Is there mathematical proof of a grassy knoll shooter?

Grassy knoll aftermath

The math of tragedy

Richard Charnin, a software consultant, says yes. He made the case on his blog last week. His argument is reprinted here:

Charnin writes:

Of 121 eyewitnesses, 51 (42%) said shots came from the Grassy Knoll area, 32 from the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD), and 38 had no opinion.

[Editor’s note: John McAdams’s survey of JFK eyewitnesses concluded 31% of people heard a shot from the knoll, 59% from the TSBD. I think the most comprehensive and dispassionate study is Stewart Galeanor’s  “216 Witnesses,” which found 52 people heard a shot from the knoll and 48 from the TSBD and 4 from both. It would be useful to run these numbers through Charnin’s analysis as well.]

Given the 0.42 probability of a witness being correct in stating that shots came from the Knoll, then the probability is 0.58 = 1-.42 that the witness was mistaken.

Therefore, the joint probability (PN) that ALL 51 witnesses were mistaken and that there was NOT a Grassy Knoll shooter is 0.58 to the 51st power.

PN = 0.58^51 = 8.6E-13 = 0.000000000000861 or 1 in 1,161,909,568,739 or 1 in 1.16 trillion

Therefore, the probability that there was a Grassy Knoll shooter is
PS = 1-PN = 0.999999999999139

Note that the calculation proof is conservative in assuming a 0.42 probability that a witness who stated that shots came from the Grassy Knoll was correct. If we exclude the 38 witnesses who had no opinion as to the origin of the shots, then 51 of 83 (62%) said shots came from the Grassy Knoll. There is a 38% probability a given witness would be mistaken. The probability that ALL 51 witnesses would be mistaken is much lower:

P= 0.38^51 = 3.71E-22
P= 1 in 2,697,966,622,402,536,000,000 or 1 in 2.7 billion trillion!

Of course, if ONE witness was correct in observing a shot from the Grassy Knoll, then all 51 were correct. Therefore, the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Lone Gunman shooting from the Texas Book Depository was bogus.

The JFKCalc spreadsheet includes a table of 800 witnesses who testified or were interviewed at the Warren Commission, Garrison trial and HSCA. Of this group, at least 60 (including 15 police and 3 Secret Service) stated that the shots came from the Grassy Knoll; 16 said the TSBD (including 6 police); 12 had no opinion. Six (6) of the 60 witnesses (including 3 police) who said shots came from the Knoll died suspiciously.


Editor’s note:

This article is not open for comments.

I know Charnin believes that the 2004 election was stolen and writes about it at length. I disagree and don’t read about it any length.

I’m looking for mathematically inclined readers to assess Charnin’s analysis of the Dealey Plaza testimony. If you want to send a commentary of less than 500 words about the merits of Charnin’s case, do it here. I’ll publish the best of them.

If you want to know more about what JFK witnesses saw in Dealey Plaza, read this article.










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