding a rifle in one hand and Marxist newspapers in the other. After analyzing the photo with modern-day forensic tools, Farid said the photo almost certainly was not altered.

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) came to the same conclusion 31 years ago.

Conspiracy advocates James Fetzer and Jim Marrs fired back in a one-sided, 8-page dissertation published on the Internet’s OpEdNews, a left wing website with a left wing perspective.

According to Fetzer and Marrs, Farid is all wet because his analysis failed to take into account the many opinions of the conspiracy crowd who too have analyzed the backyard photos and found them to be fakes.

Fetzer and Marrs never bother to even mention that the HSCA looked into the conspiracy crowds’ complaints in 1978 and found them wantonly lacking until the end of their rant; instead relying on long dead allegations that on close examination have been found to be empty of substance.

It’s no surprise to this writer that the Fetzer and Marrs op ed piece fails to deliver the goods given the fact that they can’t even get the basic facts of the assassination right, writing that “according to the official version of the assassination, Oswald was firing at a target moving laterally and downhill away from him with tree branches obscuring the line of sight.” [emphasis added]

Huh? The Kennedy limo was moving directly away from Oswald’s perch (not laterally) at the time of the shots and while tree branches obscured Oswald’s vision for the briefest of moments all of the shots were fired either before or after the limo passed under the tree. I guess these facts are a little too inconvenient for print.

Tonight and tomorrow, assassination buffs will be treated to three new television specials: Did the Mob Kill JFK? [8 p.m. EST Sunday on Discovery Channel], JFK: The Ruby Connection [9 p.m. EST Sunday on Discovery Channel] and The Lost JFK Tapes: The Assassination [9 p.m. EST Monday on National Geographic Channel].

Television long ago discovered that the Kennedy assassination is a goldmine for viewers and advertising so don’t expect them to “solve the big mystery” and kill the golden goose.

At the end of the day, we’re reminded of the many lives that were changed suddenly and forever by the shots that rang out in Dallas over four and half decades ago.

Now if only history and the American people could come to terms with the real truth about Oswald’s terrible deed.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I just had to laugh when I saw that, in an article where you attack the intellect of those who question the Single Bullet Theory, you quoted Agent Sibert as authoritative about their being no chance for future significant revelations, yet in the bio you posted just one post earlier, Sibert explicitly rejects the SBT!

Ya gotta admit, that's definitely a chutzpah.

FWIW, I personally don't reject the SBT out of hand, precisely because it's perfectly logical for a bullet to traverse 2 people sitting in a line. However, it's also perfectly logical for a bullet not to pass through more than one person.

One scenario out of many: the 1st shot lost momentum going through twigs and leaves, and therefore didn't exit JFK. Don't forget that Agent Sibert was one of at least 2 present at the autopsy who claimed that the doctors found no exit for the back wound.

Another scenario that is similar to but different from the SBT would be shot #1 going through JFK and Connally's chest, leaving fragments in both victims and the limo. Shot #2 then hits Connally's wrist and then into the thigh.

Why seek to reject the SBT? The obvious reasons are that expert testimony during the Warren Commission proceedings noted that CE399 didn't lose as much material as was found in the two victims, and that the same experts couldn't accept so little warping in a bullet that is purported to have done so much damage.

But whatever really happened, it's important to remember that the only reason the WC invented the SBT was because they didn't believe there could have been two shots between Z200 and Z226, which are the frames that seem to show JFK and then Connally reacting. But in point of fact, the Carcano can be fired within 1.5 seconds after much practice. And some say that shot #1 could have been at Z190, making the feat all the more doable. And since the Tague bullet was probably only a fragment, there's really no problem asserting 3 shots in 6 seconds, each shot hitting 1 or more targets. (The above assertion does not negate the possibility of more shots, silencers, blanks, concurrent motorcycle backfires, etc.)

One last small observation that I haven't found elsewhere: the high winds in Dealey Plaza on 11/22/63 may well have moved the branches of the intervening oak tree far enough and long enough to allow for an unimpeded shot before Z224.


Dale K. Myers said...

Whats so funny, Robert? Agent Sibert believes there are no new secrets to be discovered in the Kennedy case, discounts the single bullet theory, and doesn't reject the idea of a conspiracy out of hand. Everybody has an opinion, but opinions aren't facts.

I cited Sibert's opinion on "no new secrets" because I happen to agree. I discount his opinion on the single bullet theory because I happen to disagree.

Sibert's testimony regarding his observations on the night of the autopsy does not discount the autopsy findings, nor has Sibert offered anything in the four decades since that calls into question the autopsy findings or the single bullet theory.

Your own scenarios too lack credibility.

In one version, you suggest that the first shot "lost momentum going through twigs and leaves" and therefore didn't exit Kennedy's body. This scenario ignores basic ballistic principles, fails to acknowledge that Kennedy was struck in the back after the limousine had emerged from underneath the intervening oak tree, and doesn't address the fact that no bullet was found in Kennedy's body.

In another scenario, you suggest that one shot passed through Kennedy and Connally "leaving fragments in both victims and the limousine" and that a second shot hit Connally in the wrist and thigh. This scenario ignores the fact that no appreciable bullet fragments were found in either Kennedy's back and neck or in Connally's chest, and that no spent bullet or fragments attributable to your first shot scenario were ever found in the limousine.

Credible scenarios require credible facts. In both instances, the facts are against you.

You further claim that experts testified that the alleged single bullet (CE399) "didn't lose as much material as was found in the two victims, and that the same experts couldn't accept so little warping in a bullet that is purported to have done so much damage." In fact, the opposite is true - fragments recovered from Kennedy and Connally did not add up to more than was missing from CE399 and the damage done to CE399 was in keeping with the path and type of wounds produced in both victims.

Your assertion that the Warren Commission "invented" the single bullet theory "because they didn't believe there could have been two shots between Z200 and Z226" is equally false. While the single bullet theory explains why only one shot was fired during the Z200-226 interval, the primary question being addressed was - What happened to the bullet that struck Kennedy in the upper-right back and exited his throat?

Facts are inconvenient things when it comes to those who discount the single bullet theory.

It would be refreshing to see a credible, alternative, single bullet scenario that takes into account the basic facts of the Kennedy case.

It's been forty-six years and so far, no one has offered one. I suspect it's because there isn't one.

Anonymous said...

What's so funny, you ask? It's that you don’t just disagree with those who reject the SBT, you hold the knowledge and/or intelligence – and hence reliability – of those very people in contempt. To wit, you said, "The only people still on the fence about the single bullet debate are those ignorant of the facts or those willing to believe that a high-powered rifle bullet can vanish into thin air." Now inasmuch as Sibert rejects the SBT (he's not even on the fence), it follows that you find him to be either incapable of telling when he needs to gather more facts, or else completely daft. So for you to then quote Sibert's opinion in your defense on any issue relating to the assassination is, shall we say, a bit inconsistent. Now I happen to find such inconsistency funny. Maybe you don't; that's OK. BTW, when you write that, "The idea that the government is sitting on information …has nothing to do with reality", you are clearly presenting opinion as fact. So despite your desire to differentiate between fact and opinion, I see the blurring of the two as a problematic tendency in your analyses.

Regarding my alternatives to the SBT, you made 5 major contentions:
1. A bullet losing momentum by hitting live leaves and twigs "ignores basic ballistic principles"
2. Kennedy was struck in the back after the limousine had emerged from underneath the intervening oak tree
3. No bullet was found in Kennedy's body
4. No appreciable bullet fragments were found in either Kennedy's back and neck or in Connally's chest.
5. No spent bullet or fragments attributable to your first shot scenario were ever found in the limousine.

Here are my responses in order:
1. What are these "basic ballistic principles" that preclude a bullet from losing momentum after hitting intervening objects?
2. After much review of the Dealey Plaza witnesses, I am satisfied that the first shot heard was around Z-197, and that this shot (or else an inaudible one very close to it) hit Kennedy. The most compelling observation is that the 1st shot was clearly well before the limo's position at Z-224-6, yet NO witnesses said that after the 1st shot, Kennedy kept waving, and then only stopped waving after a 2nd shot. It's inconceivable to me that on one of the few points that there is unanimity, the witnesses are wrong. But if it makes you feel better, the strong winds in Dealey Plaza that day may well have moved the branches enough to allow the limo to emerge much earlier than the original FBI estimate.

To be con't...

Anonymous said...

CE399 may have fallen out of Kennedy's back. Without getting into all of the worthy evidence of another bullet being found (the best being the 2 FBI reports of a bullet arriving at its lab at 7:30pm, yet a bullet still being in transit at 9:20pm), it is possible that if Connally was hit by a separate bullet, it may have fragmented, with some fragments being found, and others either flying into the street and getting picked up by car tires, or else getting lost in the shuffle at Parkland.
4. I find it odd that you would focus on the lack of fragments in JFK's neck and Connally's chest. The problem is the sum of all of the fragments versus the loss in CE399, especially those from or left in Connally's wrist and thigh. Here's a short review of key WC testimony:
Lt. Col. Finck, one of the three experts at the autopsy, was asked by Specter if CE399 could have inflicted all of Connally’s wounds. He replied, “No; for the reason that there are too many fragments described in that wrist.” Commander Humes explained : “The reason I believe it most unlikely that this missile could have inflicted either of these wounds [thigh or wrist] is that this missile is basically intact; its jacket appears to be intact, and I do not understand how it could possibly have left fragments in either of these two locations… X rays taken there [of the thigh] are described as showing metallic fragments in the bone, which apparently by this report are still present in Governor Connally’s thigh: I can’t conceive of where they came from this missile.” And finally, Dr. Robert Roeder Shaw of Parkland Hospital told the WC, “The examination of the wrist both by X ray and at the time of surgery showed some fragments of metal that would make it difficult to believe that the same missile could have inflicted those two wounds. There seems to be more than three grains of metal missing …in the wrist.”
5. There's 1 spent bullet and plenty of fragments already acknowledged. There's also solid evidence of even more fragments in the official record. And how many fragments got innocently lost we'll never know. There's no inherent contradiction between the ballistic evidence as it stands and a 1st shot scenario.
Re why the Warren Commission came up with the SBT, after reviewing an interview with Arlen Specter, the WC testimony of Commander Humes, and especially the WC's conclusion that the SBT is not essential to their findings, I'm actually going to agree with you that the SBT was not an a priori attempt to avoid acknowledging a rapid fire event. From the WC's perspective, the SBT was just one way to try to bring all of the evidence together, and they too acknowledged that the theory has its problems, specifically Connally's testimony and "certain other factors". I can only surmise that amongst those "factors" is the huge problem of the angle between the actual back wound (i.e. not where Gerald Ford moved it) and the throat wound, and the problem that JFK seems to react to a hit well before Connally does. But then again, I don't reject the SBT out of hand. However, I do definitely question its viability.

Final part coming up...

איל said...

And finally, you wrote:

"It would be refreshing to see a credible, alternative, single bullet scenario that takes into account the basic facts of the Kennedy case."

In an incredible event, you're not likely to get simple, "credible" scenarios. That's why there's so much controversy regarding each explanation. Any attempt to solve one problem inevitably exposes a different problem. I happen to find the witness testimony and Zapruder film compelling enough to view the SBT as too problematic, theoretically possible as it may be.
Nevertheless, you're right that it would be nice to see a well-thought-out double bullet theory (DBT – did I just coin a new phrase?). Actually, it'd probably be best to refer to a multiple projectile theory (MPT). To be honest, I've spent my research time trying to make sense of the DPW testimony, so this will be my first attempt to provide an alternative theory that avoids the pitfalls of the SBT. Here goes.

Shot #1 is fired at about Z-197 by either LHO or a sniper standing directly behind LHO. If there's a 2nd shooter, this sniper is either Mac Wallace or whoever left the famous unidentified sniper's lair fingerprint. This bullet lodges in JFK's back, either because it is from a low power weapon, or else the bullet has hit intervening matter. This bullet may be CE399, or another bullet that falls out while JFK is being transferred from the limo to the hospital, and is either never found, or gets lost or hidden at a later point.
LHO now fires bullet #2 at about Z-226 and hits Connally. This may be a "miss", or as Malcolm Kilduff suggested, LHO's revenge for Connally refusing to reverse his undesirable discharge. Be that as it may, this bullet might be either CE399 or the bullet that Connally said he heard drop out when he was first being dealt with by nurses in Parkland. A completely different scenario for this juncture: the bullet is compromised after hitting Connally's ribs and breaks apart after hitting his wrist, with the base ending up in the limo, another fragment penetrating the thigh, and other fragments spraying around, possibly hitting the chrome by he rearview mirror, the windshield (it would be nice to see a clear blow-up of the windshield in Altgen's #5), and most interestingly, JFK's throat. Since the creation of the throat wound is thus far ignored if bullet #2 remains intact, the wound may have been created by a small piece of jettisoned scalp at Z-313.

Please remember that I do not claim to have researched the ballistics that would be involved here. The above is only an attempt to reconcile the witness testimony and disparate reaction times of Connally and JFK.


Dale K. Myers said...

I can appreciate your passion and zeal for the subject, Robert, however, you couldn't be more wrong about my views or the assassination in general - something I find typical of the conspiracy crowd.

I'll keep this short, as I don't intend to debate this subject at length in this blog or address each and every one of your points.

First, you wrote that " don’t just disagree with those who reject the SBT, you hold the knowledge and/or intelligence – and hence reliability – of those very people in contempt..." That's your characterization and one that is completely false.

Disagreeing with someone on any subject doesn't necessarily equate with contempt, Robert, it simply means there is a disagreement. I find your effort to recast my opinion as 'contempt' to be much more revealing of your own passions for the subject - which unfortunately get in the way of clear thought.

You also wrote: "What are these 'basic ballistic principles' that preclude a bullet from losing momentum after hitting intervening objects?" when you must know that I was questioning your own theory that the "1st shot lost momentum going through twigs and leaves." I'm not talking about any old intervening object. I'm talking about your suggestion that twigs and leaves would cause a significant loss of momentum thus resulting in a bullet that penetrated Kennedy's back only to stop after a few inches. It seems to me that you don't have a clear understanding of basic ballistic principles and that's what I wrote. Even more important, how does a bullet that has loss momentum from striking an intervening object enter Kennedy's back perpendicular to the surface of the skin? Answer: It doesn't. The condition of Kennedy's back wound shows he was struck by a bullet that had not struck any intervening object. Those are the facts. Where does that put your argument about lost momentum? Better yet, why are we even talking about it? (These are rhetorical questions. I don't expect a response. Just give it some thought.)

I could spend another hour and hammer each and every one of your arguments, but frankly, it's all been done before and I have little patience for those who can't seem to acknowledge the factual record in this case.

I believe your last paragraph says it all: "Please remember that I do not claim to have researched the ballistics that would be involved here. The above is only an attempt to reconcile the witness testimony and disparate reaction times of Connally and JFK."

Therein lies the problem, Robert. Like so many before you, you fail to put any weight on what is real - the reality of the physical world, how it works, and the indisputable evidence that it leaves behind - and instead put great faith and passion into eyewitness testimony and interpretations of the filmed record, which can only result in subjective opinion.

If you start with what is real, you'll have a better chance of coming to terms with what happened in Dallas. Good luck in your quest for the truth.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dale,

It's a shame we got into a bit of posturing because honestly I prefer to discuss the issues as objectively as possible, without any hint of ad hominem attacks. Just to clarify, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I enter the JFK debate as someone fascinated by the very issues that forced the Warren Commission to publish such a long report, and to openly leave so many questions unanswered.

I also agree with you that I am not qualified to properly debate ballistics issues. However, I do believe there are questions about the witness record which ultimately influence what shooting sequence scenarios are reasonable.

So please answer just one question. Your position is that there was a shot about Z-158 that missed, and then about Z-224 that hit. That's over 3.5 seconds. How do you explain that not a single witness described JFK as waving for 3.5 seconds until there was a second shot?

There are other major witness problems to discuss (motorcade witness positions, the SS agents said they turned around after shot #1, SA Youngblood jumping on LBJ quickly, etc.), but first address the question of no witness support for the scenario of JFK waving for 3.5 seconds afer the 1st shot.


Dale K. Myers said...

I told you, Robert, that “…I don't intend to debate this subject at length in this blog or address each and every one of your points…” and your promise to play nice if I climb back into your sandbox doesn't change that.

If you’re interested in my thoughts on the first shot, read the blog articles: Max Holland’s 11 Seconds in Dallas; Holland Déjà Vu; and Cherry Picking Evidence of the First Shot.

As for the rest, you’ll have to wade through the labyrinth on your own.

John M. said...


With respect I don’t think you’re in a position to give lectures on ad hominem attacks given that your first post began with the rather contemptuous “I just had to laugh” comment.

The articles which Dale refers to show rigorous research. The eyewitness evidence you adduce, on the other hand, is pretty flimsy. You don’t say that ALL or even SOME eyewitnesses say that Kennedy stopped waving; only that NO eyewitnesses say that Kennedy continued to wave after you claim the first bullet was fired. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the witnesses who made statements actually positively assert that Kennedy stopped waving at this point of time.

The statement that NO eyewitnesses said that Kennedy continued to wave could mean that under the circumstances the eyewitnesses in question were not particularly interested in whether Kennedy was waving or not. What happened shortly afterwards would completely overshadow this detail.

Even if you are correct that Kennedy stopped waving what does that prove? It could mean that as he was coming to the end of his scheduled tour he decided to take a rest from his waving. He could have been distracted by something in the crowd. We know that there were hostile, non violent elements (e.g. the famous umbrella man). Someone else could have been doing something to distract Kennedy from his waving. Thirdly, someone in the car could have engaged him in conversation, which caused him to stop waving (although as a non American I hasten to add that I am NOT suggesting that a President of the USA is incapable of waving and holding a conversation at the same time!).

But to be serious, it seems to me to be a giant leap of faith to assume that the explanation for the arguable fact that Kennedy stopped waving was that he was hit by a bullet.


John M.

Anonymous said...

Dear John M.,

You are right that I started the dialogue off improperly. I could have raised the same point without the reported laugh. In truth, I posted a more polite post a day or two earlier, here: (last post; forgot to sign it), But I presume Dale didn't see it as it was appended to a post he hadn't replied to since July. My bad, what can I say?

Onward to the point at hand. First off, I see now my language was a bit confusing and not specific enough. After Z-160, JFK *did* keep waving, though starting a bit after the hypothesized shot. To wit, he picked up his hand starting at about Z-173 and waved until at least Z-196. At that point, it looks as though he freezes and perhaps clenches the waving hand, though the jiggle in the film makes it hard to say.

My point is this: Many of the witnesses said that as soon as they heard the first shot, they saw Kennedy first sit up and then slump to the left -- all *before* the second shot. No one said that after the 1st shot, JFK picked up his hand to wave and kept waving until some 3.5 seconds after the 1st shot, and then there was a second shot, and only then did JFK slump.

Now I'll grant you that the waving aspect per se is not the point. The point is that with the Z-160 miss, there's this relatively huge time gap followed by a second shot, and only then the sitting up and the slumping to the left. One would expect a lot of witnesses to note this chronology, but there's simply no testimony of that nature. Every witness who claimed to have looked at JFK right after the first shot said that he reacted immediately. Nobody said everything seemed OK for several seconds and then there was a 2nd shot and then the reaction.

And there's so much more witness support for the 1st shot being close to Z-200. For example, all of the agents in the Queen Mary claimed that they immediately turned their heads after the first shot, some to look at the president, most to look back towards the source of the sound (yes, towards the TSBD!). Now just compare Betner's Z-186 shot, to Willis' Z-202 and then Altgens' Z-254/5. What can the Z-160'ers contend? That all the agents in the Queen Mary were confused or lying, and in fact took over 2 whole seconds to begin turning around? If you play it in your head at proper speed, you'll see that a 2+ second reaction time is completely unrealistic.

Even worse, one of the few Secret Service Heroes, Rufus Youngblood, was seen to have squatted on LBJ by the 2nd shot. Yet as late as Altgens' 254/5, Youngblood has still not leapt over that back seat. That's over 6 seconds past Z-160! It just doesn't add up.

And I haven't even gone into the motorcade positions. But I'll stop here. I'm interested in your observations on all the above.


John M. said...

More on the subject of waving….

Here is an extract from the "Max Holland’s 11 seconds in Dallas" article by Myers and Vaughan.

The quote is from Secret Service Special Agent (SA) William T. McIntyre who was riding on the right-rear running board of the Secret Service follow-up car, right behind SA Clint Hill. In his November 22, 1963 statement McIntyre wrote:

"After [the turn onto Elm], there was essentially no crowd, and green expanses of lawn stretched to the right and left of the motorcade. Directly in front of us was an underpass with a green sign with white lettering, stating "Entering Thornton Freeway." The Presidential vehicle was approximately 200 feet from the underpass when the first shot was fired..." [McIntyre Statement]

Could the fact that there was a gap in the crowd turning into Elm explain why Kennedy might have stopped waving before the first shot is generally agreed to have been fired (frame Z160)?

Bye, Bye, Robert!

John M. said...


Apologies for my last facetious post which was sent without being aware of your post regretting the comment in your opening post.

I must also admit that I completely misunderstood what you were trying to say. I thought your theory was a variation of Max Holland’s thesis that the first shot was earlier than the consensus view (around Z160). And that you were saying that Kennedy stopped waving before Z160 proving that a shot was fired before then.

Your numbering of the frame shots is clear enough (to be honest with you I ignored these and just concentrated on your narrative). But I am afraid I’m still a little confused. You initially seemed to attach significance to the waving which you thought was important for Dale to address and now you think this is beside the point.

Your earlier post (on second reading) seems to be saying that from Z160 to Z223 (approximately) Kennedy was not waving. That is not inconsistent with the official view. Hearing a shot, without being hit, could distract someone from waving.

Your recent post seems to be saying it was only at Z196 that he stopped waving. The point you seem to be making is that this proves that the first shot was around this time and that because witnesses say that he reacted as if he was hit soon after the first shot that this shot hit the President.

In summary, you think that three shots were fired; the first shot was later than when most people assume; the three hit human targets; and the SBT is not a necessary explanation for the wounds suffered by Kennedy and Connally. I hope that is an accurate summary. I know you say something about an “inaudible shot” around the time of the first shot and introduce the possibility of silencers for other shots, but to be honest I’m finding it difficult enough to keep track of the audible shots!

My overall view is that your theory is based on speculation. Also, your hasty introduction of “MacWallace” or another assassin as well as inaudible bullets indicates that your conclusions have been arrived at before you have considered the evidence fully.

The evidence does not contradict the consensus view (approximate sequence: Z160, Z223 and Z313 with the first shot missing its target). The slow reaction times of security personnel to the first shot (a matter of seconds according to you) might have been because people were unsure as to what was happening (e.g. a firecracker, car backfiring before it dawned on them that it was a gunshot).

You obviously have done more research than I have or - for that matter - ever intend doing. Unfortunately, you are one among millions. The likelihood of you coming up with something new is very remote. But good luck!

My impression from the little I’ve read is that among serious researchers the consensus is that LHO was the lone gunman who shot Kennedy and Tippit. There is little or no convincing evidence of a conspiracy. With the passing of time the Warren Report has been vindicated. It would be nice to think that amateur sleuths can prove the Warren Commission wrong. But unfortunately for the romantics among us, it ain’t necessarily so!

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

It's interesting to look at the full relevant quote from Agent McIntyre's original report: "The Presidential vehicle was approximately 200 feet from the underpass when the first shot was fired, followed in quick succession by two more. I would estimate that all three shots were fired within 5 seconds. After the second shot, I looked at the President and witnessed his being struck in the head by the third and last shot."

The vast majority of witnesses said that there was a single shot, a pause of several seconds, and then two shots very close together. This latter aspect, if correct, would prove that there were at least two shooters (or that LHO had an automatic and planted the Carcano to confuse everyone!). In any case, if McIntyre was indeed 200 feet from the underpass at shot #1, that would mean JFK was some 175 feet from the underpass, i.e. at about Z-200, and not Z-160 (and why in the heck would "11-Seconds Holland" quote this anyway?). BTW, you might be right that JFK stopped waving because at that section of Elm there was no one waving at him.

Re my problem with JFK's lack of reaction right after Z-160, I can perhaps best clarify things by presenting a hypothetical testimony. Had there been a missed shot at Z-160, I would have expected this kind of testimony from many witnesses:
"After the first shot, I looked at the president who didn't react at all. Then I saw him start waving to some cheering onlookers, and I felt relieved and began to think that the shot really was just firecrackers. But then a second shot rang out a few seconds later, and this time the president reacted right away and began slumping to his left."

Instead, we get this kind of testimony (from the driver of the car behind the limo, i.e. Sam Kinney):
"As we completed the left turn and on a short distance, there was a shot. At this time I glanced from the taillights of the President's car, that I use for gauging distances for driving. I saw the President lean toward the left and appeared to have grabbed his chest with his right hand. There was a second of pause [sic] and then two more shots were heard."

Now this testimony is germane to my point about JFK's hand freezing in place from Z-197 to Z-223, and then only raising it a bit as the left arm mimics the right and then both elbows rise further. From Kinney's testimony, it does seem that his hand indeed stopped waving at Z-197, yet he didn't put it down either, suggesting that the pose he takes after Z-223 is actually a continuation from 20 frames (1.1 seconds) earlier. But in any case, there is much witness support for Kennedy immediately showing signs of being hit after the 1st shot, and that then there was a rapid series of 2 shots definitely after JFK's initial display of distress.

I hope this clarifies my scenario of the events.

I'll write about potential other shooters another time. Mac Wallace is a possibility, but I'd like a panel of experts to examine Darby's findings. Nevertheless, it is a disturbing fact that there was a fingerprint on a sniper's nest box that didn't belong to LHO, nor to any other TSBD worker, nor to anyone who went up there after the assassination.


Anonymous said...

John, just a quick addendum to my response (which I hope gets posted!). I just found a great supporting quote.

Marilyn Sitzman was a worker for Abraham Zapruder, and actually steadied him as he stood on the pedestal and filmed the motorcade. She was interviewed in 1966 by Josiah Thompson. In that interview she said:

"There was nothing unusual until
the first sound, which I thought was a firecracker,
mainly because of the reaction of President Kennedy. He
put his hands up to guard his face and leaned to the

I like this quote because it describes JFK's reaction to the first shot, and specifically vis vis what it made the witness think about the first shot. The irony, of course, is that the 1st sentence makes it appear that she intended to say that JFK was fine and even waved. But as you can see, she thought he was fine precisely because she thought he was trying to defend himself from a firecracker by guarding his face and leaning to the left.

So again, the question is: Why didn't Sitzman say that she thought the first *two* shots were firecrackers because of JFK's reaction? Clearly, she recalled him reacting right after the first shot.

BTW, as an aside, I forgot to note in my pending previous post that Agent McIntyre, while indeed riding behind Clint Hill, was not on the right running board, but rather, he was (dare I say it?) back and to the left.

John M. said...

Robert, you’re not giving me too much confidence in your grasp of details. McIntyre said that the Presidential vehicle was 200 feet from the underpass when the first shot was fired, not that he himself (i.e. McIntyre) was 200 feet from the underpass.

It looks like you wish to push a conspiracy theory, which you are perfectly entitled to do, but you were a little coy about stating this from the outset.

I’m beginning to understand Dale’s point about cherry picking. Your theory that the first shot was at Z200 seems to be more at variance with witness statements than the official view. If the first shot was at Z200 you would expect witnesses to say: “three shots in quick succession” or “two shots in quick succession followed by a pause and then the third shot. But you say ear witnesses say “one shot, a pause followed by two shots in succession”.

The point is that a little scepticism should be adopted regarding witness statements.

Regarding the unaccounted for fingerprint on a box at the TSBD, could this not have been the fingerprint of a supplier or deliveryman to the TSBD?

I remain of the opinion that LHO was the sole assassin and the Carcano was the only weapon used.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dale,
I've been fascinated with the JFK assassination for over 20 years, read about 5 'JFK' books, many magazine and internet articles as well as countless TV and radio documentaries and visiting Dealey Plaza itself a few times. Without going into too much detail and keeping my comment short, even if I were to accept the single bullet theory which in fact I do, what do you say about the 2 important witnesses on the grassy knoll? One being Ed Hoffman, the deaf mute who saw a gunman fire a rifle at Kennedy/the motorcade from behind the stockade fence then pass the weapon to another man who dissassembled it and put it into a bag and walk off? Also Gordon Arnold who said he heard a gunshot from behind him and felt a bullet rush over his head from where he was stood just below the grassy knoll? These 2 men stuck to their stories for the rest of their lives. How especially could Ed Hoffman be wrong?? A deaf guy who relied on his vision more than most? If Oswald acted alone how do you account for Ed Hoffman and Gordon Arnold? To this day it still surprises me how little Ed Hoffman and what he saw gets mentioned even by conspiracy buffs! For me Hoffman and Arnold are the 2 biggest stumbling blocks for a credible lone gunman theory.

Dale K. Myers said...

Anonymous wrote: "...If Oswald acted alone how do you account for Ed Hoffman and Gordon Arnold?"

I don't. Both made extraordinary claims long after the event without offering extraordinary evidence to support those claims. I've filed both accounts under "Unbelievable" - as in, "not to be believed."

Lees Review Club said...

Dear Mr. Myers,

With all due respect the SBT is not possible. The clear physical evidence, holes in the President's jacket and shirt, eyewitness testimonies, a death certificate and an autopsy drawing placement of the wound clearly shows the location to be near T-3 vertebra and approximately 2 inches to the right of the spinal cord. It would be virtually impossible for a back wound location at the T-3 to go through the neck, let alone to go through Governor Connally. The SS, FBI, Parkland doctors, autopsy personnel and 3 members of the WC all rejected the SBT.

The true back wound location also proves a coverup and a conspiracy, since the autopsy report shows the wound location to be at approximately C7 vertebrate. That is clearly the base of the neck and false. It was a deliberate mistake.

Dale K. Myers said...

Please! Your claims about the supposed invalidity of the SBT have been posted ad nauseum elsewhere and don't hold any more credibility posted here. In your alternative reality: bullet holes, eyewitnesses, Secret Service agents, FBI personnel, doctors, and even autopsy personnel concur that the SBT is impossible and that the Warren Commission foisted a deliberate lie upon the public - a lie so transparent that even a child of five could see it. Seriously? With all due respect, try reading something other than conspiracy-oriented fiction. May I suggest, Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History.