Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Holland’s Deflection: Ballistics and the Truth


Former WFAA radio reporter Pierce Allman points toward the lamp post in front of the Depository (left) and toward the position of the president's car at the time of the first shot (right) in this composite image from a 2013 interview. []

During a recent speech at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, author Max Holland said that he feared “that someday I’m going to turn into one of those people in Dealey Plaza who has laminated photographs trying to persuade everyone of my view of what happened.”

It would appear that his “nightmare” has come true, albeit minus the laminated photographs.

At the invitation of the museum, Holland presented his belief that Oswald’s first shot struck a traffic light mast pole and was deflected down toward the Triple Overpass where it wounded bystander James Tague – a belief that has no basis in fact as shown again and again on the pages of this blog.

See these previous articles for all the scoop:

After showing his audience the evidence that supposedly supports his thesis – evidence that has been thoroughly dismantled – Holland insists that you don’t have to believe his conclusions, although from his perspective, if you don’t you’re clearly an idiot.

“Now let me just point out here that our explanation of what happened is the plausible one – we believe,” Holland said, “in fact the only plausible one for why the bullet didn’t hit its mark when it was fired and where it went – but you don’t really have to believe it.

“You can believe that Oswald fired in the air to scare the pigeons off the roof. You can believe he had a bad case of buck fever and that he fired errantly into the asphalt but somehow no one saw the kind of volcanic little eruption that would have occurred if a bullet traveling at that velocity hit asphalt.

“But what you do have to believe is that the Zapruder film only captured the second and third shots. By his own account Abe Zapruder only heard two shots, he only saw two shots, and he only filmed two shots.” [Holland, Max, “From Rorschach Test to Time Clock: The Zapruder Film,” The Sixth Floor Museum, May 7, 2015, 55:02; 55:42]

Did you catch the circular logic? Zapruder only filmed two shots, according to Holland, because he only heard two shots and only saw the result of two shots. Seriously? 

Another new witness

I’ve become used to Holland’s irrational logic, mockery, and disdain for the truth but just in case you find yourself succumbing to this latest dish of ego-laden drivel consider the only new revelation in Holland’s ongoing effort to convince everyone of his brilliance – yet another newly uncovered witness “supporting” Holland’s alleged traffic light pole deflection.

“…I developed other eyewitnesses. In fact, I’m still developing eyewitnesses,” Holland told the museum audience. “Take for example Pierce Allman. This is a still from the Dorman film…

Holland slide of Dorman frame showing Allman [Sixth Floor Museum]

“Pierce Allman is the man on the right. Now if you look again at that still from the Secret Service restaging you have two men standing almost exactly in front of the steps where Pierce Allman and his colleague from WFAA were standing.

Holland slide of SS restaging and Allman's 2013 statement [Sixth Floor Museum]

“And in 2013, an enterprising journalist asked Pierce Allman to stand in that same position and describe what had happened – what he had seen – and he said to that journalist, ‘At the time of the first shot, they were right about with the lamp post.’

“Well, there’s a lamp post not three feet from the black and white sign that Amos Euins had identified.” [Holland, Max, “From Rorschach Test to Time Clock: The Zapruder Film,” The Sixth Floor Museum, May 7, 2015, 41:47, 42:18]

Fact not fiction

As the 2012 article “Mr. Holland’s Opus” showed in spades, Amos Euins’ contemporary statements clearly refer to the R.L. Thornton Freeway sign further down Elm Street, not the U.S. Highway sign cluster at the head of the street as Holland suggests.

Now, Holland trots out former WFAA radio reporter Pierce Allman and insists that he too confirms an early shot. But that’s not true either, is it, Mr. Holland?

Pierce Allman points to where the limousine was at the time of the first shot. [Sixth Floor Museum]

In the 50th anniversary interview Holland cites (available here), Allman said this:

ALLMAN: “The first shot they were right about, you know, with the lamp post [gesturing to his left] and – you know – you hear it and it was coming from straight in front and above [gesturing to his right-front] – and – you know – your reaction is ‘That - that’s not a shot. That doesn’t happen in your hometown….”

Allman points toward the TSBD, the source of the shots, and Holland's lamp post. [Sixth Floor Museum]

So in fact, Allman points to an area that is past his position when referring to the location of the limousine at the time of the first shot – not the lamp post in front of him and slightly to his right.

Location of the lamp post (red circle) Allman (red arrow) pointed to and the lamppost (yellow circle) Holland claims he indicated. [Sixth Floor Museum]

The lamppost that Allman is referring to is located at the former location of the R.L. Thornton Freeway sign. Gee, what a coincidence. Allman places the limousine at the same location indicated by Holland’s two other star witnesses – Amos Euins and Patricia Ann Donaldson; the moment after the limousine passed under the traffic light mast pole but before it passed under the Live Oak tree branches.

The real question is how Holland can look at the filmed interview of Allman and not know that he’s pointing to area considerably west of the lamp post he describes to his audience?

Eight years of deflection

It’s been eight years since Holland first proposed his theory of an early missed shot, fired before Zapruder began filming, and despite oodles of publicity he has yet to substantiate his theory with one verifiable fact.

Not only are his eyewitness accounts twisted like a pretzel to fit his preconceived notion, but by his own admission there is not one bit of physical evidence to support his deflection contention. 

Indeed, late last month, a few weeks after Holland’s Sixth Floor Museum presentation, ballistic expert Luke Haag showed over 450 forensic scientists attending a conference in Dallas his peer-reviewed ballistic investigation into Holland’s theory which demonstrated that each and every one of Holland’s assertions about the potential deflection of one Oswald’s bullets by the traffic mast pole was physically impossible. It didn’t happen. It couldn’t have happened.

One has to wonder, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, why Holland continues to cling to a false history of his own making?

He told the Sixth Floor Museum audience that the reason he started focusing on the first shot miss was because Secret Service agent Win Lawson was so insistent that there was a noticeable pause between the first shot and the second and third shots.

Yet, Holland has never explained why his own timing of the supposed shot sequence sounds like three evenly spaced shots?

Here’s the mp3 audio clip the authors sent to Holland eight years ago without a response: 

Once again, we invite – no, we insist – that Holland listen to this clip and then publicly go on record stating whether or not he thinks this sounds like the last two shots are bunched together. Bet you won’t hear a peep out of Max.

Where’s the glory?

In the end, what difference would it have made even if Holland’s theory proved to be true (which of course, it hasn’t)? How would the fact that Oswald might have had an extra second or two (that’s a second or two more than we already know he needed) to fire all three shots alter our understanding of the assassination?

Holland proposed to his Sixth Floor audience that the entire history of the controversy over Oswald’s guilt and the criticism of the Warren Report would have been smothered.

“…the Warren Commission had to answer three questions – why hinged on who, and who was contingent on how, and how was the only one that the Commission had the complete power to absolutely resolve,” Holland said. “That they didn’t, eroded their credibility.”

Yet, Holland well knows that criticism of the official account of the assassination began long before the Warren Commission released their report with newspaper and magazine articles by Richard Dudman, Mark Lane, and others; and even entire books by Nerin E. Gunn and Joachim Joesten. This is basic JFK Assassination 101!

Does anyone believe that conspiracy theorists would have gone to sleep for five decades had the Warren Commission simply proven that Oswald fired an early missed shot? And on what factual basis would the Warren Commission have resolved the disposition of an early missed shot?

Hell, even Holland can’t muster up any evidence that can withstand the most basic peer review fifty years after the fact! Yet, we’re supposed to believe that all the controversy that followed in the wake of the Commission’s final report was because they muffed answering that one question. Now that’s classic Holland “logic.”


For eight years, Holland has been claiming that we’ve all been too mesmerized by the Zapruder film, that we’ve been unable to think outside the box, and that only he has managed to figure out how it all happened.

Unfortunately, there are many media outlets far too eager to embrace unvetted musings about the assassination like Holland’s so long as it draws an audience.

From where we sit, Max Holland’s theory of deflection is less about an errant bullet and more about deflecting the truth. [END]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vincent T. Bugliosi, author of ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Reclaiming History’, dies at 80


Vincent T. Bugliosi, a prosecutor who parlayed his handling of the Charles Manson trial into a career as a bestselling author, has died, his son said Monday night. He was 80 years old.

Bugliosi, who had struggled with cancer in recent years, died Saturday night, June 6, at a hospital in Los Angeles, his son, Vincent Bugliosi Jr., told The Associated Press.

Bugliosi Jr. said his father had "an unflagging dedication to justice" in everything he did.

As an author, Bugliosi Sr. was best known for “Helter Skelter,” which was his account of the Manson Family and the killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others by followers of the cult leader, Charles Manson.

Bugliosi had prosecuted Manson and his female followers, winning convictions in one of America's most sensational trials.

Vincent Bugliosi was born in 1934 in Hibbing, Minn. He attended the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Fla., on a tennis scholarship and graduated from the law school of the University of California, Los Angeles.

After the Manson trial, he wrote “Helter Skelter” with collaborator Curt Gentry, and it became one of the bestselling true-crime books of all time.

He tried running for public office and lost, tried his hand on practicing defense law but ultimately returned to writing books.

He wrote a dozen books, including the true-crime books, "Till Death Do Us Part," and "And The Sea Will Tell." His non-fiction efforts, which took on controversial subjects, included "Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away With Murder," and "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder."

Bugliosi Jr. said his father was most proud of his nearly 2,000-page examination of the Kennedy Assassination, "Reclaiming History," which took over 20 years to write.

But Bugliosi remained most associated with the Manson case for the rest of his life. Reflecting on it 40 years later, he said, "These murders were probably the most bizarre in the recorded annals of American crime...Evil has its lure and Manson has become a metaphor for evil."

Bugliosi and his wife of 59 years, Gail, had two children, Wendy and Vince Jr.

Sources: Associated Press, Washington Post, Fox News

[Editor's note: I knew Vince quite well having assisted him on his 2007 book, "Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy." He was cantankerous, volatile, and brilliant. His comprehensive book on the Kennedy case, despite the occasional and inevitable flaws, is easily the best single volume on the assassination saga ever written. His unwavering support of my own work over the years was much appreciated. For that, I remain truly grateful.]