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John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May
29, 1917, the second of the nine children of Joseph Patrick Kennedy
and his wife, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy’s Irish ancestors had
immigrated to Boston and his grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, was a
Boston political leader as well as a successful businessman and
saloonkeeper. His maternal grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald was the
mayor of Boston, popularly known as “Honey Fitz”. The Kennedy’s lived
in a modest but comfortable frame house, but as the family grew, so
did their father’s fortune. Joseph Kennedy had become quite wealthy by
the time he was 30 making his fortune in stock-market speculation,
motion pictures, shipbuilding and real estate. He also would hold
several appointive positions in the federal government during the
Roosevelt administration, and his driving ambition was to put a son in
he White House.
Kennedy’s childhood was happy, even though he was always in the shadow
of his older brother Joseph, who dominated family competitions and was
a better student. Young Kennedy also was a frail child, with prolonged
illnesses that kept him from school. But despite his frequent
illnesses, Kennedy was a good athlete. At 13, young Kennedy attended
the private Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. He became
ill and never returned, graduating from Choate Preparatory School in
Wallingford, Connecticut in 1935. After spending that summer studying
at the London School of Economics, he entered Princeton University,
but again illness forced him home during the Christmas recess because
of an attack of jaundice. He resumed his studies in the fall of 1936
at Harvard University, where he continued to be an easygoing student,
concentrating on swimming and with his brother Joe, won the
intercollegiate sailing title. Kennedy made two more trips to Europe
in 1937 and in 1939 when his father was serving as the United States
Ambassador to Great Britain. Kennedy graduated cum laude from Harvard
in 1940, and he used his undergraduate thesis as the basis for a book
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- The Killer of John Fitzgerald Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, the second of the nine children of Joseph Patrick Kennedy and his wife, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy’s Irish ancestors had immigrated to Boston and his grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, was a Boston political leader as well as a successful businessman and saloonkeeper. His maternal grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald was the mayor of Boston, popularly known as “Honey Fitz”.... [tags: Papers]
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rearmament prior to World War II. After graduating from Harvard,
Kennedy spent a few months studying at the Stanford University
Graduate School of Business in California.
In the spring of 1941, Kennedy volunteered for the Army, but was
rejected because of his degenerative back problem that had plagued him
for years. During that summer, he underwent a series of back
strengthening exercises, and in September the Navy accepted him. He
sensed that if he did not participate in World War II, he was not
going to have much of a public life in this country, and he wanted in.
In March 1943, Kennedy took command of PT Boat 109 in the South
Pacific. To have a man with such frail health as Kennedy’s as your
commander could be dangerous and Kennedy should never have been there.
However, on the night of August 2, 1943, his boat was rammed by a
Japanese destroyer in the waters off New Georgia in the Solomon
Islands. Kennedy was thrown across the deck onto his back, the boat
being sliced in half and two of the twelve men aboard were killed
immediately. Kennedy rallied the survivors and they clung to the
wreckage for hours, hoping for rescue. Giving up hope for an immediate
rescue, they swam three miles to a small island, with Kennedy towing a
wounded crewmember, clenching the strap of Pappy McNulty’s life jacket
between his teeth. The men remained on the island for four days, with
Kennedy swimming daily along a water route that the American ships
used, hoping to find a rescue ship. He finally encountered friendly
natives on Cross Island that took a message for help, carved on a
coconut shell, to the U.S. infantry patrol. The men were rescued and
Kennedy was awarded the Purple Heart and the U.S. Navy and Marine
Corps Medal for heroism. However, the ordeal had aggravated his back
and he contracted malaria so he returned to the United States for
medical treatment. After an operation on his back, he was discharged
early in 1945.
Kennedy’s father had groomed his first son, Joseph, for politics – Joe
was going to get the Kennedy’s into the White House. But young Joe was
killed in action in 1944, and after working as a reporter for the
Hearst International News Service, Kennedy decided to enter politics
himself. His opportunity came early in 1946, when he announced his
candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the House of
Representatives seat for the 11th Congressional District of
Massachusetts. He ran against nine other candidates and won the
primary with 42 percent of the votes. In November, he defeated his
Republican opponent and became a congressman at the age of 29, winning
re-election in 1948 and 1950. In 1952, Kennedy decided to run against
Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., defeating him by more than
70,000 votes, in a campaign the entire Kennedy family took part in.
On September 12, 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. The
couple had three children: Caroline Bouvier (1957 – ); John
Fitzgerald, Jr. (1960 – 1999); and Patrick Bouvier, who died less than
48 hours after his birth on August 7, 1963.
Increasingly troubled by his back, Kennedy underwent spinal surgery.
Due to the fact that Kennedy suffered from Addison’s disease, the
surgery had to be preformed in two separate procedures in October 1954
and again in February 1955. During his long convalescence, he occupied
himself by writing Profiles in Courage, which was published in 1956
and received the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957.
Kennedy returned to the Senate in May 1955 and by the beginning of
1956, he aimed toward higher office. During he Democratic National
Convention of that year, he almost was nominated for the vice
presidency running with Adlai Stevenson, but he lost on the third
ballot to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. In 1958, Kennedy was
re-elected to the Senate, winning by the largest margin ever recorded
in a Massachusetts senatorial contest. He spoke frequently throughout
the country and in January 1960 he formally announced his candidacy
By the time of the Democratic National Convention, he had already won
seven primary victories, overcoming opposition that a Roman Catholic
could not win in a predominantly Protestant state. He won the
nomination and the Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson ticket narrowly defeated
their Republican opponents, Richard M. Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. at
the November elections. The margin being only 119,450 votes out of the
nearly 69,000,000 cast.
Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic and at the age of 43, the
youngest man ever elected President. Theodore Roosevelt was a few
months younger than Kennedy when he took office after William McKinley
was assassinated in 1901, but Kennedy was the youngest elected
President. He was sworn in on January 20, 1961 and his inaugural
address was widely acclaimed.
In April 1961, Kennedy supported a failed mission by anti-Castro Cuban
exiles at the Bay of Pigs. The next year, the Soviets put nuclear
missiles in Cuba, but withdrew them after Kennedy imposed a naval
blockade. Tensions eased somewhat with the Soviets with the 1963
nuclear test ban treaty, although the “space race” continued. Kennedy
was a strong supporter of the arts, while being mindful of the
disadvantaged. He and his wife attempted to make the White House the
cultural center of the nation. He was an avid reader and was
particularly interested in what the press had to say about his
administration. He founded the Peace Corps and proposed wide-ranging
civil rights legislation, but never lived to see its enactment.
On November 22, 1963, while on his way to make a luncheon speech in
Dallas, Texas, Kennedy and his wife sat in an open convertible waving
to the crowds who had gathered to greet him. Suddenly, as the
motorcade approached an underpass, an assassin fired several shots,
striking the President in the neck and head. He was pronounced dead at
Parkland Memorial Hospital, never regaining consciousness. The bullets
that killed Kennedy were thought to be fired from the window of a
nearby warehouse. Dallas police arrested 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald
for the President’s murder. Two days later, on November 24 in the
basement of the Dallas police station, Oswald was fatally shot by Jack
Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner, as millions watched on television.
On November 29, President Johnson appointed a commission to conduct a
thorough investigation of the assassination headed by Chief Justice
Earl Warren. The Warren Commission’s Report, made public on September
27, 1964, found no evidence of a conspiracy in the assassination and
concluded that “the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.” However, in 1979,
after two years of investigation, the House assassinations committee
concluded that Oswald probably was part of a conspiracy that might
have included members of organized crime.
Elvis has left the building. . .
Oct. 26, 1956
Reports to Marine Corps Basic Training
March 18, 1957
Naval Air Technical Training Center
El Toro, CA
Marine Corps Air Station
Marine Air Control Squadron No. 1
Shoots self with derringer / Court-martialed
Nov. 57/March 58
Maneuvers with Marine Unit
June 27, 1958
Court-martialed for fight with Sergeant / Confined until August 13
South China Sea
With Marine unit
El Toro, CA
Marine Corps Air Station
Sept. 11, 1959
Released from active duty
Sept. 20, 1959
Sails for Europe
Oct. 10, 1959
Takes Plane to Helsinki
Oct. 16, 1959
Arrives in Moscow
Oct. 21, 1959
Apparent suicide attempt
Oct. 31, 1959
U. S. Embassy
Attempts to renounce U.S. citizenship
Jan. 7, 1960
Arrives in Minsk
Jan. 1960 — May 1962
Oswald very closely surveiled by KGB
Writes U.S. Embassy / Wants to return to U.S.
March 17, 1961
Meets Marina Nikolayevna Prusakova
April 30, 1961
Lee and Marina Married
Oswalds leave Minsk, travel to Fort Worth
Live with Robert Oswald
Lived with Marguerite Oswald / Gets job at Leslie Welding Co.
Move to 2703 Mercedes Street
Begins at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall Co.
Move to 604 Elsbeth Street
Feb. 22, 1963
Oswalds meet Paines
March 12, 1963
Lee orders rifle from ad for Klein's Sporting Goods in American
Move to 214 West Neely Street / Lee receives pistol and rifle
Oswald, in black "hunter of fascists" outfit, gives cheap Imperial
Reflex camera to Marina, is photographed with rifle and pistol
April 10, 1963
Assassination attempt on General Walker. Lee leaves note for Marina,
telling her how to deal with his death or arrest. This is the first
page of the note, and this is the second.
April 24, 1963
Lee leaves for New Orleans / Marina moves to Paine home
May 10, 1963
Gets job with Reily Coffee Company
May 11, 1963
Marina joins Lee at 4905 Magazine Street
July 19, 1963
Oswald fired by Reily Coffee Company
August 9, 1963
Oswald arrested in altercation passing out Fair Play for Cuba leaflets
Sept. 23/25, 1963
Marina leaves for Dallas with Mrs. Paine / Oswald leaves for Mexico
Oct. 3, 1963
Oswald arrives in Dallas
Oct. 15, 1963
Oswald Hired by Roy Truly at Texas School Book Depository
Oct. 16, 1963
Oswald begins work at Depository
Nov. 22, 1963, 12:30 pm.
Dealey Plaza, Dallas
Kennedy Shot, fatally wounded
Nov. 22, 1963, 12:40 pm. (approx.)
Fleeing Oswald boards Cecil McWatters bus, then gets off, taking
Nov. 22, 1963, 1:15 (approx.)
10th and Patton Streets
Oswald shoots Officer Tippit
Nov. 22, 1963, 1:30 (approx.)
Johnny Calvin Brewer, shoe store clerk, sees Oswald acting
suspiciously, follows to Texas Theater
Nov. 22, 1963
Oswald arrested in Texas Theater / Taken to police car / Booked,
charged with killing Tippit
Nov. 22, 1963
Phony Selective Service Card found on Oswald
Nov. 22, 1963 (afternoon)
Dallas Police Headquarters
Marina tells police that Oswald owned rifle, which is now missing.
Nov. 22, 1963 (late evening)
Oswald faces press in news conference
Nov. 24, 1963
Oswald shot, killed by Jack Ruby
Nov. 24, 1963 (afternoon)
Lee's dead body lies in Parkland morgue
Nov. 25, 1963
Oswald funeral, Lee buried at Rose Hill cemetery, by Miller Funeral
Both Oswald and Kennedy had ‘interesting’ lives.
Public interest in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has
never died down. People around the world want to know who killed the
president and why and how he died. They also want to know what the
killer's hidden motives might have been, and whether he had acted
alone. Their insistent questions led to the formation of the House
Select Committee on Assassinations, a congressional group.
In 1978, the House Select Committee came to a conclusion that many
un-official investigators had already reached: that the president's
slaying was the result of a conspiracy. As we have already seen, a
conspiracy means that two or more persons were involved in a criminal
Until that time, the Warren Commissioned Report, originally released
in September 1964, was the only official one. The report stated that a
solitary gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible. Working
alone, he shot and killed the president. Oswald was soon captured and
held by the Dallas, Texas, police for two days. Then Oswald himself
was slain as he was being transferred from one jail to another.
Oswald's slayer was Jack Ruby.
The Warren Commission decided that Ruby acted for twisted emotional
reasons and that he, too, acted alone. There was no conspiracy
involved in either case, so said the Warren Commission.
The House Select Committee's declaration of conspiracy inspired a rash
of books and at least two movies, as well as several TV programs. New
ones keep popping up, well into the 1990's. Each book and movie has
asserted that its analysis is the only foolproof one. As yet, however,
none of these has been accepted as offering all the right answers.
The JFK assassination data can be divided into three groups:
1. The Method; or Means: How was the president killed?
2. The Motives: Why was he killed?
3. The Men Involved: Who killed him?
1. THE METHOD OR MEANS:
The president was riding in his open limousine, his back to the Texas
School Book Depository, where, on the sixth floor, Oswald was said to
have been perched. His rifle, propped up by book cartons, was aimed
directly at the back of the president's head.
Ahead and to the right of the president's motorcade was the grassy
knoll. There many spectators stood; ready to cheer the president as he
passed by. Among them, another gunman may have been waiting for HIS
chance to fire.
Oswald was accused of firing several shots from his position in the
Texas School Book Depository. One we know struck the president in the
head, killing him. Two more shots where said to have been fired, one
hitting a spectator under the bypass and the other hitting JFK in the
Did this third shot actually go from the front of his neck to the
back? Doctor's at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where the dying
president was taken, and doctors at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, where
the dead president was AGAIN examined, disagree. The Parkland groups
say there was an entry wound in his throat. The Bethesda group, on the
other hand, says there was an EXIT wound in his throat. This bullet
also hit Connelly in the back shattering his fifth rip, and then
through his hand and twisting around and travelled backwards into
Connelly’s leg, this is known as the magic built.
Many spectators standing on the grassy knoll at the time of the
slaying reported hearing at least one rifle shot fired from nearby.
They also reported seeing as many as four men hurrying away from the
back of the knoll as soon as the shots were fired. The Warren
investigators quizzed several of these witnesses but came to no
conclusion. This is a lot more possible then the magic bullet if more
shots where fired.
Oswald may have indeed fired the shots that killed the president, but
there is no clear-cut evidence that he ALONE did so. Nor was he even
definitely linked with the sixth-floor window from where the shots
were fired. Only minutes after the shooting, he was drinking a
Coca-Cola. Could he have left the firing site and composed himself so
quickly? Here's another factor to consider: firing a cheap rifle, as
Oswald did, should have left a powder burn on his cheek. After Oswald
was arrested, his cheek was examined: no such powder burn was found!
After Oswald's death, his palm print was found on his rifle butt,
indicating that it was he who did the shooting. Some investigators
charge, however, that a palm print could have been transferred from
his hand to the rifle butt after Oswald's. This could have been one of
many illegal efforts to tie Oswald to the crime.
This has been all that is known about the assassination of JFK though
now evidence has come to live that suggests Oswald did do it, or at
lest the shots where possible. Zapruder frame 157 - This is the first
occurrence of movement that suggests a shot has been fired. Both JFK
and JBC turn sharply to their right immediately after frame 157.
[IMAGE]Although JFK may be reacting to the passing crowd, JBC's
movement's match his testimony concerning the first shot: "I heard
this noise which I immediately took to be a rifle shot. I
instinctively turned to my right because the sound appeared to come
from over my right shoulder, so I turned to look back over my right
shoulder, and I saw nothing unusual except just people in the
Connally's sharp turn to the right after Z-157 is the only such turn
preceding his own wounding a few seconds later. This is also
consistent with his testimony. Zapruder frame 157 was selected as the
likely time of this first shot based on Connally's reaction a
quarter-second later. Since this first shot apparently missed, the
exact frame is unknown.
Zapruder frame sequence 223-228
Zapruder frame 223-224 - This is the second occurrence of movement
that suggests gunfire. The reaction of JBC at Zapruder frame 224
indicates a shot fired in the 1/18th of a second interval of Z223-224.
[IMAGE]Connally's testimony closely mirrors the action preceding Z223:
"So I looked, failing to see him, I was turning to look back over my
left shoulder into the back seat, but I never got that far in my turn.
I got about in the position I am now facing you, looking a little bit
to the left of center, and then I felt like someone had hit me in the
Although Connally's recollection varies slightly (he is rotated
37-degrees right, not "a little bit to the left of centre"), there are
a number of measurements that pinpoint the Z223-224 range as the
moment of impact.
Computer analysis shows that JBC turned sharply to the right beginning
at Z157. This right turn continues until Z193 where JBC's shoulders
are rotated 48 degrees right, relative to the midline of the
limousine. At this point, JBC begins a slow rotation leftward. This
smooth leftward turn continues until frame 223. At this point JBC's
shoulders are rotated 37 degrees right, relative to the limousine.
JBC's sharp right turn of 48 degrees, and the subsequent leftward
rotation of 11 degrees is the only such movement prior to the first
impact. Both movements are consistent with Connally's testimony
regarding his actions immediately after the first shot and prior to
JBC torso changes, Z224-228
In the 1/18th of a second between Zapruder frame 223-224, a number of
measurable events occur. JBC's torso pitches forward 7.5 degrees and
begins a sharp rotation to the left, while his head pitches rearward
3.2 degrees. The right side of his suitcoat also bulges outward,
obscuring part of his shirt. These sudden movements are consistent
with a bullet striking JBC in the upper-right back and exiting from
During the next quarter of a second (Zapruder frames 224-228), a
number of dramatic changes occur. JBC's torso rotates another 19
degrees to the left, his shoulder line drops 2.3 inches, and his right
forearm "flips" up toward his right chest.
[IMAGE]These rapid rotational changes are consistent with the type of
chest wound JBC suffered. Finally, this is the only time in the
shooting sequence that such a dramatic shift in the torso position
occurs. All of these facts are consistent with a bullet strike at
Z223-224 which entered JBC's right rear shoulder, drove the shoulder
down and to the left, and exited the right chest.
JBC torso rotation - top view
Zapruder frame 313 - This is the third occurrence of movement and
undeniably related to gunfire. At the moment of impact, JFK is leaning
to his left. As the bullet strikes, his skull is driven forward, and
then begins backward recoil.
[IMAGE]Governor Connally is reclining in the arms of his wife at the
time of the head shot. As the bullet strikes, both Connally and his
wife roll down and away from the line of fire.
Zapruder frame sequence 311-322
In the 1/18th of a second interval between Zapruder frames 312-313,
JFK's skull is driven forward 6.8 degrees by the impact of the bullet.
During this same interval, the skull banks left 3 degrees. This may be
due to the expulsion of debris from the right-top front of the skull.
Although the backward recoil begins immediately (Z314), JFK's skull
does not return to its original posture (Z312) until Zapruder frames
[IMAGE]Since the change in position at Z312-313 is clearly due to the
impact of a bullet, it can be inferred that the change in position at
Z314-316 is due to some lesser force. The exact nature of that
JFK Head Positions - Zapruder frames 312-313force is open to debate.
According to the 1963 autopsy report, the President had an entrance
wound in his upper-right back located 5.5 inches from the point where
the right shoulder blade meets the right arm, and 5.5 inches below the
bony protuberance found behind and slightly below the right ear.
[IMAGE]The 1978 HSCA forensic panel agreed that the wound was an
entrance wound, noting that the autopsy photographs showed an abrasion
collar around the wound (caused from the bullet scraping the margins
of the skin as it entered the back), a condition typical of entrance
JFK entrance wound - rear/side viewA microscopic examination of the
tissues surrounding the back wound (conducted shortly after the 1963
autopsy) established the presence of coagulation necrosis of the
tissues, which confirms beyond any doubt that the wound in the
President's back was an entrance wound. (16H988 CE391; 1HSCA191-92)
The point of entrance was located on a computer model representing
The autopsy pathologists ultimately determined that the bullet had
entered the back, passed between the muscles of the upper back and
neck, crossed over the top of the right lung, and exited at the throat
just below the Adams apple. (2H363) The pathologists cited some
bruising of the muscles on the right side of the neck, a bruising of
the pleura cavity (encompassing the right lung), and a wedge shaped
bruise (approximately 2 inches in diameter) on the upper portion of
the right lung as evidence of the bullet's path. (2H363) The point of
exit was also located on the computer model representing JFK's body.
JFK exit wound - front/side view
[IMAGE]The President's clothing confirmed the path of the bullet: a
small hole in the back of his suit coat (threads pushed inward)
approximately 5.3 inches below the top of the collar and 1.96 inches
to the right of the middle seam (7HSCA83), a corresponding hole in the
President's shirt located 5.75 inches below the collar and 1.3 inches
to the right of the midline (CD205, p.153-54) (photographs taken
seconds before the shooting show the suit coat had shifted upward on
the President's back, accounting for the discrepancy between the
wounds in the body and the holes in the clothing), a slit-like bullet
hole in the front of the shirt (threads pushed outward), and a tear on
the left side of the tie knot where the exiting bullet grazed the tie
knot. (ARRB MD28)
[IMAGE]According to Dr. Robert Shaw' s operative record, the entrance
wound in JBC's body was "just lateral to the right [shoulder blade]
close [to] the [armpit] yet has passed through the latysmus
[latissimus] dorsi muscle...the wound of entrance was approximately
[1.2 inches] in its longest diameter." (7HSCA142)
[IMAGE]The HSCA's Forensic Pathology Panel determined that Dr. Shaw's
report described a wound located approximately 7.9 inches to the right
of the midline, and 7.1 inches below the top of the 1st thoracic
vertebra. (2HSCA181) This point was located on a computer model
representing JBC's body.
JBC entrance wound - rear/side view
Dr. Shaw's operative record described the exit wound stating: "[The
missile] emerged below the right nipple...the wound of exit was a
ragged wound approximately [2 inches] in its longest diameter."
[IMAGE]Dr. Michael Baden, HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel, localized the
exit wound during an examination of Governor Connally stating: "The
exit wound scar is in the right front chest 1 inch below the central
nipple line..." This places the exit wound at about the level of the
5th rib, which was shattered by the bullet. (7HSCA147) This point was
also located on the JBC computer model.
JBC exit wound - front/side view
To determine the source of the shots, the point of entrance on the
President's upper-right back was connected to the exit wound in his
throat with a straight line to represent the trajectory path of the
bullet through JFK's upper body.
Extending that trajectory line forward shows that a bullet passing
through the President's upper-right back and throat, at the equivalent
of Zapruder frame 223, would go on to strike Governor Connally in the
right shoulder just behind the armpit -- the precise location where
the entrance wound in JBC's body was located.
[IMAGE]In order to exit just below JBC's right nipple (based on JBC's
position at Zapruder frame 223), the bullet would have to then follow
a slightly altered course after entering the Governor's body --
shifting 13 degrees to the right and 1 degree upward from the original
Trajectory of JFK neck wound
In an anatomically erect position (i.e., not the position JBC was in
at Z223), the trajectory path of the bullet was found to pass through
JBC at an angle of about 24.5 degrees downward, and about 23.5 degrees
right to left. The downward trajectory compares favourably with Dr.
Shaw's measurement of 25 degrees during testimony before the Warren
Commission. (4H137) The right to left trajectory is slightly higher
than the FBI's rough estimate of 20 degrees, inferred from a
measurement of the holes in JBC's suit jacket. (CD827)
[IMAGE]The possibility that the bullet changed course after hitting
the Governor (a rather common phenomenon) has been debated before by
experts. Dr. Charles S. Petty, stated that JBC's internal injuries
suggested that the bullet "tunnelled around the chest wall and did not
proceed in a straight line from entrance to exit." (Petty thought that
the injuries to JBC's right lung were caused by bone fragments blasted
out by the passing bullet.)
[IMAGE]However, the majority of HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel members
disagree. They said that they would have expected a comparable missile
to pass from entrance to exit in a fairly straight line, adding that
they didn't feel that the surgeon could have known whether the injury
to JBC's lung was caused by the bullet or by rib fragments alone.
[IMAGE]In the end, the medical evidence alone cannot prove, nor
disprove, that the bullet changed course after striking JBC in the
To determine the firing source of the bullet that passed between
Kennedy and Connally, the entrance wound on JBC's back was connected
to the exit wound on the front of the President's throat at the
equivalent of Zapruder frame 223 using a straight line. That
trajectory line was then projected rearward 200 feet to its source.
[IMAGE]The result shows the bullet moving at a 10 degree angle, right
to left, relative to the midline of the limousine.
[IMAGE]The angle of declination is about 20.5 degrees. Accounting for
the 3 degree slope in the road, the bullet is moving downward at an
angle of about 17.5 degrees below true horizontal.
SBT trajectory - top view
These figures are comparable to those determined in previous
trajectory analysis conducted by the FBI in 1964 (WR106) and the
HSCA's Photographic Panel in 1978. (6HSCA46)
[IMAGE]When this trajectory path is projected rearward, it is found to
intersect the front face of the Texas School Book Depository at the
southeast corner of the sixth floor. The trajectory line passes
through the half open window located at that position, over a stack of
boxes believed to have been used as a gun rest, and into the area
referred to as the "sniper's nest."
[IMAGE]This projected firing source is consistent with eyewitness
accounts and physical evidence which point to the sniper's nest as the
source of at least some of the gunfire.
SBT trajectory - aerial view
[IMAGE]There are a number of potential sources for error in plotting a
trajectory using the method described above. The creation of the
objects, positioning of those objects, and locating the wounds are all
possible sources of statistical error. Despite the rigorous checks
that were performed to minimize these errors, it is important to
understand that statistical errors are inevitable. It is equally
important to note that these errors are minimal and within margins
anticipated with this type of recreation.
[IMAGE]For instance, blueprints from the 1978 restoration project were
used to construction the model of the Texas School Book Depository.
Upon completion, the dimensions of the sixth floor sniper's nest
window were checked against the actual window dimensions provided by
officials from The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The model was
found to be within one inch of the actual dimensions. This shows the
overall model to have a better than 99.9% accuracy level - well within
tolerances for this project.
[IMAGE]Because the construction of Dealey Plaza was based on survey
maps, a high degree of accuracy was obtained, particularly in the
creation of Elm Street - a crucial feature in establishing any
assassination trajectory. The slope of the road, and its relationship
to the Book Depository were among the many details available in the
1978 Drommer & Associates survey map. The Elm Street portion of the
Dealey Plaza model shows a better than 99.4% accuracy level.
[IMAGE]The positioning of the limousine is another potential source of
error, although much less so than other sources. By matching the speed
of the limousine model to the actual limousine seen in the Zapruder
film, these potential errors are further reduced. The film's multiple
frame count provides a "sample rate" that assures a close alignment.
At any given frame, the limousine model is calculated to be within 4
inches of its real world counterpart. The error associated with this
figure would be negligible on any trajectory analysis.
[IMAGE]The greatest source of potential error lies in positioning the
occupants in the limousine since their positions will determine the
relationship of the entrance and exits wounds to the environment of
Dealey Plaza, and hence, any plotted trajectory. Potential errors in
establishing the correct relationship between the wounds and the
environment can be depicted through the use of trajectory cones.
To illustrate the potential error associated with positioning JFK and
JBC at the time they were apparently both struck by a single bullet
(Z223), two cones were created. The apex of both cones converge at a
single point that lies along the calculated straight-line trajectory
path between the exit wound in JFK's throat and the entrance wound in
JBC's back. Both cones are then splayed in opposite directions; one
forward along the path toward JBC's back wound (illustrating potential
errors in positioning of JBC's back wound in 3D-space) and the other
backward toward JFK's throat wound (illustrating potential errors in
positioning JFK's throat wound in 3D-trajectory error cone - JBC chest woundspace).
The point at which the apex of the two cones converge lies closer to
JFK's throat wound because the potential error associated with the
placement of that exit wound in 3D space is less than the error
associated with fixing the position of the entrance wound in JBC's
[IMAGE]It was determined that except for turning his head
approximately 54 degrees to the right (accompanied by a very slight
torso rotation), then back to a nearly forward position, there were no
major changes in JFK's posture after about Zapruder frame 161 (a
conclusion also reached by the HSCA Photographic Panel [6HSCA44])
Forensic pathologist Dr. Clyde Snow told the HSCA that laboratory
tests showed that the elasticity of the skin would have caused the
position of the exit wound in JFK's throat to move only slightly from
the position shown in the autopsy photographs - approximately 0.04
inches to the right and 0.4 inches upward. (6HSCA45) This of course,
[IMAGE]The greater potential error lies in fixing the 3D position of
the entrance wound in JBC's back. There could be up to a 6 degree
rotational error (heading, pitch, bank) in matching JBC's position to
any point in the Zapruder film (particularly in the earliest portions
of the film, less in later portions). A 6-degree rotational error
would move the entrance wound on JBC's back up to an inch in any
2. THE MOTIVES:
Why was President Kennedy assassinated? Many reasonable speculations
have been offered. None, however, has been positively proven.
One set of theories says that it was the president's plans for Vietnam
that prompted his murder. By 1963 (the assassination year), the United
States was becoming more and more involved in the Vietnam war. The
U.S. had already sent supplies, arms, and several thousand "advisers"
But the president wanted to go no further in aiding South Vietnam. He
was ready to stop sending aid, even though South Vietnam claimed to
have a democratic government and an army eager to wage war against
North Vietnam. The president said that Vietnam was too far away from
the United States, that South Vietnam's claim to democracy was false,
and that the U.S. had no business sending American troops to fight in
what was really a local war.
So, the theory goes, the president was killed by those who wanted the
United States to become actively involved in the Vietnam war. Another
theory holds that Kennedy was killed because he failed to help the
Cuban exiles in their 1961 attempt to invade Cuba and overthrow the
Communist government of Fidel Castro. And still another theory claims
that, because he did not destroy Cuba in the Cuban missile crisis of
1962, he angered anti-Castro factions and so was slain.
Another theory involves the president's relationship with his brother
when Robert Kennedy was attorney general. Robert was a relentless foe
of organized crime. The only way to stop the attorney general was to
kill the president. That's what some investigators think. They accuse
the Mafia Leaders and Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamster Union chief. Mind you,
we are talking theory. No real proof exists.
3. THE MEN INVOLVED:
The movie "JFK" was first shown in December, 1991, and will probably
continue to be shown in theatres, on TV, and on videocassettes for
years to come. "JFK”‘s screen credits acknowledge the help of two
books: Jim Garrison's "On the Trail of the Assassins" and Jim Marr's
"Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy."
The Garrison book is the partial autobiography of this former New
Orleans district attorney. It is mainly about his struggle to convict
a man named Clay Shaw for involvement in the Kennedy slaying. The book
also tells of Shaw's friendship with Oswald during the summer of '63
in New Orleans, AKA the Big Easy. Garrison argues that Shaw's
connection with Oswald makes him part of the Kennedy slaying.
Garrison's book ends with the not-guilty verdict that freed Clay Shaw.
"On the Trail of the Assassins" is a true-to-life story, perhaps
over-dramatized a bit when Garrison puts made-up words in his
character's mouths. Marr's book is factual, without a story line as in
the Garrison book. It gathers up the accounts of many investigators,
but comes to no final conclusions.
The movie "JFK" is something else again. It follows the story line of
the Garrison book---up to a point, that is. The stunning conclusion
abandons the cautious approach of the Garrison and Marrs books.
Instead, it puts a direct, sweeping accusation in the mouth of a
fictitious character known only as "X."
X proclaims that the conspiracy to kill JFK extends right up the
highest levels of the U.S. government---to the Pentagon, to the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, to the FBI and the CIA, and to the White House
The movie's director, producer, and writer are all one man: Oliver
Stone. He is responsible for all these statements, and more. He goes
on to tie in the military with American industry in a
It should be noted that Stone does not name names, He only says that
certain high-ranking men in these organizations were responsible for
the death of the president. They wanted JFK killed because he was a
threat to their plans.
Stone further claims that American Industry wanted the Vietnam war to
continue for reasons of greed: the more war, the higher industrial
X's charge of conspiracy reaches up into the White House. Although X
does not directly accuse by name the president who followed JFK into
office, there can be no doubt that he meant President Lyndon B.
Johnson, in office from 1963 to 1969. Johnson was Kennedy's vice
president. Before that, he was the U.S. Senate's Majority Leader. He
ran the Senate with an iron hand.
Kennedy had chosen Johnson as his running mate because Johnson could
produce a winning number of votes. Johnson expected to take an active
role in the Kennedy government. After entering office in 1961,
however, he was largely ignored. His duties were mostly confined to
cutting the ribbon when a new bridge or park was dedicated.
And Johnson was losing many of his once-loyal Texas followers. He sat
silent, biding his time. That time came, his accusers say, when the
president rode in the open limousine down a Dallas street, Johnson,
his enemies claim, engineered the whole assassination program.
These are extremely serious charges, but they cannot be proven.
Investigators have not been able to definitively link LBJ to the
killing of JFK. There is no question that Johnson was an ambitious,
powerful politician. Author Craig Zirbel, in his book "The Texas
Connection," attempts to prove Johnson's guilt by eliminating all
other suspects. Eventually, only Johnson is left. Therefore, he must
be guilty, according to Zirbel.
As for Jack Ruby, Oswald's killer, new facts have come to life. Over
the years it has been shown that he was a close associate of many
criminals. They would have liked to see the president and his brother
killed so that their illegal and unlawful activities could expand. But
Ruby died, as we know, before he could tell his story.