The JFK Assassination: (1482 words) Essay

The JFK Assassination:Conspiracy or Single-gunman?
Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator of Germany during World War II, once said, The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it. Although this may sound ludicrous, we can see many example of this in the world’s history. One example would have to be the John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination. For over thirty years the people of the United States were led to believe that a single gunman shot and killed Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. Maybe they were wrong.

According to the old facts regarding the case of the JFK assassination, a single gunman killed Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time), Kennedy was riding in an open limousine through Dallas, Texas. At this time, Kennedy was shot in the head and neck by a sniper. He was then taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Later, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, at a nearby theater. By the next morning, Oswald was booked for the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Two days later, Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner killed Oswald while he was being moved from the city to the county jail.

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At a glance, the above story sounds as if this should be an open-and-shut case. After all, according to the facts above, Oswald must have killed Kennedy. However, you must take a closer look at this case. Many people who witnessed the murder of John F. Kennedy dispute the facts above, saying that they heard shots from places besides the book depository and other things that may contradict what is stated above. One of these witnesses, Abraham Zapruder, captured the entire assassination on his Bell and Howell eight-millimeter movie camera. This movie, cleverly called the Zapruder Film, is the single best piece of visual evidence in this case.

In order to clearly understand the Zapruder Film, it is necessary to break it down into frames. The particular Bell and Howell movie camera that Zapruder was using ran at eighteen and three-hundredths (18.3) frames per second. When using this frame system, you must remember that all shots were actually fired several frames before the number that is assigned to them. For example, the fatal heard wound, called Z313, was probably fired at Z310, since it took 2-3 frames at 18.3 frames per second for the bullet to reach the victim. Also, you must remember that sound travels at about one thousand-one hundred (1,100) feet per second, or a little over half as fast as the Mannlicher Carcano’s bullets.

When keeping this in mind, it is expected that witnesses heard the shot at some point after the bullet passed. The following shows a break down of the frames of the Zapruder film:
– The Presidential limousine first comes into view at frame 133 (the starting point of this timeline.) – The first shot at (or just before) Z187 would have passed through both Governor Connally and the President.

– The second shot, which passed above the limousine at Z284, missed the President and hit the curb near witness James Tague. This caused his minor wound.

– At Z313, the fatal shot occurs, which blew out major portions of the Presidents brain and skull.

– A fourth shot occurred at Z323 (slightly 1/2 second after the fatal wound at Z313). Due to the proximity of this report to the one at Z313, as well as it’s more distant origin, most witnesses were unable to hear this shot.

Thus, the above is when the bullets hit either Kennedy or Connally, or passed through the frames of the Zapruder film (in the case of the second shot). Of the one-hundred seventy-eight (178) witnesses at Dealey Plaza, one-hundred thirty-two
(132) said that they heard exactly three shots. If Oswald was a single gunman, it would have taken him at least 2.3 seconds to reload his Mannlicher Carcano rifle.

However, the general consensus of the witnesses is that they heard a single shot, followed by silence, with the second and third shots bunched together. For example, Lee Bowers, one of the witnesses, testified, I heard three shots, one, then a slight pause, then two very close together.

Also, Warren W. Taylor, a Secret Service agent, said, As a matter of course, I opened the door and prepared to get out of the car. In the instant that my left foot touched the ground, I heard two more bangs and realized that they must be gun shots.

Lastly, when Miss Willis, a witness, was asked if she heard any shots, she testified, Yes; I heard one. Then there was a little bit of time, and then there were two real fast bullets together. When the first one hit, well, the President turned from waving to the people, and he grabbed his throat, and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn’t tell where the second shot went.

Thus, it would have been impossible for one gunman to fire a shot with the Mannlicher Carcano rifle, reload, fire again, and fire again in a very short amount of time in order to make the shots sound close together. Also, when the fatal shot hit
Kennedy, his head went back and to the left, implying that the bullet came from the front and right, not from the back.

Although many people dispute the single bullet theory, this may be true. To understand why, you must understand the trajectory of the bullet and the angles involved. The bullet, if fired from the Texas School Book Depository, should have hit Kennedy at a 21 degree angle, and, in fact, it did. Also, President Kennedy was sitting nearly six inches above the level of Connally’s seat. Thus, when the bullet left the President, it hit Connally, who was turned 15-20 degrees. When the bullet hit Connally, the hole in his back was 5/8 inches wide by 1/4 inches high, or more than twice as wide as tall. This means that the bullet was partially turned sideways when it entered Connally’s back. Thus, the bullet must have hit something before it hit Connally. Also, the bottom of the bullet that was found was broken open and was extruding tiny particles of lead. X-rays taken at Parkland showed precisely that type of particle embedded in the Governor’s wrist and thigh wounds. However, even if the single bullet theory is true, it in no way lessens the fact that there could have been multiple gunmen, and there may have been a conspiracy. (The magic bullet is thought to be bullet one on the Zapruder film.)
Lastly, one has to consider what the biggest motives would be to kill the President. One motive has to deal with President Kennedy trying to get out of Vietnam. This war was the biggest business in America at the time. It brought in over eighty billion dollars a year. Thus, since the President was trying to get out of the war, he would have been costing businessmen a lot of money. Also, Vice-president Johnson would have profited a lot because he was the next to become president. Thus, people, including the vice-president, had motives to kill the President.

As you can see, the killing of John F. Kennedy was more so a conspiracy than a single gunman. There is no way that a single gunman could have fired all the bullets that hit Kennedy and Connally in that short period of time. Also, since Kennedy’s head went back and to the left, the bullet must have been fired from the front and right of Kennedy. This shows that there was another gunman, which makes this a conspiracy. Someday, it would be nice if the truth is revealed about who fired the bullets, and how many gunmen there actually were. Until then, people like me will bite our nails trying to figure out what actually happened.

1. Harris, Robert. The Assassination of President John F. KennedyA Reassessment of Original Testimony and Evidence.

2. Harris, Robert. The Single Bullet TheoryA Question of Probability.

3. Newman, John. Oswald and the CIA. Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc. New York1995.

4. Summers, Anthony. Conspiracy. McGraw-Hill Book Company. New York: 1981.

5. JFK Directed by Oliver Stone. Warner Bros., Inc. 1991.

1From the courtroom scene in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

2From The Assassination of President John F. KennedyA Reassessment of Original Testimony and Evidence, at
3 From, The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A Reassessment of Original Testimony and Evidence, at From, The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A Reassessment of Original Testimony and Evidence, at http:///

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