Comment of the week

By Josiah Thompson – November 15

MY COMMENTS IN CAPS:

Why would he have ”procured a .30 caliber unfired projectile that WE had placed on the stretcher cart in our reenactment.”

WRIGHT DIDN’T “PROCURE” ANYTHING. HE HAD A .30 CAL PROJECTILE IN HIS DESK AND WE USED IT WITH TOMLINSON AND WRIGHT TO REENACT THE FINDING OF THE BULLET. WE PUT IT BY THE PAD ON A GURNEY AND MOVED THE GURNEY TO VARIOUS POSITIONS. PHOTOS SHOWING THE .30 PROJECTILE LYING BY THE PAD ON A GURNEY ARE PUBLISHED IN SIX SECONDS. THEY ALSO ARE POLAROIDS I TOOK.

How many hospital security directors have unfired .30 caliber rifle rounds laying around in their desk drawers? GOD KNOWS WHY WRIGHT HAD A PROJECTILE IN HIS DESK, BUT HE DID.

Why would he have let you take this precious round out of the hospital in the first place?
PRECIOUS? IT WASN’T PRECIOUS. IT WAS JUST SOME BULLET THAT ENDED UP IN HIS DESK DRAWER. AND FIFTY YEARS LATER YOU THINK THERE IS SOMETHING ODD ABOUT HIM GIVING IT TO ME?

Why didn’t you photograph it at the hospital if it was so important?

WE DID PHOTOGRAPH IT ON A GURNEY. HE LET ME KEEP IT SO THERE WAS NO URGENCY TO PHOTOGRAPHING IT. THAT’S WHY I PHOTOGRAPHED IT BACK AT THE SHERATON.

Why a Polaroid? I thought that you were on assignment for a magazine-and all that they could come up with was a Polaroid camera?
“THEY” (LIFE MAGAZINE}DIDN’T COME UP WITH SQUAT. PATSY SWANK, LIFE’S STRINGER IN DALLAS, GOT US INTO PARKLAND VIA HER HUSBAND WHO WAS A DISTINGUISHED ARCHITECT. WE COULDN’T BRING A PHOTOGRAPHER. I BELIEVE, I BORROWED THE POLAROID FROM MY MOTHER.

Why didn’t YOU bring the unfired round for a reenactment? I DID. THE PHOTOS ARE IN SIX SECONDS.

Are the two witnesses to these events alive? I DON’T KNOW. PATSY SWANK DIED A FEW YEARS AGO.

Did Wright ever repeat this claim to anybody else? I DON’T KNOW.

Why do you claim that the Harper fragment was found 25 feet to the left of the limo when your source ( not Harper) stated that it was found 25 feet SOUTH-an entirely different kettle of fish for a vehicle traveling southwest?
Have you ever seen an autopsy? Why do you completely discount the autopsy findings when they are the only real scientific way to determine cause of death and establish direction of missiles transiting a body after a firearm injury?

24 comments

  1. Bob Prudhomme says:

    Something else that does not seem to get a lot of attention. The 6.5mm Carcano was a military rifle and, until it became available as a sporting rifle in North America, the 6.5mm Carcano cartridges were invariably loaded with full metal jacket bullets.

    However, the 30-30 rifle, made famous by the Winchester Model 1894 rifle, was a flat and very light bush rifle designed specifically to be carried in a scabbard attached to the saddle of a horse. I have seen a great deal of 30-30 ammo in my time and, while I don’t doubt it is available, I have yet to see a 30-30 cartridge loaded with a full metal jacket bullet. The ones I have seen have all been soft point hunting bullets, either round nosed or the ever popular “round nosed flat point” bullets. This is understandable, considering the 30-30 is used mainly for hunting and varmint control.

    O.P Wright seemed to be quite savvy about firearms. Would he not have noticed this obvious difference? Would he not also have noticed and remarked on how much shorter most .30 calibre bullets are than the freakishly long 162 grain 6.5mm Carcano bullets?

    • Bob Prudhomme says:

      Know why pointed bullets were not recommended for the Winchester Model 1894 30-30 lever action rifle, or most of the other lever action rifles?

      The Model ’94 has a tubular magazine for storing its cartridges that runs underneath the barrel. In this magazine, the bullets are stacked end to end, with the nose of one bullet up against the primer at the base of the next bullet. It was believed that if the nose of a pointed bullet was against the next bullet’s primer, sudden jarring (such as a hard trotting horse) could set the next bullet off, identical to what the firing pin of a rifle would do. The round or flat nosed bullets spread this contact out over a larger area, and lessened the chance of disaster.

      • Tom S. says:

        Bob,
        I do not own a firearm, but for reasons I am not going comment on here, I have several reasons to be interested in the history of Winchester Repeating Arms.
        I read this, about a man who IMO was a genius, especially considering the primitive conditions of his time, no electric power or modern metal working tools, or measuring devices, and comparatively incomplete metallurgical science. The 150th anniversary of this inventor’s breakthrough, the Model 1866,
        aka “yellowboy” precursor of the Model 94, is less than six months away. Herb Houze, who I quoted from the link I posted a couple of sentences back from his 2011 book, is the former curator of the Cody Museum’s Winchester Collection. When I read what he wrote, I thought it was an example of laziness on his part. It was not easy, but I accomplished what he wrote off. Months ago I used the only contact I could find and sent an email to an Illinois college professor who is the spouse of one of two sisters who are the only direct descendants to the closest relative of the Model 1866 inventor who had had children who lived. I received no reply to the email. I want to contact the other surviving great-great-great niece of the inventor. What would you tell her? I happen to think that the improvement wrought in the Model 1866 was stunning not only because of the side load gate which could be machined into either side, but also because a shooter no longer had to take his or her eye of the target while reloading, or take the time to refill the entire magazine from the awkward loading position of the Henry rifle. Did you know that Benjamin Tyler Henry had been Oliver Winchester sewing machine mechanic in the prior business, a shirt making company? Since I spent only time and use of the internet to find what Herb Houze dismissed as lost to history, and because of my high opinion of this invention, I feel strongly that this man’s memory should be honored next March in a manner he was never accorded. I’ve located his grave and I would like to read suggestions from interested people on how to raise the profile of the inventor of the Model 1866’s “enhancements” to make it possible to honor his memory and achievement. I have wasted time trying to inform descendants before anyone else, but the time for that is over. Would you agree that this inventor was the Henry Ford of repeating long guns? I understand that John Browning built on the Model 1866 foundation.

        The link I posted to Herb Houze’s claim does resolve, but cannot be seen in the text without a mouseover, so I will also post it here.:
        http://jfk.education/images/KingHerbHouze.jpg

        • Bob Prudhomme says:

          Thank you for that, Tom. I was unaware of Nelson King’s contribution to the development of the lever action rifle, and have wrongly credited John Browning for the totality of this work.

          It is interesting to see that the Model 1866 was introduced shortly after the Civil War. One can only imagine how the introduction of the Henry rifle, a lever action predecessor of the Model 1866, affected the outcome of any battle it was involved in during the Civil War. Considering most troops were armed with single shot rifles, and many of these were muzzle loaders, a repeating rifle would be seen as some kind of super weapon. Confederates called the Henry “that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!”

        • Bill Clarke says:

          John Browning was a genius in his own right. The M-2 .50 caliber machine gun he invented after WWI is still in use today and sits on the Abrams tank. Except for improved materials I don’t think anyone has improved on Browning’s 1911 model pistol. I carried one in Vietnam and I think it was a political correct mistake for us to change to the 9mm pistol.

    • Charles says:

      Bob writes: the ever popular “round nosed flat point” bullets

      I think the offical term is “semiwadcutter” to describe bullets of this design.

      • Bob Prudhomme says:

        Yes, that would be the appropriate name for it, although I have never seen a box of 30-30 cartridges labelled as semi-wadcutters. Once again, I do not profess to have seen everything, and there may be places where they are labelled this way.

        Many often wonder how this rifle got its name, that sounds like someone stuttering when saying “thirty”. The meaning of the name is quite definitive, and is broken down as a .30 calibre rifle cartridge loaded with 30 grains of the new (in 1895) smokeless gunpowder. Another cartridge designated this way was the military cartridge, the 30-40 Krag, developed in the early 1890’s as well, and also a .30 calibre bullet but loaded with 40 grains of smokeless powder.

        This followed a long American tradition of designating calibres and gunpowder loads, although, before the 1890’s, the second designation referred to blackpowder. For instance, following the Civil War, in the 1870’s, the US Army adopted the .45-70 Government cartridge as a replacement for the .50-70 Government cartridge adopted in 1866. The full designation was .45-70-405, meaning a .45 calibre bullet (.458″ in diameter), propelled by 70 grains of blackpowder, with a bullet weight of 405 grains.

        A bullet of that weight would be like being shot by a small cannon.

    • Bill Clarke says:

      “I have seen a great deal of 30-30 ammo in my time and, while I don’t doubt it is available, I have yet to see a 30-30 cartridge loaded with a full metal jacket bullet”.

      I’ve had the same experience Bob. Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading list around 30 different 30 caliber bullets (.308). In this group is of course a FMJ bullet that one could load for the 30-30. Like Bob, I have never seen his done. I suspect this would require special order or hand loading. It seems that the fur traders like a FMJ to limit damage to the pelt.

      • Bob Prudhomme says:

        I know trappers in this area that have used .22 LR or .22 Magnums to limit damage to pelts, as well. I would think a 30-30 FMJ bullet would go straight through a fur bearing animal, and put two holes in the pelt, instead of just one.

  2. Roy W Kornbluth says:

    As a youngster of a mere 61 years, I’d like to say, Dr. Thompson, I think it’s totally awesome, neat, and cool that you take all that time to set a benighted youngster straight. He’s only 58, but that is no excuse. I think it’s willful, maybe feigned, ignorance on his part. He ain’t stupid. Just ask him and he’ll tell you: he passed the Bar.

    Some points I haven’t seen mentioned recently about the pointy .30+” diameter bullet, which became a rounded .264″ bullet, which became CE399, a truly magic bullet:

    — O. P. Wright, Personnel Director of Security at Parkland Hospital, was no young troublemaker. He had already retired once as Deputy Police Chief of Dallas, after a full career as a lawman.

    — Until the mighty Josiah Thompson talked with OPW, he did not like talking about the bullet that fell off a gurney. In a three-page, single-spaced report he wrote soon after the assassination, OPW did not even mention that bullet, though he mentioned all kinds of minutiae. D. Lifton’s Best Evidence p. 591: “When I called Wright in the summer of 1966 and asked about this omission, he refused to discuss the matter.”

    — After midnight the night of the assassination, Darrell Tomlinson, who found the bullet (the wrong bullet as it turned out for the War Con’s purposes) that Jack Ruby planted on the stretcher of 2 1/2 year old Ronald Fuller, who had bled on it profusely (J. Thompson, Six Seconds in Dallas, p.160)–DT received a threatening phone call from FBI. Told DT to keep his mouth shut. “Just don’t discuss it.” (Lifton, 591)

    — The two stretchers, A and B, were in their spot a good while before DT found the planted slug. He had been up and down the elevator a few times since they were first put there. He only went to the stretchers because one, DT assumed, “had been pushed out from the wall by someone entering the men’s room.” (J. Thompson’s Six Seconds in Big D, p.157)

    — There’s so much more, but I’ve always wondered this: O. P. Wright seemed, to me (from other accounts), to be a rather curmudgeonly, close-mouthed, angry fellow. How did you get him to talk?

  3. I too would like to commend Mr Thompson for taking the time to join the discussion here on JFKfacts.

    There is obviously no valid chain of possession of the so called “evidence” on exhibit as CE399.

    What is remarkable is the initial burlesque in play in the beginning before the perpetrators finally settled on an official script. Vincent Michael Palamara illustrates how jumbled the tale is in his article;
    ‘The Secret Service and CE 399’ — which is quite hilarious as a Keystone Cops routine:
    http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/palamara.htm
    \\][//

    • Photon says:

      Where is the esteemed Dr. Thompson?
      Willy, it has been three days and he has yet to address your questions about the authenticity of his claims, let alone my rather basic questions.

      • Bob Prudhomme says:

        He must be hiding from you, Dr. Photon.

        *sarcasm off*

      • You talkin’ to me Photon? I am not Mr Thompson’s keeper.

        Perhaps Mr Thompson feels as I do, that your questions are irrelevant.
        \\][//

      • For instance Photon, you asked, “Why do you completely discount the autopsy findings when they are the only real scientific way to determine cause of death and establish direction of missiles transiting a body after a firearm injury?”

        This is a preposterous question! That so-called “autopsy” was clearly a burlesque performed by clowns puppeted by the perpetrators who killed Kennedy.

        Going through the details that prove this so, is futile if you don’t get it by now.
        \\][//

        • Photon says:

          How would you know?
          Ever seen one? Ever assisted at one? Has anyone on this site who has claimed to be an expert on the conduct of autopsies actually been in an autopsy suite when the Y incision is made?

          • Roy W Kornbluth says:

            Way back in the day, Photon, before I met you at college in the mid-1970s, I was a hospital orderly for about a year. It was one of our duties to help get the dead bodies settled in the morgue. Few full autopsies were performed there in 1973-4; they pretty much knew how and why John Doe met his end. I did see a few gunshot wounds. I was invited to help at a couple partial autopsies, but I declined.

            For some reason, a few doctors took a shine to me (thought I could be a doctor or something because I took good care of their patients) and invited me to watch a few operations, which is probably verboten nowadays. I took them up on it. One thing I learned about my scanty morgue and OR experiences, vis a vis JFK’s autopsy, was that the doctor in charge was ALWAYS the most qualified medico available. Which kind of casts suspicion on the selection of Dr. Humes for Kennedy’s inquest, the most important of the century, maybe of all history.

          • “How would you know?”~Photon

            I can read.

            On the original page with Thomson’s remarks you asked this question;
            ““Why do you completely discount the autopsy findings when they are the only real scientific way to determine cause of death and establish direction of missiles transiting a body after a firearm injury?”

            Now the key issue you raise here is establishing the direction of missiles transiting a body, which is in fact one of the main points of criticism of the so-called “autopsy”.

            Every single person here who is even vaguely familiar with this issues knows that the dissection of the muscles necessary to track the paths of the missiles in question was NOT performed.

            Anyone who has followed this case know exactly WHY this standard autopsy procedure was NOT performed. Col Finck spilled the beans at the Garrison trial. The procedure was prevented on orders of the general officers in the gallery.

            And this is precisely what I mean by “puppeting” the doctors who were supposed to prosecuting the autopsy.

            It is therefore a fact that the assertion of a missile transiting the body is NOT established; it is merely an assertion based on empty presumption.

            Whether I have attended an autopsy is immaterial to understanding these facts on record.
            \\][//

          • George Simmons says:

            In reply to Photon, Nov 18th, 10:17pm

            This is what Jeremy Gunn, Chief Counsel for the ARRB, had to say about the autopsy :

            “The autopsy that was performed in Bethesda Naval Hospital was a disgrace”

  4. Bob Prudhomme says:

    One of the most interesting semi-auto rifles designed by John Browning in 1900, and adopted by many Southern law enforcement agencies, including the Texas Rangers, was the rifle ultimately marketed in 1906 as the Remington Model 8. On the day of the assassination, Detective Elmer Boyd of the DPD can be seen descending the steps of the TSBD, ahead of Fritz, and toting a Remington Model 8 rifle.

    The strange action of the Model 8 is recoil operated. When the cartridge is fired, the barrel and bolt move rearward together and compress two coil springs. Upon compression of these springs, the bolt is held back while the barrel returns to its firing position. In the process the empty cartridge is stripped from the chamber and ejected. The second spring then returns the bolt to the firing position, picking up a fresh cartridge on its way there and chambering it.

    I have watched one of these being fired, and it is very odd to see the inner and outer barrel moving back and forth with each shot.

  5. Photon says:

    Since this comment Dr.Thompson has not addressed this issue further. He has not posted any evidence that he had two witnesses to his O.P. Wright story, aside from a well-known Dallas individual who is deceased. He has not explained the 30-30 claims that he made in regards to Mr. Wright. He has not clarified his claim that Hargis stated that he was “struck with such force that he thought he was hit”- when Hargis on at least three occasions stated that he “drove through” aerosolized blood and later told Sherry Fiester that “it spread out and hung in the air a minute”. He has yet to explain why for years he has claimed that the Harper fragment was found to the LEFT of the limo position at the time of the head shot, not SOUTH as his source originally stated-an entirely different position. Even that position was corrected by Harper himself nearly twenty years ago-something Dr. Thompson has never addressed.
    Where is Dr. Thompson?

    • Roy W Kornbluth says:

      Phot,
      I don’t get it. The limo was heading west on Elm, so to JFK’s left IS south. Left, south, what’s the diff? I hope you’re not losing it, old boy.

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