Stephen Hunter goes ballistic: ‘The Third Bullet’ rethinks the JFK story

Bob Lee Swagger cracks the case.

Stephen Hunter is the cleverest JFK assassination conspiracy theorist to come along in many a year, so clever that few of his fellow theorists have even noticed that he is one.

In his latest novel, “The Third Bullet,” Hunter pulls off a an authorly act of legerdemain: he dresses up a rigorous reading of the forensic evidence about the assassination fo President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in the guise of an international shoot ’em up thriller.

The trail of adventure runs from Baltimore to Moscow to Dallas as Hunter’s creaky alter ego Bob Lee Swagger, a humble soldier of fortune who packs a mean pistol, solves the crime of the century while chatting up old buddies and twitching for a drink. 

This is not a tale for the literal-minded students of the often-baffling case of the murdered president. Hunter displays little of the righteousness that often adorns the various conspiracy and anti-conspiratorial accounts of Kennedy’s assassination. He disdains liberal pieties. “I don’t give a fuck about JFK,” Swagger says at one point. Hunter pokes fun at anti-conspiratorial oracle, Vincent Bugliosi.

Hunter fancies himself superior to those losers known as JFK conspiracy theorists. Yet he shares the conspiracy theorist’s obsessive interest in the details of this formative historical event and an abiding dissatisfaction with the official story — that one man alone killed JFK for no reason.

Stephen Hunter wants you to meet Bob Lee Swagger, JFK conspiracy theorist.

The story opens with Swagger in retirement brooding about a story he once heard about the Dal-Tex Building. For the uninitiated, the Dal-Tex building is an edifice in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza, from which some say gunshots were allegedly fired at President Kennedy. As Swagger investigates around the globe, Hunter uses the journey to showcases his deep reading of the case.

(Full disclosure: Hunter was a movie critic at the Washington Post at the same time I worked there, though I knew him only in passing. In a newsroom full of latte liberals he was welcomed as a Jack Daniels populist whose retro politics were redeemed only by lively prose and a healthy suspicion of management.)

Hunter’s facts

Did the Soviet KGB recruit Oswald to assassinate JFK during his time in the Soviet Union? (The archives of post-communist Russia say no.)

Could the CIA have learned via wiretaps in Mexico City that Oswald took a shot at retired right-wing general Edwin Walker in April 1963? (Yes, it’s possible.)

Was a gunshot from the so-called grassy knoll in front of JFK’s limousine easier than a shot from behind? (No.)

Did amoral and well-bred CIA officers regard Kennedy as a failed president whose assassination was morally justifiable. (Yes.)

Hunter’s rambling right-populist take on the JFK story is most convincing on the guns and ammunition involved. As a student of guns, he literally drills down in loving detail on the workings of the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle; the precision of the fatal shot that killed JFK; the bullet fragments found in Kennedy’s body and in the presidential limousine; how Oswald handled firearms, and so on.

In these areas, Hunter is not merely entertaining but fresh and informative. In the effort to account for the ballistic evidence, he sticks to the facts and works through the problems posed by the official story. I think his disdain for politics is ultimately untenable but it does free his analysis from the predictable grooves of the conspiracy debate.

Hunter’s observations

Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano was an inferior weapon that fired a relatively slow-moving bullet. Hunter doubts it was the murder weapon.

Oswald was not particularly skilled with a gun. Yes, he was rated as a “marksman” in the Marines Corps, but he failed to qualify as an “expert,” the mark of an accomplished shooter.

The bullet that killed JFK disintegrated upon impact in a way that an ordinary Mannlicher-Carcano bullet would not. The official investigations never accounted for this fact.

And in the panicky aftermath of the assassination, Oswald inexplicably returned to his boarding house to fetch a pistol that he could have brought with him to work that morning. What prompted him to suddenly need a firearm? Swagger concludes, correctly I think, that after Kennedy was killed, Oswald knew his life as in danger.

Hunter’s theory

If I read him right, Hunter isn’t actually proposing a conspiracy theory that is Historical Truth. He’s proposing a different way of thinking about JFK. The best way to understand the causes of Kennedy’s death, he suggets, is to reason backwards from the incontrovertible ballistic evidence to the guns that caused it.

In the story, Swagger reconciles the conflicting gun evidence with a speculative theory about the third bullet — the bullet that killed Kennedy. Swagger figures out that a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet can be loaded into the cartridge of .264 Winchester Magnum round, which could then be loaded into the more powerful and accurate .264 Winchester Magnum rifle. (In an afterword, Hunter says he has actually pulled off this trick.)

Hunter adheres to the logic of his evidence. Such a bullet fired from the Winchester rifle would travel much faster than a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet (3,000 feet per second vs. less than 2,000 feet per second) and would explode on impact, leaving only the kind of tiny fragments found inside Kennedy’s shattered skull. Since such a bullet could not have come from an ordinary bullet fired by Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano, there must have been a second gunman.

And who could have managed such ballistic mastery? The most likely suspect, says the ever politically incorrect Hunter, would be  a U.S. intelligence officer experienced in the business of killing and covering his tracks, i.e, a senior CIA operative.

Hunter’s tale

Hunter, the author of no less than 18 books, knows how to spice up his assassination pedagogy: with a shootout in Moscow in which Swagger mows down a brigade of Russian mafiosos, with occasional food porn flings in some of Dallas’s finer restaurants, and with that recurring motif of the JFK literature, the unpublished memoir of an unrepentant CIA man.

For some “The Third Bullet” will seem ideologically incoherent. Hunter takes every opportunity to channel the Warren Commission and its modern day embellishers, Bugliosi and Gerald Posner, in depicting Castro supporter Lee Harvard Oswald as a “pathetic creep” who fired shots at President Kennedy from the 6th floor window in a bid for Marxist glory.

Yet Hunter’s narrative ultimately depicts Oswald as the hapless patsy of a small faction of CIA officers who oppose JFK’s policies in Vietnam as dangerous to American soldiers. In Hunter’s tale, the third bullet was the work of JFK’s enemies in the CIA, not that Swagger gives a damn. He doesn’t much care for Kennedy or Oswald. Cranky to the end, he lionizes J.D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer whom Oswald shot dead when he realized he had been played for a patsy. To the cynical Swagger, Tippit is more the hero than JFK.

Hunter’s irreverent approach to the JFK story is bracing. He  seeks to pierce the veil of mystery that still surrounds Dallas, not by excluding evidence that contradicts his politics, but by finding an explanation that reconciles the apparent contradictions of the evidence. He spins his yarn for a reason.

As Hunter told the Baltimore Sun earlier this year:

There must be millions of people who are at least familiar with the gigantic mega-theories of conspiracy and find them extremely troubling and grotesque. But at the same time, the conclusion of the Warren Commission that Oswald acted alone is a disappointment.

I hope this book discovers the appropriate distance between the two and comes up with more of a sense of the possible. I tried to give the conspiracy a real-world sensibility: It’s improvised. It’s sloppy. Mistakes are made. Radical midcourse changes are made. There are arguments and bitterness between the participants.

You don’t have to agree with Hunter to appreciate his contribution. “The Third Bullet” is a fictional romp with a factual mission: to think afresh about the causes of JFK’s assassination











224 thoughts on “Stephen Hunter goes ballistic: ‘The Third Bullet’ rethinks the JFK story”

  1. D. E. Mitchell

    “…now i’ll add my “two cents worth!” There were at least ten to twelve rounds fired in the plaza that day in November. They can all be seen with the naked eye, caught on the extent version of the Z film, between the sprocket holes! If the “current version” of the Z film has been altered at Hawkeye Works, it was to enlarge the background, putting the bullet strikes between the sprocket holes, out of camera or, “view!” The SS agent driving the car testified that,”…a flurry” of rounds even came into the limo at the end of the event in the plaza. No doubt, the president was struck in the head a minimum of at least twice! Please guys, let’s not back peddle! I’m afraid the assassination will never be anything but a washout. The truth will most likely never be known in our time if ever…only speculated upon! The “legend” will become a fact! The official “story” will become the historical “truth!”- Don’t forget to “look between the sprocket holes!-DM

    1. Bob Prudhomme

      From the Warren Commission testimony of SSA Roy Kellerman:

      “Mr. SPECTER. Now, in your prior testimony you described a flurry of shells into the car. How many shots did you hear after the first noise which you described as sounding like a firecracker?
      Mr. KELLERMAN. Mr. Specter, these shells came in all together.
      Mr. SPECTER. Are you able to say how many you heard?
      Mr. KELLERMAN. I am going to say two, and it was like a double bang–bang, bang.
      Mr. SPECTER. You mean now two shots in addition to the first noise?
      Mr. KELLERMAN. Yes, sir; yes, sir; at least.
      Mr. SPECTER. What is your best estimate of the time, in seconds, from the first noise sounding like a firecracker until the second noise which you heard?
      Mr. KELLERMAN. This was instantaneous.”

      D.E. Mitchell

      Perhaps you should do better research before you start calling other people idiots. I highly doubt you actually have even read Kellerman’s testimony, in which he describes a “flurry” of shots coming into the car that turns out to be only two shots.

      You are the worst kind of “researcher” there is in the JFK community, the type that picks up all of his titbits of “evidence” from other equally unread “researchers”.

  2. D. E. Mitchell

    “…educated beyond your own intelligence! Bob…”Photon”…i’ve known a lot of educated idiots, and both of you are beginning to…no, you are both a couple of ( I presume) educated idiots, trying to “out distinguish” each other, but you only come across as a couple of dumb ass’es! Knock it off!”-DM


  3. D. E. Mitchell

    “…man…you guys have to come down off of your “high horses” I gotta tell you! “Those who think they know it all, really have a lot to learn” or, so my father used to say. And I agree with my father! If any of you people were half as smart as you thought you were, you’d be the Almighty! Hell; i’ve probably forgotten more than most of you know combined, and i’m an idiot! So, give it a rest, none of you are that damned smart, believe me!”-DM

  4. Photon

    January 2, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Are you claiming that the bullet went through the mediastinum ?


    Was that question directed to me? And, in a word, what on earth are you talking about?

  5. Photon
    January 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm
    I always enjoy the comments of non-scientists insulting those of us who have actually published in the scientific literature.
    Jeffc, do you have a degree in any scientific discipline ?
    Do you have a degree in anything?
    Ever take a college level course in physics, chemistry or mathematics?


    So, let us tally this all up. First, you tell us you are a medical doctor. Second, you are telling us you are a published scientist. Wow! I’ll bet you’re a rocket scientist too, eh?

    1. Not rocket scientist-only fired ’em,didn’t build ’em. But that is a Standard answer.
      Try the Green Journal. Those who know can tell you what publication that is.

  6. It is a verifiable fact that there is no tract for either the neck wound or the back wound. Humes was ordered no to dissect either wound by the generals in the galley. So having no PROOF to these two wounds, leaves one with either reasonable suspicion, or naive acceptance of empty assertions.

    1. That’s ridiculous ,Willy.Virtually any bullet making the wound in JFK’s back save from a BB gun would go through the neck-even a .22 Short. One would not need to dissect out the path to establish that once radiographs proved no missile was in the neck or back. The round went through the tissue equivalent of two boneless chicken breasts. As I previously stated, in 1963 when bullet wounds were dissected out at autopsy it was usually an attempt to recover the bullet, not to confirm the bullet’s trajectory. Other non-invasive techniques were available at the time for that purpose.
      Of course, this leads to the logical question concerning the myth of 2 separate shots causing the throat and back wounds: what kind of idiot would attempt to assassinate the President of the U.S. with a round so underpowered that it could not traverse two boneless chicken breasts? Perhaps the Red Ryder theory?

      1. Photon you are quite verbose in your response but do not acknowledge that there is simply no proven evidence that the bullet entering the back exited the body.
        The autopsy doctors didn’t even know that the neck wound was a bullet wound during the autopsy, and only found out the next morning from the Parkland staff that the tracheotomy was done over a bullet hole. A small circular bullet hole indicative of an entry wound by the way.

        There was deep bruising on Kennedy’s lung indicative that a bullet may have struck but not entered the lung.

        1. The autopsy report clearly indicates that both the parietal and visceral pleura at the site of the bruising were intact. That makes it impossible for a bullet to have struck the lung. Get out your Grant’s Method to review the anatomic relationships between the pleura and the lung.
          Since you are an expert on anatomy, perhaps you can answer a simple question: what are the 3 birds of the thoracic cage?

      2. High speed bullets can stop within 2 inches of travelling through soft tissue, if they are the correct type of bullet.

        Plus, “Dr.” Photon, you should be able to explain to us that the bullet going through JFK’s neck had to travel through more than the equivalent of two boneless chicken breasts. There just happens to be a stack of cervical vertebrae in the neck, sitting atop the thoracic vertebrae, that the bullet had to travel through to make the SBT work.

        Also, if a long stable bullet, such as the 162 grain 6.5 Carcano FMJ bullet, only went through the equivalent of two boneless chicken breasts, it would not have been tumbling upon exiting JFK, and it certainly would not have lost as much velocity as WC apologists would have us believe.

        1. Name one bullet caliber that would be stopped by tissue equivalent to 2 chicken breasts-and why anybody interested in killing someone would ever use such a round. Even rounds used by Sky Marshals are designed to penetrate equivalent tissue thickness without penetrating the aluminum skin of an airplane.
          There is no evidence that the round going through JFK’s neck hit any Vertebrae, Cervical or Thoracic. The barely visible transverse process fracture noted on JFK’s X-rays almost certainly was secondary to the cavitation effect of the round passing through his neck, just as the neural effect of his cord damage evidenced by his clenched fists and contracted arm muscles was not due to cord transection but to the pressure wave associated with said cavitation.
          Some time ago I quoted a study of approximately 100 neck wounds evaluated in the ER. The majority did not require surgical exploration despite the large number of significant structures in the neck. I am afraid that your perceptions of what a round would hit while passing through JFK’s neck are erroneous .Perhaps if you took a course in Gross Anatomy you might understand the 3-D relationships that are present.

          1. Photon

            Go to this website, and read about their hollow point frangible rifle bullets. They are made from compressed metal powder, contained in a jacket, and have a small hollow point nose. They will make a tiny entrance wound in a skull and, within 2 inches of travelling through brain matter (or the equivalent of two boneless chicken breasts) the hydraulic pressure of semi-fluid brain matter accumulating in the hollow point nose will cause this bullet to disintegrate into a cloud of metal dust powder that wreaks utter havoc on 4 inches of surrounding tissue.


      3. In the late 19th century, those who held the view that the earth was a globe were continually faced with a vociferous lobby who maintained the earth was flat. This lobby was buttressed by certified experts, who conducted scientific experiments which confirmed their views, but was most notable for furious outspoken attacks on any and all reasonable fact-based iterations which suggested the flat-earth proposition incorrect. From that facet of the human experience one might speculate that having to suffer the slings and arrows of the flat-earth Photons in 1878 is as predictable a phenomenon as enduring the single-bullet Photons in 2014.

        It was, of course, standard procedure to track the path of a bullet, particularly in an autopsy with such overwhelming medico-legal import. It is also a statement of fact that a wound in the back would encounter bone not chicken breast and -as both the WC and HSCA struggled with – could not line up in trajectory with the alleged snipers nest if the wound in the back is tracked in theory to the neck.

          1. I always enjoy the comments of non-scientists insulting those of us who have actually published in the scientific literature.
            Jeffc, do you have a degree in any scientific discipline ?
            Do you have a degree in anything?
            Ever take a college level course in physics, chemistry or mathematics?

          2. Interesting Jeff, I had thought the argument settled long before, but for some religious fanatics. Of course there has never been a shortage of those in any century.

        1. Jeffc, it is not necessary to dissect out a wound to determine a bullet’s path.Even probing a wound has to be done cautiously,as post-mortem tissue contraction can obscure the path and aggressive probing can create a false path. In the 1960s bullet wound dissection was done largely to recover the bullet for evidence, not to determine a path.
          You concept of the bone anatomy of the neck is flawed. It is entirely possible for a 6.5 mm round to transit the neck exactly as seen in JFK without hitting bone;I posted some time ago a study of about 100 neck bullet wounds presenting to the ER.In that series the large majority of patients did not even require surgery. Obviously a fair number of bullets entering necks never hit structures requiring intervention.I suggest that you take a course in Gross Anatomy before you make claims that you can’t back up.

          1. Photon

            A cross section of the human neck, at the level of the C7/T1 vertebrae, clearly shows the transverse processes (long bony projections out either side of the vertebrae) protruding far out to the sides of the vertebrae. A posterior view of the vertebrae at this level shows us that the transverse processes are stacked too closely together to allow a bullet to pass between them.

            The WCR tells us the Magic Bullet missed the outside tip of the shorter C7 transverse process but passed over top of the longer T1 transverse process.

            My calculations show that, for a bullet to pass through JFK’s neck, miss the right tip of the right T1 transverse process, and still pass through the right side of JFK’s trachea would require it to be travelling from right to left at a minimum angle of 23° measured from a line drawn through his spine and breastbone. If JFK was facing forward, this would also be 23° from a line drawn through the centre length of the limo.

            The Sniper’s Nest at the SE corner of the 6th floor of the TSBD was calculated to be, by the FBI and the SS, only 9° removed laterally from a line drawn lengthwise through JFK’s limo, at the supposed time of the SBT.

            Care to explain how the SBT achieved what appears, to any sane person, to be utterly impossible?

          2. Photon,

            The wound was in Kennedy’s back, not his neck:
            Clearly the bullet hit JFK in the back about 6 inches down from the collar and some 1 1/2 inches to the right of the back vertebrae, just above the scapula.

            “On the night of the autopsy Boswell prepared a diagram of the backside of JFK, marking a bullet’s entrance well below either “C-7” or “T-1.” Though the Warren Commission did not print it, an identical version of Boswell’s diagram turned up which was signed as “verified” by the President’s personal physician, George Burkley,[337] who gave his own evidence for a lower wound. In the official death certificate, which Burkeley wrote on 11-23-64, the day before he saw and verified the low wound depicted on Boswell’s face sheet, Burkeley wrote that, “A second wound occurred in the posterior back at about the level of the third thoracic vertebra.” [338] A good match for Boswell’s sketch. Other credible witnesses corroborated a lower wound.”

            There is also the position of the hole in both the shirt and jacket JFK was wearing at the time of the hit, which aligns with this position.

      4. Photon,
        Since you are spreading this issue of my quotes throughout several threads, I will give you a second source on this thread:

        “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State.”
        ―James Jesus Angleton
        ‘Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA’
        — By Edward Jay Epstein
        Epstein’s books Legend (1978) and Deception (1989) drew on interviews with retired CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Jesus Angleton.

  7. Photon

    The lack of an exit wound in the boar`s skull is not something that can be deciphered without looking at the boar`s skull. Suffice it to say, the frangible bullet would have disintegrated into metal powder inside the skull, and the only thing that might have exited his skull, had there been an “exit” wound, would have been fragments of the copper alloy jacket.

    Frangible bullets behave similarly to hollow point bullets in head wounds, although the results with hollow points are not so dramatic. I experimented with handloading hollow point bullets for a .308 calibre deer rifle, and made nothing but head shots on deer with them. Sometimes there would be a large blowout on the skull and sometimes, only an entrance wound and no “exit” wound. I have no idea why. I do know, though, that the blowout or “exit” wound was not always directly in line with the path of the bullet. Often, a shot in the side of the deer’s skull would blow out the top of his skull.

    I believe this goes a long way to explaining how a shot from the Grassy Knoll, striking JFK in the right temple, could “exit” the right rear of JFK’s skull. Of course, no bullet actually exited in the right rear, it was the buildup of hydraulic pressure in JFK’s skull that chose that point to escape.

  8. The quote above by John McAdams talking about official sources, versus Dan Campbell is so misleading as to be humorous.

    When you get a source like Gordon Novel, who is not being interviewed and not expecting to be quoted, or he is under oath, then that kind of testimony has credibility. Especially when it can be corroborated in more than one way. Gordon was being cross-examined aggressively when he talked about his relationship with Allen Dulles, and then corrected the examiner on where Dulles’ office was located.

    When Gordon revealed the cover up inside the CIA about Clay Shaw, that was in a private letter which was not supposed to be disclosed. And he named a person in charge of the cover up who no one had ever heard of before. That information about Shaw was then declassified in the nineties and recovered by Joan Mellen. So, in other words, Gordon knew something that was going on inside the CIA 20 years before that info was made public.

    This is how you measure testimony. McAdams knows nothing about this since he does about as much field investigation as Davison does. Which is why his book was such an easy target at CTKA.

    As per Dan Campbell, that exchange took place extemporaneously. He was talking about his previous experience with Oswald. They had been briefly in the same orphanage together. And then he mentioned the Santa Ana exhibition. McAdams is funny sometimes. That could not be anything I wanted to hear because I never used it before now.

    Try and find it in any book I wrote or article. But this is the kind of wild accusation made by the professor to counter anything he does not like. Coming from a man who never drove anywhere to interview anyone, its both ironic and unintentionally funny.

    1. That could not be anything I wanted to hear because I never used it before now.

      But witnesses who are making up stuff can quickly sense, when talking to you, that you want and will believe any stray tidbit that implies a conspiracy.

      You actually believed (if I interpret your previous posts correctly) that Allen Dulles was Gordon Novel’s CIA handler!

      1. You have no knowledge of Dan Campbell and no insight into whether or not he is or was credible. So what are you talking about?

        Dulles recruited Gordon to infiltrate Garrison’s office. That is detailed in my book, Destiny Betrayed, on pgs. 232-34. I name names and sources. You have read my book by now right?

        You don’ t like this info because it indicates JG was onto something and Dulles did not like it. End of story. Par for the course for the professor. Who, like Jean Davison, never gets out of his office to do research. But criticizes those who do. Especially when it produces information that discredits the WC.

        1. Post your sources right here.

          The notion that an active Director of Central Intelligence would actually run spies is silly, and Dulles had been gone for over five years by the time the Garrison probe heated up.

          And no, nobody is going to accept your assurances that you have all the sources in your book. It’s obvious that Novel is your source on this.

          If you have other sources, post them.

  9. “The adjective “Marine” is a minor matter” – only to someone completely ignorant about the Corps and the United States Navy. Since when does a NAM recognize expertise in ballistics? Since when does a 3 year tour as an drill instructor at Great Lakes make someone an expert in wound ballistics? Do you have any comprehension of how often the NAM was awarded? Do you have any Idea how many thousands of sailors have been awarded a NAM in addition to being expert-qualified in rifle and pistol?
    How do I know about this medal? Because I got one ,too. It was virtually a rite of passage for junior naval officers.

    1. Photon

      Are you admitting that, due to the ease you received your NAM with, you know next to nothing about wound ballistics and rifles?

    2. @ Photon, August 22, 2014 at 1:11 am

      Why are you obsessed over an erroneous reference to ‘Marine’, Photon? It’s ludicrous to say that that alone makes someone completely ignorant.

      (I must’ve read ‘Marine instructor’ somewhere btw).

      What difference does it make insofar as Mr. Martin’s qualifications as an expert rifleman for which he was awarded?

      Also, regardless of the number of Navy & Marine Achievement Awards issued, how many sailors received same as a drill instructor where their company excelled?

      Bottom line, I think Orlando Martin is as qualified, if not more so, than that urologist Dr. John Lattimer.

      Are you saying that expert Navy marksmen are not as knowledgeable or good as Marine Corp marksmen?

      If you have an issue with Mr. Martin’s qualifications, please don’t shoot the messenger.

      Add some substance to the debate please, or stop beating this dead horse.

      1. Gerry, you made an inaccurate statement trying to inflate the credentials of an Electrician’s Mate into something he wasn’t- an expert in ballistics. The Rifle Expert medal has been awarded to thousands of sailors and is reward for shooting accuracy, not expertise in firearms or knowledge in ballistics. All it takes to get one is a good day on the range. As for NAMs for drill instructors at Great Lakes I suspect that many if not most of them that do a good job and ara in line for promotion leave with a NAM or something similar.
        The USMC has a saying- ” every Marine a rifleman.” That philosophy is not seen in the USN. I do know that every Marine Rifle Expert that moves over to the USN automatically qualifies for the Rifle Expert medal. I do not believe that the converse is true
        Dr. John Lattimer was a respected medical historian with expertise in the Abraham Lincoln assassination and its medical aspects. It was for that reason that the Kennedy family selected him to be one of the first independent researchers to be grated access to the medical records.
        As a surgeon he was aware of the anatomical issues associated with the wounds noted ( yes, Urologists are surgical specialists). He also carried out live firing experiments, sometimes in conjunction with bona fide ballistic experts.
        I find it mildly amusing how Canadians such as yourself and your countryman Mr. Prudhomme pontificate on how things work in the U.S. without basic knowledge of simple things like the U.S. Armed Forces. Mr Prudhomme claims to be a firearms expert. Actually he was a lumberjack with no formal training in ballistics. How would he know what the behavior of a FMJ round that impacted a human skull would be? Has he ever seen an example? Has he ever seen an autopsy of such a wound? He likes to talk about frangible ammunition without admitting that such ammunition breaks up when it encounters a hard surface, like BONE. A frangible round striking a skull might fracture a piece of bone and drive it into the brain, but would never creat the massive exit wound seen with JFK. That is why Sky Marshals use such ammunition – specifically because it will not go through a body and will not puncture the skin of an airliner.

        1. Photon (August 24, 2014 at 11:07 am),

          How can you accuse me of “inflating” Mr. Martins credentials (which speak for themselves) when I recanted?

          How can you also make this accusation when you claim us Canadians lack ‘basic knowledge of simple things like the U.S. Armed Forces’ (if so, where’s the intent)?

          This is not a debate as to which branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is better than the other.

          As a decorated drill instructor and expert rifleman, and member of both his state and national rifle associations, it’s safe to say that Mr. Martins has experience and special knowledge of guns and how bullets behave.

          As for John Lattimer, I paraphrase researcher Ed Tatro who criticized Dr. Lattimer’s pine board experiment (repeated in a 50th anniversary documentary) at Lancer’s last NID conference :

          That would apply if Kennedy was Pinocchio.

          That is, how can a scientist use wood to compare the behaviour of bullets on human tissue?

          As for bullet fragmentation, you’re ignoring a crucial issue raised – DISINTEGRATION of the FMJ, which is unlikely.

          As to your last comment, I’m aware that the police or marshals do not use FMJ bullets with their sidearms, so I don’t know why you bring it up.

          Lastly, and to re-iterate, your entitled to anonymity here, but your personal experiences and knowledge, are subject to proof.

        2. Photon

          Sorry to correct you but, frangible ammunition is designed to penetrate the relatively brittle skull bone and disintegrate inside the cranial cavity. Just for you, here is a link to a site discussing a head shot on a 350 lb. wild boar, shot with a frangible .223 calibre rifle bullet through the thickest part of his skull.

          As the author states, frangible bullets will penetrate intact through anything a normal bullet will, including bone, sheetrock and glass. Once they are two inches into fluid or semi-fluid organic matter, they will completely disintegrate into a lethal cloud of metal powder (remember the cloud of dust like particles in JFK’s skull x-ray?)

          Frangible bullets will, as you say, disintegrate on impact with any surface a normal bullet would ricochet off of (concrete, steel, stone), making them safer in crowded urban settings.

          Do you think bullets will ricochet off of skull bones, Mr. Photon?

          1. Photon

            Another comment on your post. Uninformed people often make reference to “large exit wounds” and assume an intact bullet actually came out of such a wound, and that this “exit wound” must be perfectly in line with the entrance wound.

            Here is a skill testing question for you. If a bullet completely disintegrates within a skull cavity, what makes the large exit wound?

          2. Here is a skill testing question for you. If a bullet completely disintegrates within a skull cavity, what makes the large exit wound?

            This is the $64,000 question.

            (Your other one about ricochet of bullets off bone is also a good question).

          3. Why do about a third of the commenters on your source doubt the accuracy of your story?
            Why doesn’t the boar have an exit wound in the head?
            What is the veracity of Seriously, you think this blog is a serious source? Thank you for displaying your concept of serious ballistic research.

          4. The skull is not “relatively brittle”: due to its anatomy and characteristic shape the calvaria is one of the strongest bones in the body. It is one of the major blood cell production sources because of extensive bone marrow, highly vascular and reinforcing of the bony surface . In addition, the periosteum and the dura are inner and outer layers of connective tissue that contribute to the inherent strength and stability of the skull. You have no proof that frangible ammunition is ” designed to penetrate the relatively brittle skull bone…” because it isn’t . It was originally designed as a range safety round. The type of round supposedly used on the hog mentioned in your article wasn’t even available at the time of the assassination, so comparisons are mute.
            You have given no proof confirming your claims about the behavior of frangible rounds impacting the skull, nor any examples of such a wound in a human skull. Your claims of what a FMJ round would do to a human skull and brain are likewise without any documentation. How would you know? Have your ever shot an animal in the head with a FMJ round?
            Again, what autopsy or pathological literature confirms anything that you have said about the appearance radiographically of FMJ round fragmentation in the brain?

    3. BTW Photon, if you’re going to opine on the basis of your own military credentials, you should reveal your true identity so that your own claims can be verified with a photo or letter, etc.

      Thank you (and have a nice day).

  10. Ronnie Wayne

    You mentioned the cloud of dust like particles seen in the x-rays of JFK’s skull, and are quite correct in saying it is very unlikely they were left there by a full metal jacket, a soft tipped or even a hollow point bullet. As I’ve stated several times, lead is malleable, not brittle, and does not turn to dust when a bullet breaks up.

    The only type of bullet that can turn to dust in a wound is a bullet that was made from dust to begin with. This may sound odd but I recommend going to this website: and looking at the lethal frangible bullets they market, and studying how these bullets are constructed and how they operate in a wound.

    If you are interested, I will tell you what kind of frangible ammunition was manufactured for the 6.5mm Carcano as late as 1953, and likely right into the 1960’s, and how only slight modification of these frangible range bullets could turn them into a crude replica of the product offered by DRT Ammo.

  11. John McAdams

    Please slow down a bit and read what Pat stated a little more carefully. He said that a FMJ bullet might break up when it struck a skull, leaving a very nasty and large entrance wound totally unlike the neat little entrance wound we are shown in JFK’s cowlick. However, Pat goes on to say, and is quite correct in this matter, that should a FMJ bullet penetrate the skull bone intact, traversing the brain matter will not cause it to break up.

    1. You are assuming that if it breaks on on entry, it has to leave a large nasty entrance wound.

      You need to prove that that’s true. It’s true that if it broke up before it even hit skull, it would do that.

      This sounds to me like people who say that if an MC bullet is stable in ballistic gelatin, he can’t start tumbling when it exits the gelatin. But multiple experiments have shown that it happens that way.

      1. This sounds to me like people who say that if an MC bullet is stable in ballistic gelatin, he can’t start tumbling when it exits the gelatin. But multiple experiments have shown that it happens that way.

        More spin.

        The experiments simulating Kennedy’s neck didn’t result in a tumbling bullet.

        The tests shown on a 50th anniversary documentary fired through 1.5 to 2 feet of gelatin, did cause tumbling but these do NOT simulate JFK’s neck as those gelatin blocks are simply not as thick.

          1. But you are ignoring the fact that a bullet begins to tumble on exit.

            Not always.

            The 50th anniversary documentary (sorry, can’t recall which one) showed that the bullet began to tumble through the long ballistic gelatin block BEFORE it exited.

            In Kennedy’s case, his throat wound looks like an entrance wound (consistent with the WC’s experiment that the path of the bullet through a simulated neck was ‘straight and stable’ – so Olivier had to fire through a goat to get the tumble).

            Other reasons to doubt the tumble theory:

            1. Short distance between JFK & JBC to permit SUFFICIENT yaw as alleged (i.e., degree or how much);

            2. Dr. Shaw’s testimony that the entrance wound to JBC could’ve been from a TANGENTIAL first strike (ergo a different bullet).

            3. It didn’t lose much velocity through JFK.

          2. 2. Dr. Shaw’s testimony that the entrance wound to JBC could’ve been from a TANGENTIAL first strike

            Correct. The bullet that hit Connally could not have been a tangential strike, since there was no abrasion collar on one edge of the wound, and no undermining at the other edge.

            So concluded the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel.

            But the wound was oval, meaning that Connally was hit by a tumbling bullet.

          3. @ Johh McAdams, August 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm

            Not correct (you re-phrased).

            Dr. Shaw said it COULD BE a tangential strike, and NOT from a tumbling bullet.

            Furthermore, how could the FPP say there was no abrasion collar if Dr. Shaw cut around the original wound?

            (I’m not aware of any photos of JBC’s wounds).

          4. Furthermore, how could the FPP say there was no abrasion collar if Dr. Shaw cut around the original wound?

            The accepted Shaw’s description of the wound which failed to mention any abrasion collar.

          5. ***@ John McAdams, August 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm***

            The accepted Shaw’s description of the wound which failed to mention any abrasion collar.

            Thanks Professor, but wouldn’t Dr. Shaw, who had a lot of experience with gun shot wounds, know about this aspect?

            (I need to research this).

      2. John

        Slow down a bit, you’re stuttering again. It’s “on entry” not “on on entry”.

        I’ve read your post several times, and I’m having trouble figuring out just what you’re talking about. Are you trying to tell me that a bullet that breaks up on the surface of the skull is going to make a nice neat little wound, the same as an intact bullet entering nose first?

        If you are, all I can say is you obviously haven’t spent much time hunting.

        1. I note that you, again, ignore the fact that in shooting experiments, bullets hitting human skulls fragmented.

          If a bullet fragments upon entering the skull (not before it enters) there is no reason you could not have a small neat hole.

          1. You realize, of course, what a ridiculous thing it is you are claiming. Not only were the bullets for the Carcano full metal jacket bullets, the Carcano FMJ bullets had jacket walls thicker than FMJ bullets for other 6.5mm rifles. This is because the Carcano maintained the same 6.5mm (.256″) calibre but made the riflings so deep, the bullet had to be .268″ in diameter, as opposed to the stanfard .264″ diameter for other 6.5mm bullets.

            .004″ may not seem like much of a difference, to people such as yourself with no knowledge of ballistics, but I can assure you it makes all the difference in the world, and is why this FMJ bullet and the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer FMJ bullet (.266″ diameter) were capable of penetrating the thick skull bones of elephants and hitting the brain beneath. A lesser bullet would have deformed and stopped long before it reached the brain.

            I have shot many deer in the head with soft tipped bullets; bullets designed to expand (unlike FMJ bullets) and FAR more likely to fragment than FMJ bullets. I must be buying good quality bullets or something, as these stubborn soft points just refuse to fragment on me.

          2. You realize, of course, what a ridiculous thing it is you are claiming.

            What I’m claiming is supported by experiments by Olivier and Lattimer.

            You have simply failed to address them.

            What, by the way, are your credentials as a ballistics expert?

            Have you ever published anything in a peer-reviewed forensics journal? Has your testimony ever been accepted as expert testimony in any court proceeding?

            Why should anybody accept your opinion over that of credentialed experts? And especially, why should anybody accept your opinion when well-documented experiments show you to be wrong?

    1. James DiEugenio, ICYMI you might follow the exchange related to your recent “Why Jean Davison Won’t Quit ….” on another thread on this site entitled ” Top CIA analyst talks about the Zapruder film”

      1. Thanks Leslie.

        I see Jean got jumped out of the way of my review like she was avoiding an oncoming train. Smart girl.

        She then says she did not say Oswald taught himself Russian. Ok Jean, then who did you say taught him? Because you did not mention the Monterey DLI in your book even though you had to know about it.

        And there was no disagreement with the evidence. What I said repeatedly is she left out things she had to know about which turn the picture of Oswald around.

        1. Jim,

          Your review is more like an oncoming train wreck. For instance, your claim that I said Oswald taught himself Russian. Do you acknowledge that was an error?

          I didn’t mention Rankin’s remark because Oswald didn’t attend the Monterey school. Please see my posts about how Oswald learned Russian in this thread from last June:

          If you want to attack anything that I write at this site, which anyone here can read for themselves, have at it. I’m not going to reply to your distorted version of something I wrote 30 years ago.

          1. Jean, “I’m not going to reply to your distorted version of something I wrote 30 years ago.”

            In several recent comments you emphasize that your book was written 30 years ago. Are you attempting to distance yourself from “Oswald’s Game?” You also say that most likely few people on this forum have read it. Is this your veiled way of conceding there may be errors in the book, and that researchers should not rely on it? If so, would you be willing now to set the record straight so that your theory put forth in the book – which in spite of recent protestations did fuel public opinion alleging Oswald’s guilt – can be weighed under new light? I believe that would be an indication of good faith participation on any forum.

          2. Leslie,

            As usual, you try to put words in my mouth.

            “I’m not going to reply to your distorted version of something I wrote 30 years ago.”

            If you can’t understand that simple sentence, I can’t help you.

          3. I believe that would be an indication of good faith participation on any forum.

            You have no standing to question Jean Davison’s good faith.

            I could question yours. Would you like that?

            Indicate your good faith by admitting that perhaps Oswald really was the lone assassin.

          4. Jean,

            As you know, we mostly disagree. But I agree with you that Oswald did not attend the language school at Monterey.

            As far as I can tell, I’m the only poster here who has attended the Defense Language Institute. I did so beginning in 1970 as a military intelligence officer.

            I know how DLI worked at that time (Vietnam war era). There is just no way Oswald attended DLI and studied Russian. Russian was a 47-week course in a level-5 language. I was friends with a guy who went through the program. There were no short cuts or accelerated training at DLI. The training was intense, precise, and prolonged. Period. Oswald’s service record, unless it’s a fabrication, allows for no DLI training. Period.

          5. Leslie,

            As usual, you try to put words in my mouth.

            “I’m not going to reply to your distorted version of something I wrote 30 years ago.”

            If you can’t understand that simple sentence, I can’t help you.

          6. Thanks, Jonathan. I remembered what you’d said that about the language school in another thread and I’m glad you added it here.

            Testimony/affidavits from his fellow Marines show no big time gaps anything close to 47 weeks. I believe I’ve read somewhere that Rankin may’ve gotten the idea that Oswald went to the Monterey school from a newspaper article (an inaccurate one, as it turns out).

          7. Jean: “If you can’t understand that simple sentence, I can’t help you.”

            I understand your sentence, and I repeat my question … why have your resorted to referring to your book as having been published 30 years ago? It either holds up under scrutiny three decades later or it doesn’t. You either stand by it or you don’t.

            John McA: “You have no standing to question Jean Davison’s good faith. I could question yours. Would you like that?”

            I’m a participant on this forum, and I question Jean Davison’s good faith because there are indications that her book – an indictment of Oswald as a lone assassin – contains flaws and serious omissions that she has yet to acknowledge yet she continues to argue on this forum that Oswald was the lone assassin. I am challenging her to correct the flaws in her original work as a sign of good faith. The onus is on those who publish.

            John McA: “Indicate your good faith by admitting that perhaps Oswald really was the lone assassin.”

            Nothing I have studied convinces me that Oswald was responsible for Kennedy’s murder. In good faith, and for as long as jfkfacts will allow, I will continue to challenge Jean Davison’s allegations in spite of her attempts to silence those who confront her or your fevered defense of her for that matter. Ad Hominem in the reverse?

          8. I’ll be blunt, Ms. Sharp. You have repeatedly attacked me personally and questioned my good faith, and yet you have the gall to expect me to answer your insulting questions.

            That’s not going to happen. I don’t owe you any explanations. I’m here to talk about the JFK evidence, not your personal obsessions.

          9. I am challenging her to correct the flaws in her original work as a sign of good faith. The onus is on those who publish.

            I am challenging you to correct the flaws in what you post here as a sign of your good faith.

            If you really are acting in good faith, you will retract the incorrect and illogical arguments you have made here.

            P.S. You haven’t shown any “flaws” in Jean’s work.

          10. I question Jean Davison’s good faith because there are indications that her book – an indictment of Oswald as a lone assassin – contains flaws and serious omissions that she has yet to acknowledge yet she continues to argue on this forum that Oswald was the lone assassin.

            In other words, you “question her good faith” because she disagrees with you about the assassination.

            Why shouldn’t I question your good faith since everything you post has flaws and serious omissions?

          11. LOL!

            Talk about a wreck.

            You cannot be serious. He did not speak it in the service?

            So Quinn is part of a conspiracy? Just like the HSCA polygraph panel was too I guess?

            Wow Jean. I am going to do a follow up based on this to show what a denier you are.

            And I extend you an open invitation to debate your book on BOR any time. We will see who is riding a train wreck.

            That review is the number one exit page at CTKA right now. A lot of people are riding the train.

          12. “The training was intense, precise, and prolonged. Period. Oswald’s service record, unless it’s a fabrication, allows for no DLI training. Period.”~Johnathan

            It is certainly not beyond the pale that Oswald’s service records are a fabrication. From what I have read there are many indications that Oswald was part of covert intelligence. Those who see nothing strange about Oswald’s stay in Russia, and his being able to just waltz back into the USA sans any repercussions seem to lack reasonable suspicion. His relationship with the Paine’s, and with George de Mohrenschildt partucularly, are very good indications he was being “handled” by intelligence.

        2. James DiEugenio, ICYMI, the conversation continues on another thread: “Historian Gerald McKnight on Oswald’s final hours”

          fwiw, I have three personal acquaintances who went through Monterrey; they laugh at how poorly they fared on the qualifying tests yet received intensive training and serious assignments throughout the ’60’s, 70’s and ’80’s. The argument that Oswald would not have qualified is absurd; the fact his military records indicate otherwise is not surprising.

        3. Mr. Di Eugenio,
          What evidence is there that Oswald was taught Russian at Monterey DLI? I heard you, on one occasion, cite a Warren Commission document that included information about a member asking other members, “When did Oswald receive training at Monterey?” Could you explain that again and give other evidence to support your claim. Thanks.

          1. This was part of a declassification struggle by Harold Wesiberg.

            At one of the WC executive session hearings, Rankin said they were trying to find out what Oswald “studied at the Monterey School of the Army in the way of languages.” (Melanson, Spy Saga, p. 12)

            Note, it does not say “if” he was there. He was there according to Rankin.

            Now, Jean denies this categorically. Yet, she never went anywhere to check this out. And you can tell by reading her book she never left her study. So how can she know for sure? She can’t. But she says it anyway.

            Unlike Jean, I interviewed Dan Campbell in New Orleans. I then talked to him in LA when he was working for Steven Stills. He told me that when he was in the service, he was such a good marksman he used to do exhibitions. Once he did one in Santa Ana. It went over really well and he ended up staying late. So he asked the C. O. if he could stay overnight. The guy said sure and led him to a barracks and gave him a bed. He said,”Use this one, since this guy Oswald is almost never here.”

            See, if you never talk to anyone, you cannot find out stuff like this. Now, am i saying he was in Monterey while he was gone? No, I cannot say that since I am not sure. But neither would i ever be so arrogant as to say “he was never there”, when I had done no independent inquiry on my own.

            The worst thing you can do in this case is trust official sources.

            That is what the WC did. To their eternal shame.

          2. The worst thing you can do in this case is trust official sources.

            So therefore trust people like Gordon Novel.

            Or some fellow who once worked for Steven Stills recounting what somebody supposedly told him.

            Jim, it’s easy to prove about anything you want if you believe anybody, because somebody somewhere will tell you what you want to hear.

  12. There are also those who allege that the remnant particles, or flakes shown in the Xrays are actually mercury deposits…FWIW…YMMV

    1. Absolutely, Jordan. Although I have never seen a mercury filled bullet, and am not sure such a creature even exists, I understand the principle and the physics behind such a bullet, and actually see no reason why one could not be made. However, I sincerely believe the frangible bullets sold at this site would be just as lethal, if not more so, than a mercury filled lead bullet.

      In my opinion, such a mercury filled bullet would require a small hollow point at the tip to allow the fluid and semi-fluid matter it was travelling through to begin the process of opening it up. Once in the process of expanding, such a bullet would likely be capable of massive damage.

      If an exhumation of JFK was ever performed, residual mercury would be a very simple thing to test for.

      1. I think that this “mercury bullet” stuff came out of the novel “Day of the Jackel”. Not sure if these bullets exist. It seems to be going to a lot of trouble to make them when easily accessible commercial ammo could do the same job.
        The simplest explanation why the two bullets behaved so differently is that they were two different types of bullets. The round that hit JFK in the head could have been of a different caliber and shape. I do not believe that the fragments found in the car were ever accurately proven to have been intact enough to identify as being from a Carcano bullet.

        1. I do not believe that the fragments found in the car were ever accurately proven to have been intact enough to identify as being from a Carcano bullet.

          Yes they were, not only by the FBI for the Warren Commission, but by independent experts for the HSCA.

          (The HSCA compared the fragments with test bullets fired by the FBI in 1963. By the time of the HSCA the rifle had been poorly maintained, and bullets fired from it matched nothing from 1963.)

  13. Bob, your comments are well informed. Is it possible that an M16 / AR-15 round hit JFK’s head? How can I contact you by email?

    1. Hi Tim

      Yes, there is a chance JFK was shot with a 5.56mm bullet from an AR-15, but I do not think it very likely. It was not until the M-16 found widespread use in Viet Nam that its lack of stopping power was fully appreciated, and following that experience the bullets suddenly and “accidentally” developed weak cannelures that greatly increased the stopping power of these bullets. Also, fragmentation of a 5.56mm FMJ bullet would not account for the hundreds of dust like lead particles supposedly visible in x-rays of JFK’s skull.

      For a bullet capable of disintegrating into hundreds of dust like particles, I recommend taking a look at the product offered on this site: , especially the page on Technology they offer. While you read this material, keep in mind that frangible bullets were made for decades for the 6.5mm Carcano and were still being produced, as far as I know, as late as 1953 and likely well into the 60’s. While the frangible bullet offered by DRT Ammo is an extremely lethal, non-exiting bullet made from compressed metal powder, the Carcano frangible bullets, while also made from compressed lead powder, were designed as a safe bullet to be used in indoor ranges. When one of these bullets struck something hard (ie. concrete or steel) they would disintegrate into a cloud of metal powder. My research has shown it would take only slight modification of a 6.5mm Carcano frangible/ short range bullet to convert it into a crude but possibly effective replica of the DRT product.

      I’m not sure how we can communicate privately without posting my email address for all to see. Might I suggest you join Greg Burnham’s new JFK forum, ? It is an excellent forum, and we could exchange PM’s there.

      1. I have shot many deer in my lifetime and, as a meat hunter, I often elect to make head shots on animals such as deer.

        It should be understood that full metal jacket bullets are illegal all over North America for hunting game. The reason for this is that they are not designed to expand in a wound, as I have explained, and are incapable of doing enough damage to kill a game animal outright. This is not my opinion but, rather, the studied opinion of every group and government agency across North America who have outlawed the use of FMJ bullets for hunting.

        Like most hunters, I mostly use soft tipped bullets to hunt deer. These bullets make a small entry hole in a skull and begin to expand once in the brain matter. I can attest to the fact it is rare for even one of these bullets to disintegrate in a head wound.

        I have even hand loaded hollow point bullets into rifle cartridges. While these bullets do tend to break apart in a head shot and produce dramatic wound results, the pieces of the bullet found in the skull after are still good sized pieces, and recognizable as bullet fragments. I certainly have never seen a hollow point bullet disintegrate into a cloud of dust like particles, as observed in the x-rays of JFK’s skull.

        Lead is malleable, not brittle. How is it that the lead core of a bullet broke apart into dust like fragments?

        1. I never loaded any hollow points but my experience with deer and soft point bullets is the same as yours. Mostly used the Hornady Inter-lock bullet or the fine Nosler partition bullet. Since our deer were overpopulated we had doe permits and if you took your doe anyplace but the head shot you were roundly booed around the camp. I never saw one separate from the copper jacket much less disintegrate.

          In Vietnam I saw the m-16 bullet do some strange things like coming out where you would least expect it but of course it wasn’t the time or place to do any study on the bullet.

  14. I read Mr. Hunter’s book and have only one comment on it: Bullsh*t!

    Mr. Hunter either knows only a fraction of what he claims to know about firearms and ballistics, or he is very knowledgeable on these matters and has purposely set out to deceive the reading public. Either way, this work of fiction preys upon that great Achilles heel of the JFK research community; the fact that 99% of JFK researchers don’t know the first thing about ballistics.

    This novel is a basic rework of the “lone nut” theory, in which we see a mid-level CIA member operating entirely on his own to remove JFK, without informing other members of the CIA or obtaining any form of approval. In other words, this work is designed to distract us and lead us away from thoughts of higher level conspiracy.

    Contrary to popular belief, not all 6.5 mm bullets are .264 inch in diameter. The Carcano is unique in the world of 6.5mm rifles in that its designers, while maintaining the .256 inch calibre, made deeper rifling grooves in their rifle, requiring a bullet .268 inch in diameter. If you loaded a .268 inch diameter bullet into a .264 Winchester magnum cartridge and attempted to fire it from your .264 Win. magnum rifle, the bullet would be .004 inch to big for the rifling grooves, and the rifle could blow up in your face. However, the ammunition Oswald supposedly used, the 6.5mm Carcano ammo made by the Western Cartridge Co., was very likely loaded with bullets only .264 inch in diameter, and would have been very inaccurate as a result. Is the .264 Win. magnum fantasy of Mr. Hunter’s an admission by someone that Oswald’s WCC cartridges would have been woefully inadequate for the job of shooting JFK?

    The other flaw in Mr. Hunter’s theory is the fact that the Carcano bullet is almost an inch longer than the 6.5mm bullet normally loaded into a .264 Win. magnum cartridge. If the Carcano bullet were seated to the same depth in the magnum cartridge (ie. the bottom of the cartridge neck)the overall length of the cartridge would be so great, it would be impossible to chamber this cartridge and close the bolt behind it. The only alternative would be to seat the bullet further into the cartridge; a very bad idea. With the bullet protruding way down into the fattest part of the cartridge, the expanding gases would now act on the sides of the bullet, as well as the base, and would not likely be able to drive the bullet from the cartridge. Once again, the rifle is likely to blow up in your face.

    Full metal jacket bullets are not likely to disintegrate, unless one is firing an M-16. The 5.56mm FMJ bullet they fire “accidentally” received a very weak cannelure that allows this bullet to bend and come apart mid-section after it strikes bone. The 6.5mm FMJ bullet for the Carcano has extremely thick and robust jacket walls and, like most FMJ bullets, has a very special feature designed to prevent disintegration of the bullet from occurring and maintain the “humane” principles for military bullets, first set out in the Hague Peace Conference in 1899. There is a 4.5 mm diameter opening at the base of this bullet where the lead core is exposed. As lead is very soft, it can almost be thought of as a liquid. When a FMJ bullet strikes bone, it deforms, and often the space occupied inside the jacket by the lead core becomes smaller. If the bullet’s base were not open, hydraulic pressure inside the case would elevate due to the diminishing space inside the jacket, to the point the bullet case ruptured. At this point, the FMJ bullet would be no different than a hollow point, and it would inflict grievous damage. But, with the base open, the lead core begins to extrude from the bullet in flakes, like toothpaste from a tube. This extrusion of the lead core prevents internal pressures from rising and keeps the jacket intact. Evidence of this flaking can be seen in the x-rays of John Connally’s wrist, where several flakes are evident.

    Needless to say, there is no chance the bullet that disintegrated in JFK’s skull was a FMJ 6.5mm bullet.

      1. Bob Prudhomme can pontificate all he wants, but experiments by Olivier and Lattimer showed that MC FMJ bullets do fragment when hitting a skull.

        Add to that the fact that the HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel saw nothing out of line with the fragments in Kennedy’s skull, and believed they were entirely consistent with a hit from an MC FMJ bullet.

        But what did they know? They were only nine of the top forensic pathologists in the country. They hardly count, compared to a random poster on an Internet site.

        1. From

          “A urologist is a physician who has specialized knowledge and skill regarding problems of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs.”

          Dr. John K. Lattimer was a urologist, John. I fail to see how this would qualify him as an expert on ballistics and the fragmentation of bullets in skull wounds.

          For that matter, Dr. Alfred G. Olivier was a doctor of veterinary medicine. Not sure what that would suggest.

          1. Experiments are experiments. Olivier was indeed a wound ballistics expert at Edgewood Arsenal (mostly, you do experiments by shooting up animals, which is why a veterinarian has perfectly fine expertise).

            Lattimer published his experiments in peer reviewed medical journals.

            So what are your credentials?

            And on what basis do you challenge the well-documented experiments that show that MC FMJ bullets fragment when hitting a human skull?

        2. John, it appears you’ve forgotten that Baden, Petty, et al readily admitted that they knew very little about the wound ballistics of military ammunition.

          But it’s worse than that, much worse. In 1980, Baden admitted that his lack of knowledge of military wounds had led him to consult with a pathologist, Thom Marshall, who had seen the effects of military ammo in Northern Ireland.

          Well, a few years back, I did a little digging into the background of Dr. Marshall, and found out he’d performed a number of the autopsies on the Bloody Sunday massacre victims. One of these was especially problematic. When the massacre was re-investigated in the 90’s, as I recall, it was revealed that this victim had a trail of lead through his skull that was symptomatic of the bullet’s being defective, or being deliberately tampered with so as to behave like a dum-dum bullet. When asked why he’d failed to mention this in his report, moreover, Marshall said he thought that this was how military ammo reacted when striking a skull, and that as such, it wasn’t worth mentioning!

          So there it is…Baden relied on Marshall, who was inexplicably of the belief the British soldiers wouldn’t dare fire dum-dums…and that the metal in the skull was thus exactly as one would expect.

          1. No, John, that’s not my argument. I believe the evidence suggests that FMJ bullets do sometimes break up when hitting skulls. They just don’t break up AFTER entering skulls intact a la hunting bullets. IOW, they don’t “leak” significant chunks of lead from their base as they slice through a brain, as pushed by Baden. Baden, as you may recall, made the ridiculous claim that the “slice” of bullet purportedly on the back of the head in the x-rays was a piece of lead that fell out of the back of the fatal bullet as it entered the skull, and that the rest of the bullet leaked a trail of fragments through the skull only to break up on the windshield strut after exit.

            That’s “tooth fairy” kind of stuff, transparent nonsense. A FMJ bullet would not “leak” a large fragment unless the bullet had broken up upon entrance. If it had broken up upon entrance, conversely, it wouldn’t have left a hole in the skull smaller than the diameter of the bullet.

            Olivier and Dziemian failed to reveal the size of the entrance holes on the ten skulls they fired upon. They did, however, acknowledge that the bullets didn’t always break up. They presented one photo of one entrance hole. It was small, like the one on the back of Kennedy’s skull. You can bet the farm (and the house, and the college) that that hole was from a skull where the bullet didn’t break up.

          2. I believe the evidence suggests that FMJ bullets do sometimes break up when hitting skulls.

            Good, you are disagreeing with some of the conspiracy posters on this thread.

            And you are changing the subject, claiming (if I understand you) that the circular fragment in the back of the skull was faked.

            Is that correct?

          3. What circular fragment on the back of the head? My research, and the historical record, suggests the largest fragment was behind the right eye.

    1. Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 8th Edition.

      “Hornady produces a .267” 160 grain Round Nose bullet designed specifically for the Carcano rifles. We have achieved excellent accuracy with this bullet…..”

      But you probably already knew that. Excellent post btw.

  15. Lawrence Schnapf

    This is indeed a good and informative book–especially for readers who are not well versed with weapons and ammo. He makes a very good case for the rear shooter being in the Dal-Tex building.

    1. Lawrence Schnapf

      John Adams,

      What are you disagreeing with–that “the bullet that killed JFK disintegrated upon impact in a away that an ordinary Mannlicher-Carcano bullet would not” or that “The official investigations never accounted for this fact”?

      Larry Schnapf

    2. Lawrence Schnapf

      So Oliver says he tested ten skulls and evidence from only ONE of those tests is introduced into evidence (or at least only discussed in the excerpt provided by John McAdams). I wonder what the other spent bullets from the nine skull shots looked like.

      Larry Schnapf

    3. Well, it certainly did disintegrate. That is beyond doubt. What is unbelievable is that CE 399 supposedly went through two men, caused seven wounds, broke multiple bones- ended up pristine and intact.
      How could identical bullets behave so differently? Probably because they weren’t identical-and that is the paradox that proves at that at least two people were shooting with two types of ammunition. Mauser?

      1. How could identical bullets behave so differently?

        Because the head shot was traveling at about 2000 fps when it hit hard parietal bone in Kennedy’s head, and CE 399 was slowed down by passing through Kennedy’s torso, tumbling through Connally’s chest (hitting only soft ribs bone) before it finally his the hard bone of his radius.

        1. Did you know that 6.5mm full metal jacket bullets were used in Africa to kill elephants? Did you also know these elephants were killed with head shots, and that the 6.5mm FMJ bullet was preferred because it could penetrate the elephant skull bone without deforming or coming apart, and reach the elephant’s brain intact? Are you trying to tell these people JFK had thicker skull bone than an elephant??

          1. the 6.5mm FMJ bullet was preferred because it could penetrate the elephant skull bone without deforming or coming apart, and reach the elephant’s brain intact?

            Where in the world did you get that?

            A bullet would not need to get into the brain intact. A bunch of fragments would do more damage.

            But then there is the fact that not only Olivier’s test shots, but Lattimer’s shots fragmented when they hit skull bone.

            You are blowing off real experiments in favor of something you think about hunting elephants.

          2. Bob, I’ve read and respect your comment’s on the Edu Forum so forgive me from laughing at your analogy.
            If the press had only known at the time I can see the headlines. “Oswald Slays JFk with Elephant Gun”. Once again, I respect your work. Please keep posting.

          3. Mr. McAdams

            I first heard about 6.5mm full metal jacket bullets being used to hunt elephants from Gerald Posner.

            “The 6.5 mm bullet, when fired, is like a flying drill,” says Art Pence, a competitions firearms expert. Some game hunters use the 6.5 mm shell to bring down animals as large as elephants.” ~~Gerald Posner~~ “Case Closed”

            Surely, you are not questioning the validity of Mr. Posner’s statements, are you?

            From Wikipedia:

            “Among professional elephant hunters of the 19th and 20th centuries, Walter Dalrymple Maitland “Karamojo” Bell, who shot more than 1,500 elephants[1] in the period 1895-1930, had a very high regard for the 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer, using it for approximately 300 of these kills.”

            The 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer shoots a 160 grain round nosed bullet that is virtually indistinguishable from the 6.5mm Carcano bullet, and propels it at almost the same muzzle velocity.

            If a bullet fragmented on the hard skull bone of the elephant, it would be incapable of deep penetration to where the elephant’s brain lie. This is why it was essential for these elephant hunters to use full metal jacket bullets; which is precisely what they did. If you like, I can produce material to prove this.

            Really, John, this is pretty basic stuff. I was of the understanding you were quite knowledgeable about ballistics.

          4. Really, John, this is pretty basic stuff. I was of the understanding you were quite knowledgeable about ballistics.

            None of your sources say the bullet will not fragment when hitting an elephants skull — much less a human skull.

            And you have blown off experiments that show that an MC FMJ bullet hitting a human skull will fragment.

            Can you address that?

        2. CE399 travelled through Kennedy’s torso?

          I thought it was through his neck? 😮

          (The tests for the WC through a simulated neck consisting of gelatin block showed that the bullet remained straight and stable, and didn’t lose much velocity).

          1. Mr. McAdams

            Still waiting to see if you would like verification of the fact that elephant hunters used 6.5mm full metal jacket bullets for elephant head shots, as these bullets were able to penetrate the thick elephant skull without breaking up.

            Not ignoring me, are you, John?

    4. I’ve read Dr. Olivier’s testimony in your link, Professor.

      He doesn’t talk about ‘disintegration’ that would explain the particle cloud seen in the lateral X-ray of JFK’s head.

      (Dr. Olivier’s testimony is also contradictory. He explains how the MC is very stable through gelatin blocks to simulate Kennedy’s neck, without tumbling, but fires through a goat to get the desired tumbling to explain the SBT.)

    5. John McAdams August 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Right John, there always seem to be much misunderstanding about bullets, rifles, external and terminal ballistics with this case.

      I realize that the book isn’t a text book and I’m sure it is entertaining. But I have seen this theme about the Carcano bullet being put into a .264 Winchester Magnum show up several times before and it needs to be understood.

      Quote on.
      “Swagger figures out that a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet can be loaded into the cartridge of .264 Winchester Magnums round, which could then be loaded into the more powerful and accurate .264 Winchester Magnum rifle. (In an afterword, Hunter says he has actually pulled off this trick.)”
      Quote off.

      There is no such thing as a Carcano bullet or a .264 Win. Mag. Bullet. What we have is a number of different .264 diameter bullets. Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading list five different bullet weights of .264 bullets, each weight having two or three different shapes or points. Including the Carcano and .264 WM Hornady list twelve different calibers, every one of them accepting the .264 bullet. Every one of these bullets can and will go into a primed and charged (powder) Carcano case as well as a .264 Win. Mag case. The bullets are interchangeable but why first put the bullet in the Carcano case, pull it out and put in into a .264 WM case? Simply go buy you a box of .264 bullets.

      Quote on.
      And who could have managed such ballistic mastery? The most likely suspect, says the ever politically incorrect Hunter, would be a U.S. intelligence officer experienced in the business of killing and covering his tracks, i.e, a senior CIA operative.
      Quote off.

      This is pretty funny and perhaps it was meant to be. But anyone can hand load bullets. You certainly don’t have to go to the CIA shop to load a bullet.

  16. FWIW, I saw The Third Bullet at a local Walmart, and decided to rifle through it (pun intended).

    It’s not just a novel. In a post-script, Hunter notes that his source materials were The Warren Report, Case Closed by Gerald Posner, and Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi. These provided him with a timeline. He then built his story around the gaps in that timeline. In other words, everything he wrote was consistent with the evidence as laid out by those claiming Oswald did-it. Pretty clever, IMO.

    He also adds to what we know. At the very end of the book, he includes a non-fiction essay on the rifle purportedly used in the assassination. Jeff alluded to this in his original post. What he left out, however, was that Hunter confirmed that the scope put on the rifle would have been of little assistance unless it had been properly attached to the rifle, and that this could not be done without the assistance of shims. And yet no shims were found on the rifle when first examined by the FBI. Hunter concludes “No shims, no shot.”

    The problem of the missing shim is something I’ve discussed in the past, and it was gratifying to see it confirmed by someone as independent-minded as Hunter.

    1. Shooting a rifle with a scope is for certain hunters, certain military personnel, and the movies.

      I’m a life NRA member (I don’t hunt). I’d never use a scope on any rifle. The fine tuning required is too much. A small error in tuning means a big error in impact point. Furthermore, a scope is absolutely wrong for fast rifle shooting. Target acquisition after the first shot takes too much time.

      The story of Oswald the rapid-firing sniper does not hold up realistically.

      1. Jonathan August 13, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        If you have a good rifle/scope combination with a sturdy bench rest and sand bags it isn’t too hard to fine tune the scope. I don’t suppose Oswald had any of these so he well could have had trouble with his scope.

        I don’t think he used the scope but that is just my guess. I assume we will never know.

        And I agree, it is much easier to pick up a moving target with open sights.

      2. True. Snipers using scopes are not known for taking multiple shots. One and done, evacuate.
        It’s been many years but I used a 30-30 with an elevated scope for under 100 yd shots deer hunting in Texas.
        1st shot through the scope if over roughly 60 yds. All after or under down the barrel.

    2. Pat, a retired researcher I know has a replica MC (quality control tested by the same inspector at the Terni factory in Italy). He also has the same Japanese 4x scope.

      Chad Zimmerman I believe wrote about how the scope is positioned to the right of the stock, not on top of it. I can’t imagine how shims would be used with the way it was attached like that. My researcher friend confirmed later that this is how his scope is attached.

      The FBI carried out their tests under the assumption that the scope was used (perhaps damaged when hidden as they say).

      Can you comment on this?

      Is Hunter implying that the gun was not used, or in the alternative, that the iron sights were used instead? Your thoughts?

      1. Gerry Simone August 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        This article isn’t that great but it has very nice photos. One of the clearest I have seen showing the scope off to the side of the rifle and how it is mounted. My god what a pile of junk. Oswald would have been much better without all that crap sticking on his rifle.

        I’ve always heard of this shimming of Oswald’s scope but never heard just how they did this. Like you I wondered how. I have zero experience with side mount scopes but the only thing I can see possible is to place a shim inside the mount where the mount is screwed into the rifle. Do this on the front screw and it should pull the scope to the left and allowing for scope adjustment. Do this on the back screw and it should pull the scope to the right. I have no idea if this would work but can you see any other possibility?

        1. Great pics Bill!

          I will be meeting the retired researcher who has one for dinner tonight and ask him your question.

          When I told him about the side mounted scope way back, he forgot about it being on the side and said “Wow, you’re right”.

          Was Oswald’s scope mounted on the left side too?

          1. Gerry Simone August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm

            I’ve never seen a clear picture of Oswald,s rifle like the photo shown in the article I referenced. But I am pretty sure that Oswald’s scope was mounted on the left side too.

            I suspect that since the ejection port and bolt handle is on the right side of the rifle the left side would be more desirable for the scope.

            As I said, it looks real junky to me.

          2. @ Bill Clarke of 15AUG2014 at 6:20 pm

            I met that retired researcher last night for dinner with my buddy.

            He says there are no shims on his MC but that he couldn’t remember what side his scope was on.

            What you you said though about side shims makes sense.

            BTW, he investigated another murder of a Canadian gold mining magnate way back and had many stories about that, as well as his investigation of the Kennedy assassination (he was a friend of Penn Jones and met Marina Oswald at the JFK Assassination Symposium in 1993 at Sudbury, Ontario, who wanted him do a speaking tour in the U.S. with her but he likes to keep a low profile).

            He did mention one thing though about the ejected shells.

            Why were they strewn along the wall instead of near the boxes since the ejector is on the right side?

          3. Gerry Simone August 16, 2014 at 3:36 pm

            Good question because the Carcano certainly ejects the empty case on it’s right side.

    3. The scope mounted on the rifle found on the 6th floor was not designed for high powered rifles making shots at 75+ yards. This type of scope was designed to be mounted on a youth’s .22 rimfire rifle, and to be making shots at no more than 25 yards on a range. The problem with this toy scope is the field of view presented to the shooter looking through it. It is so tiny, it makes target acquisition extremely difficult; even at a stationary target. To track a moving target at 88 yards with this scope would be next to impossible.

      To those that maintain Oswald used the open iron sights to shoot JFK, here is a question for you. If Oswald practiced shooting with this rifle as much as some people claim he did, he would have quickly become familiar with the woeful inadequacies of this scope. Now, he may have used the iron sights to practice but, I can attest, from personal experience, that using iron sights and having to look around a side mounted scope to do so, is an extremely awkward and uncomfortable endeavour and not conducive to accurate rapid shooting.

      Why did Oswald not remove the useless scope before he brought the rifle to work with him, if he knew his best chances of success would be with using open sights? It is a simple matter, requiring the removal of two screws, and could be done in about half the time it takes to reassemble a Carcano rifle with a dime.

      1. Bob Prudhomme August 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

        I don’t know why Oswald didn’t remove the scope. Looking at the mounting system I sure as hell would have taken all that crap off.

        And those little .22 rim fire class scopes aren’t much.

  17. Jean, I was stating a fact, and drawing a subjective conclusion based on experience that it is possible that Mr. Nichols’ was influenced by his peers including partners in the law firm of Locke, Purnell.

    Do you know if Oswald was offered the services of a public defender other than through Mr. Nichols, and if so, did he refuse those services? Wasn’t it the responsibility of law enforcement and the judicial system to provide him legal representation? Why was Mr. Nichols involved in the first place? Did his presence qualify as fulfillment of the mandate which required that Oswald have an attorney? Did Nichols demand that he or some other attorney be present during Oswald’s interrogations? and if so, where are the records of those interrogations – in the hands of Oswald’s public defender? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but if you do can you share them with us.

    1. Leslie,

      Oswald made it clear to several people that he wanted a particular lawyer, John Abt. Do you think he should’ve been forced to accept someone else? Nichols answered some of your questions in his testimony. Reports by his interrogators are in the WR.


      1. Jean, that really isn’t an answer, but if you choose not to respond question by question, that’s certainly your prerogative.

        1. I’m not ignoring your question, Leslie. My answer is still “awaiting moderation” for some reason.

        2. I’m going to try a repost of what I submitted, a cut-and-paste from my screen:
          Jean Davison says:
          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          April 20, 2013 at 4:39 pm

          You didn’t answer my question either, I notice. Here are my answers:

          Oswald wasn’t offered a public defender because the law doesn’t require, even now, that one be provided if the accused wants to get his own attorney. The 1966 Miranda warning says, “You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” Even on Sunday morning, Oswald was still saying he wanted Abt.

          If the authorities *had* immediately assigned him a lawyer, don’t you think there’d be howls of outrage from the conspiracy side? How dare they deny him the lawyer he wanted! This lawyer was an obvious plant!

          Oswald was well aware of his legal rights even before Fritz and others advised him what they were. See the interrogation reports in the WR and Nichols’ testimony, e.g.:

          How did Nichols get involved? On Friday night Oswald had asked that someone come forward to give him legal assistance. According to Nichols, some of his peers suggested he find out if Oswald needed help finding a lawyer. He was the head of the Dallas Bar Association, after all.

          Nichols had no standing to demand that he or another attorney be present when Oswald was questioned. Only Oswald could’ve demanded that, and he didn’t.

          Jean 4/22

          1. Jean,

            “According to Nichols, some of his peers suggested he find out if Oswald needed help finding a lawyer. He was the head of the Dallas Bar Association, after all.”

            This speaks directly to my original point that Nichols may have been influenced by his peers including former head of the association, Morris Harrell of the Locke Purnell firm.

        3. Larry, the subtext of this conversation involved the power brokers of Dallas and Nichols’ position within that milieu. My argument is that Nichols’ presence was a degree of damage control and assessment; where did things stand with Oswald, his state of mind, his relationships with the White Russian community and George deMohrenschildt. I’ve always thought it curious that no young, eager, idealistic lawyer or group of lawyers presented themselves at the station that weekend.

      2. What do you suspect these people of, exactly? Influencing Nichols to do *what*?

        On the one hand, many CTs wrongly claim that Oswald was denied legal counsel, yet when a lawyer visits him in jail that’s suspicious, too.

        What do you think the authorities *should* have done?

        1. Jean, I can’t speak for others who know that President Kennedy’s assassination resulted from a conspiracy to remove him from office.

          I would propose, as I have already stated, that Nichols represented the face of legal propriety in the hours following Oswald’s arrest. I believe that Oswald was aware that he had been positioned in the depository as a patsy and knew that whoever appeared after his arrest, claiming to have his best legal interests in mind, could not be trusted. I believe that is what prompted his insistence on Abt. I believe that the authorities should have gone to their public defenders rolodex and phoned a bright, idealistic defense lawyer and introduced that person to Oswald.

          Your questions follow the exact pattern I challenged in my initial comment on this subject – you state facts without placing them within context. I’m curious, have you spent any time in Dallas?

          1. If the authorities had brought Oswald an “idealistic” public defender, by your own statement Oswald wouldn’t have trusted him.

            You mention “context,” but what context? I do try to present facts in the context of the other evidence. I’ve asked you to tell me what evidence there is against Nichols and his “peers,” but all I’ve seen you offer so far are connections with other people. I have found that suspicion isn’t a reliable guide to anything.

            Why do you ask if I’ve “spent any time in Dallas,” may I ask? Suspicion again?


          2. Jean,

            With reference to context, you can reread my initial comment.

            Unless you grasp the meaning, my question of whether or not you have lived in Dallas is a mute point.

            And if you have not lived in Dallas for any length of time, you will never understand the issue posed by Nichols being present.

  18. Leslie,
    Nichols didn’t represent Oswald, as I should’ve made clear. If there’s some evidence that he or the other people you mention were guilty of anything, please tell me what it is.

  19. Sorry, if I wasn’t clear enough. Nichols didn’t offer legal advice, he offered to help Oswald find a lawyer. Ruth testified that she *did* try to reach Abt but there was no answer. (Who said she didn’t call?)

    Oswald also failed to reach Abt when he used the jail phone on Saturday. Abt testified that he’d been out of town that weekend but probably wouldn’t have represented Oswald in any event. Oswald apparently got Abt’s home and office numbers from the long distance operator.

    Oswald understandably wanted to pick his own lawyer. He wasn’t denied that right.

  20. Jonathan,

    Who said Nichols was Oswald’s lawyer? He offered legal assistance but Oswald turned him down because he wanted Abt. Nichols’ testimony starts here:

    I think there’s also a online video of Nichols talking to the press soon after he saw Oswald. Point is, Oswald was not denied his right to counsel.

    In RTJ, Mark Lane quoted Markham saying, “When I saw this man I wasn’t sure, but I had cold chills just run all over me.” Then Lane added, “A mystical identification at best.” This is a classic example of how Lane distorts by ripping a quote out of context, because that’s NOT how Markham ID-ed him.

    Mrs. MARKHAM. I asked–I looked at him. When I saw this man I wasn’t sure, but I had cold chills just run all over me.
    Mr. BALL. When you saw him?
    Mrs. MARKHAM. When I saw the man. But I wasn’t sure, so, you see, I told them I wanted to be sure, and looked, at his face is what I was looking at, mostly is what I looked at, on account of his eyes, the way he looked at me. So I asked them if they would turn him sideways. They did, and then they turned him back around, and I said the second, and they said, which one, and I said number two.

    Markham also told Lane she was sure of her ID in their phone conversation, even though he repeatedly tried and failed to put words in her mouth. That transcript starts here:

    I believe you said earlier that there wasn’t much evidence that Oswald was in Mexico City, which made me think you’d read Plausible Denial. There’s a lot of evidence Oswald was there — Lane just omitted almost all of it.

    Yes, the wallet was filmed at the scene, but if it had been a suspect’s wallet, don’t you think the cops would’ve called in this information immediately? No one did, and no one mentioned a “second Oswald wallet” for years, so far as I know.

    What’s the source of your MacDonald quote, please? I’m not sure he said that, but someone on the police radio had already remarked on the fact that the description given for the Tippit suspect was very similar to the one that went out for the JFK gunman.

    1. Jean,

      You ask probing questions.

      I want to focus here for the moment on Oswald’s right to counsel. It’s clear from the record Oswald wanted a lawyer to help him, an unbiased lawyer. He said so on camera. He called Ruth Paine to ask her to call John Abt (she did not). Point being, Oswald needed and knew he needed the help of a lawyer devoted to his cause.

      Nichols’s offer of “legal assistance” — if that’s what it was — is baloney. There’s legal advice and everything else. Legal advice can be given only in the context of an attorney-client relationship.

      Truth is, I wouldn’t know Nichols if I tripped over him, now or then. Knowing he’s head of the Dallas Bar tells me this: he’s an Establishment guy…not a very good lawyer…a good fixer.

      How do I know this? Forty years of major league tax law involving billionaires and their lawyers. And yes, in 1987, I met in NYC with a certain board members of a prominent organization that shall go un-named, the guys who sent me to Viet Nam.

    2. Lawrence Schnapf

      Markham was not a reliable witness. her testimony is shaky and conflicting. she would have been demolished on cross-examination.

      Between her and Brennan’s failure to identify Oswald at the lineup, the government’s case would have collapsed. And none of the testimony of Oswald’s wife which was the key to the walker connection (and which had its own problems) would not have admissible in any texas trial under the then spousal immunity rule. Oswald was not convictable, maybe not even indictable. which is why he had to be killed.

      1. Lawrence,

        Markham and Brennan are crucial witnesses only in conspiracy books. Besides Markham, about a half dozen other witnesses ID-ed Oswald as the gunman they saw either at the Tippit scene or walking away with a gun in his hand. And there was other circumstantial evidence besides the witnesses, in both murders.

        Marina testified that when she talked to Oswald at the jail he told her that she had the right not to testify. He was aware of his legal rights.

        1. The star witness in the Tippit shooting was best summed up by Joseph Ball senior counsel to the Warren Commission itself. In 1964 he referred in a public debate to her testimony as being “full of mistakes” and to Mrs Markham as an “utter screwball.” He dismissed her as “utterly unreliable,” the exact opposite of the Report’s verdict.

        2. Jean, there was conflicting testimony from witnesses as to desciption of the man who killed Tippit and it is highly suspect and never proven how Oswald covered nine tenths of a mile from his boarding house to Tenth & Patton. To my knowledge, the WC was not able to produce a single witness who saw him ‘walking briskly’ to cover the distance in time for his chance encounter with Tippit. Not to mention, testimony of Earlene Roberts of a police car pulling up in front of the house and tapping the horn while Oswald was in his room shortly after 1pm. The HSCA investigated possible Oswald-Tippit associates and the story of Wes Wise, which the WC never bothered with:

          1. He was picked out of a line-up by multiple witnesses. Some of those witnesses noted him walking ” briskly” from the murder scene. Multiple investigations have recreated his path in the allotted time with no difficulty. Roberts testimony came weeks later and has never been corroborated.
            Oswald shot Tippit. If you can’t accept that fact ( which is supported by more evidence than what is usually presented in most successful capital murder prosecutions) you probably can’t accept any of the real facts in this case.

          2. Photon, your point of the timing of Robert’s testimony is irrelevant, given the WC heard testimony from many witnesses months after the fact. The case of the WC relies just as much on speculation about Oswald as it does in ‘facts’. By the time witnesses had ID’d Oswald from the Tippit scene, his name and photos had been broadcast to the world as the lone suspect. Did Oswald kill Tippit?

          3. Jean, although the WC interviewed 13 witnesses in connection to the Tippit murder, only two said they actually saw it take place. One, Domingo Benavides, could never positively identify Oswald as the shooter, and the other, Helen Markham, was inconsistent with her descriptions. She both described Oswald accurately (thin, balding) and inaccurately (pudgy with “bushy” hair.)Even though Acquila Clemons had a clear view of the shooting from her front porch, she was never called to testify. Nor was the Wes Wise story included in the WC Report. Where do you suppose Oswald was heading while roaming the streets of Dallas after murdering the President?

            As for the HSCA, we all know what their final conclusion was including Jack Ruby having extensive ties to organized crime and that his killing of Oswald was not a ‘spontaneous act’.

  21. Re Stephen Hunter:

    1) Any portrayal of Oswald as a Marxist commie is garbage. He was US intelligence or “with the office” as ultrarightist Guy Bannister told his secretary. And DeMohrenschildt’s buddy, etc.

    2) The KGB sure did not recruit Oswald pre-defection, because they would have been nuts not to leave him in place. Nor did they successfully recruit him in Russia. They were spying on Oswald, correctly surmising he might be US intelligence.

    3) Have you folks actually been to the fence on the Grassy Knoll? It is exactly 33 yards away from JFK’s head and a fabulously easy shot. Yes, someone could hit JFK from 88 years to the rear in the TSBD, but the grassy knoll for a head shot is far easier.

    4) Amoral CIA officers murder JFK. LBJ preferred to call them “renegade intelligence bastards” when he told Madeleine. LBJ had to have been in on the mix and he damn sure was not pining about civil rights when ask/told/begged military intelligence to kill JFK.

    5) Oswald as a shooter? Remember you have to practice your shooting skills and thanks to the Warren Commission we know Oswald was shooting anything in the months before the JFK assassination.

    6) “The bullet that killed JFK disintegrated upon impact in a way that an ordinary Mannlicher-Carcano bullet would not.” Now that happens to be extremely important and it absolutely blows away the “no conspiracy” crackpot fantasy. The X-rays (fabricated) show dozens of bullet flakes in JFK’s head; no Mannlicher Carcano bullet did that. A dum dum bullet did that (from the front)!

    Yet a non fragmenting metal jacketed bullet is in evidence – and my God look at all the damage it was supposed to have done to JFK and Connally without fragmenting. Yet a sister bullet is supposed to have exploded in JFK’s head. Very key point.

    7) Please folks, do not respect the evidentiary record of the JFK assassination. The murderers of JFK were running the non-investigation. LBJ and Hoover were in on it; this was not a mere mid level CIA plot that was dropped in their innocent laps.

    8) “Yet Hunter’s narrative ultimately depicts Oswald as the hapless patsy of a small faction of CIA officers who oppose JFK’s policies in Vietnam as dangerous to American soldiers.”

    I think (guess) Oswald was involved in the plot to kill JFK per Richard Nagell. But he shot no one. And the assassination was much more about CUBA POLICY than Vietnam. This last concept is very hard for folks to understand because of no Cuban invasion and we got Vietnam. Sorry but the truth is complicated. The Russians thought it was Texas oil men, LBJ and Cuba policy: they were right on all counts. That Naftel book emphasizes Cuba policy.

    By 1965 the KGB thought it was LBJ. And from the beginning Russian media has said for 40 years it was Texas oil executives.

    And Castro has pinned it on CIA anti-Castro Cuban operatives.

    All correct. All were in the “hate JFK” family and coordinated.

    1. Not a single claim above has a shred of evidence to support it. The x-rays are fabricated and yet Robert uses them to bolster his case for a dumdum bullet from the front. Robert, unless you are a doctor I don’t see how you would have any way to know exactly what an x-ray shows. Also, how would you know that a dumdum would leave “dozens of flakes” in JFK’s head? Dumdums are expanding bullets, not necessarily fragmenting bullets. I have been to the grassy knoll. As someone who has done a little hunting I have never found a target moving from left to right at 8 mph a “fabulously easy shot”; any shot at a target moving across your line of sight is damn tough. So why take it?
      Oswald shot no one? The evidence for Oswald killing Tippit is clear, overwhelming and obvious to anybody who has ever bothered to learn anything about the Tippit shooting. If you get something that fundamental incorrect how can anybody take anything else you claim seriously?

      1. “The evidence for Oswald killing Tippit is clear, overwhelming and obvious to anybody who has ever bothered to learn anything about the Tippit shooting.”

        Disagree. Based on what’s known today, there’s no way a prosecutor in 1964 could have established Oswald’s guilt for killing Tippit beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Under Hamilton v. Alabama (Sup. Ct. 1961) and Gideon v. Wainwright (Sup. Ct. 1963), Oswald for the brief period of time he was held in custody was denied a constitutional right to counsel. That would go toward vitiating any incriminating statements he made to the police, notwithstanding Escobedo v. Illinois (1964) [right to counsel during police interrogations and Miranda v. Arizona (1967) [Miranda warnings] were yet to be decided.

        The Warren Commission asserted the four lineups were conducted fairly. They were not, and that’s clear from the record. In one lineup, for example, Oswald appears in a white tee shirt along with three others, all police officers, who are well dressed. In another lineup, Oswald (again in a white tee shirt) appears with a 17-year-old and a Mexican male. A competent criminal defense attorney would have found it easy to get an unbiased judge to suppress the lineup testimony — for the reasons given and some important other reasons based on rules of criminal procedure.

        Helen Markam, the key W.C. witness against Oswald, made a number of conflicting statements. She would have been easily impeached on cross-examination.

        Furthermore, any trial of Oswald for Tippit’s murder would have uncovered the “two-billfold problem” — the “Oswald billfold” found at the scene of Tippit’s murder and the billfold found on LHO at the Texas Theater.

        If you want to debate any of the legal points here photon, let us know in which state(s) you’ve been admitted to practice law. I’ve been admitted in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, and New York.

        1. All that and you are a ‘lectrical engineer ,too.
          Counselor, you obviously know that the legal standards of “guilty” versus “not gulity” have no bearing on whether an individual actually killed somebody, only whether the state proved it to a reasonable doubt. As you learned in law school no defendent is found “innocent” at trial.
          Miranda would have had no bearing on this case.
          Now, if a commission headed by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court finds a police lineup to conform to legal standards, who are you to say that it didn’t?

          1. Defendants in criminal trials in which a verdict is reached are determined to be guilty or innocent. The function of a criminal trial is to determine guilt or innocence.

            My point about Miranda is that a criminal defense lawyer in 1964 would not have needed any jurisprudence but that to date to defend Oswald adequately.

            My comment is specifically in response to your statement:

            “The evidence for Oswald killing Tippit is clear, overwhelming and obvious to anybody who has ever bothered to learn anything about the Tippit shooting.”

            “Evidence,” by the way, plays no part in the JFK assassination. Evidence is, by definition, that which is admitted into evidence by a judge at trial, subject to scrupulous rules dealing with such matters as relevance and chain of custody.

            Photon, it’s not important to me that anyone here know my educational background except when it bears on my standing to make a comment. You have challenged that standing on occasion, which is OK by me. I simply want to reveal I’m not prattling on matters as to which I have specialized knowledge.

        2. Oswald was not denied legal counsel. He met with H. Louis Nichols, president of the Dallas Bar Association, in his jail cell on 11/23. He also made phone calls trying to reach the NY lawyer he wanted, John Abt.

          I hope you aren’t relying on Rush to Judgment for Markham’s “conflicting statements.” Markham was only one of several witnesses who saw Oswald fleeing the scene with the murder weapon in his hand.

          The wallet at the Tippit scene wasn’t alleged to be Oswald’s until some 15 years later, if I remember correctly.

          1. The question I’ve had is whether Nichols was in fact acting as Oswald’s lawyer. I don’t think he was.

            In order for Nichols to be Oswald’s lawyer, Oswald would have asked Nichols to represent him; he would have had to be without conflict of interest; and Nichols would have had to agree to represent Oswald (I imagine in writing, knowing well a long history of the canons of ethic for lawyers).

            Nichols could not give Oswald legal advice or purport to represent him outside establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Bedrock canons of ethics.

            As for Markham’s conflicting statements, I’ve read she said, for example, that she talked to Tippit for a couple of miutes before he died; and that at lineup she said she couldn’t identify Oswald as Tippit’s killer but that when she saw him a cold chill went down her spine.

            BTW, in what particular way(s) is Mark Lane out to lunch?

            As for the Tippit scene wallet, there’s a photo of cops holding up and closely examining a wallet. Furthermore, when Oswald was arrested at the Texas Theater, Officer Macdonald declared they had their man for both the Tippit and JFK murders. That was at 1:45 p.m. He could not have made such a declaration without some sort of advance knowledge, such as would come from the Tippit-scene wallet.

          2. Jean, I posted this on the “Walker” thread, but I believe that it is appropriate to include here:

            “On a previous thread, someone opines that Oswald indeed had legal representation from the outset (I am paraphrasing here but I believe I capture the essence) in the form of the head of the Dallas Bar Association at the time, a Mr. Nichols. What she fails to identify is that his immediate predecessor in the position with the bar association was Morris Harrell. Mr. Harrell was a named partner in the firm Locke Purnell Rain & Harrell (later Neely). Partner Eugene Locke was involved with defining the parade route selection for November 22. The Locke Purnell firm also had legal connections with Jack Crichton of Dorchester Gas on whose board sat DH Byrd among others. Whether or not Mr. Nichols was in any way influenced by Mr. Harrell cannot be proven. However, to overlook that possibility would be absurd given the nature of Dallas civic, political, corporate and professional affairs. This was the “good ol’ boy” network writ large. Ms. Davison’s facts are correct but they lack context. Anyone living in Dallas at the time will understand my characterization.

          3. As for Markham’s conflicting statements, I’ve read she said, for example, that she talked to Tippit for a couple of miutes before he died;

            You need to post a primary source on that. All the sources I know of say she said Tippit “tried” to talk to her.

            Frank Cimino, who arrived on the scene a bit after the shooting, said (as described by the FBI report) that Tippit “moved slightly and groaned but never said anything that he could understand.”

            Which is consistent with Markham thinking that Tippit tried to talk to her.


  22. Phil Graham had serious problems with depression for years. To think that the CIA would use him when he had such an unstale life with compromising affairs is not logical. C’mon Jeff, you know how Mrs. Graham had to clean up the mess at the Post after his suicide and run the family business (and knocked off the Star in the process.)

    1. The “acoustic expert” couldn’t even pick up the sound of a bell in the backround of the tape-a bell at the trade mart(where the recording microphone was located). No sirens.

      1. Would that be why he deals with that issue on pp. 643-44 of his book?
        A new definition of not being able to pick something up: actually discussing the issue.

          1. Obviously Don was setting up his comments for the interview He then tears apart the Ramsey findings. It was a very clever way to get to the meat of the argument.

  23. Jeff,

    You trot out fiction, fiction of a former Washington Post film critic.

    Why post fiction? You know Phil Graham, or whatever his name was, was a CIA spokesperson.

    1. Phil Graham committed suicide in 1963 and his wife, Katherine took over. Phil’s brother was a US Senator from Florida. Phil was close friends with LBJ and was partially instrumental in bringing Lyndon onto the Kennedy ticket in 1960. I don’t know what Kay thought of the JFK assassination, but if she had any doubts about the Warren Commission Report, she didn’t say (to my knowledge). Incidentally, her editor, Ben Bradlee, who was very good friends with JFK, was confronted by David Talbot (you can read about it in his book, ‘Brothers’) about the assassination, and about Mary Meyer, his former sister-in-law, who had had an affair with JFK and kept a diary outlining it. She was outspoken about nuclear war and the arms buildup, and supposedly was going to say something about JFK’s assassination (her former husband was Cord Meyer). Mary never got the chance to say much. She was murdered in a mysterious way while jogging or walking on the C & O Canal towpath, near her Georgetown home, in 1964. Ben Bradlee and his wife Tony were surprised to find James J. Angleton show up after her murder to rifle through her studio and grab her diary. Ben Bradlee (and probably Kay Graham) were just too close to the flame of events to speak out, and unlike Mary Meyer, they were more guarded and careful about what they have said (Kay passed away a few years ago while in WY).
      I wonder if Phil Graham knew much about a plan to assassinate the president before he died, or whether he was kept out of the loop? I’d be willing to bet on the latter, as he was a prominent newsman, no matter how close he may have still been to LBJ.

      1. Katherine Graham was very close to Lyndon Johnson and in the aftermath of the JFK assassiation LBJ coopted her, and much of the left establishment, by coming out strong for civil rights. The establishment left was loathe to scrutinize an obvious suspect LBJ. The insiders were fully aware of the Kennedy-LBJ war going on.

    2. Why post fiction? I explained in the post why I thought treatment of Hunter’s fiction was useful for discussion of the facts. If this isn’t clear to you, re-read the post.
      Phil Graham (that was his name) was not a “CIA spokesperson.” That, truly, is fiction.

      1. Was not the the Washington Post a charter member of Operation Mockingbird? Were not Phil and K. Graham members of the “Georgetown crowd,” which included Allen Dulles, Cord Meyer, and Richard Bissell? Did not Katherine Graham state there are some things the public best not know and newspapers ought not print, in order to protect the government?

        I suspect Hunter’s book is a good read and is based on real knowledge of the facts surrounding the case. Seems to me though there’s plenty enough to mine in the historical record. The portion of Robert Frazier’s W.C. testimony I posted above is one example.

      2. I found this statement over at JFKlancer by John Simpkin:

        “Graham joined the armed forces during the Second World War. His first job was as William Donovan’s communications officer. Donovan was of course head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the organization that evolved into the CIA in September, 1947.
        In 1944 Graham was recruited into the “Special Branch, a super-secret part of Intelligence, run by Colonel Al McCormick”. The work was so secret that Graham never divulged what he was up to during the war. However, it did involve working with General George Kennedy, commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Southwest Pacific. It also involved spending time in the Philippines.

        Graham left the OSS at the end of the war to run the Washington Post. However, according to his wife, he kept up a close relationship with several members of the CIA. The two key figures in this were Tracy Barnes and Frank Wisner. Graham admits that the CIA did influence what went in the Washington Post. This was especially true about the reporting on Cuba. This upset several reporters who had their stories removed from the newspaper.”
        –Post #23740

        I knew about Phil’s close relationship to Lyndon Johnson, and how he very early on wanted LBJ to be president someday (in the 1950s). Kay was an Adlai Stevenson supporter, but she supposedly came over to LBJ’s side by the sixties. I wonder about Phil Graham’s CIA ties, and how close he got/stayed with the Agency. Certainly this is an area that could possibly yield some great new information for a researcher.

        1. Thank you for confirming and clarifying my point. Phil Graham was not a “spokesman for the CIA.” That is not a true and accurate statement. He was a newspaper publisher who took the CIA interests into account when shaping the Post’s news coverage. That is a true and accurate statement.

      3. Lawrence Schnapf

        Hunter’s explanation of the workings of guns and ammo alone merits reading the book. also his analysis why the Dal-Tex building was the likely source of the rear fired shot.

      4. Michael Tyrrell

        That’s just how I feel Jeff. I respect your premise(s)… A speculation or theory is only good if: 1. Its clearly stated as such, 2. Aids or clarifies the facts, 3. Is a catalyst for discussion of what was observed and/or recorded.

  24. The shot at Walker was key to the Warren Commission’s case against Oswald. The bullet recovered from Walker’s wall was too mangled to be matched to any rifle. About all there was tying Oswald to the shooting was some Marina testimony to the W.C. Marina bent over backward to implicate Oswald for the W.C.

  25. Robert Frazier’s testimony to the Warren Commission establishes that the alleged murder weapon had not bee fired recently. From Frazier’s testimony:

    Mr. Eisenberg. Does this weapon show–how much use does this weapon show?

    Mr. Frazier. The stock is worn, scratched. The bolt is relatively smooth, as if it had been operated several times. I cannot actually say how much use the weapon has. had. The barrel is–was not, when we first got it, in excellent condition. It was, I would say, in fair condition. In other words, it showed the effects of wear and corrosion.

    The Chairman. I didn’t get that last.

    Mr. Frazier. It showed the effects of wear and corrosion.

    Mr. Eisenberg. So that it is impossible to attribute any given amount of wear to the last user?

    Mr. Frazier. Yes, sir; it is impossible.

    Mr. McCloy. How soon after the assassination did you examine this rifle?

    Mr. Frazier. We received the rifle the following morning.

    Mr. McCloy. When you examined the rifle the first time, you said that it showed signs of some corrosion and wear?

    Mr. Frazier. Yes, sir.

    Mr. McCloy. Was it what you would call pitted, were the lands in good shape?

    Mr. Frazier. No, sir; the lands and the grooves were worn, the corners were worn, and the interior of the surface was roughened from corrosion or wear.

    Mr. McCloy. Was there metal fouling in the barrel?

    Mr. Frazier. I did not examine it for that.

    Mr. McCloy. Could you say roughly how many rounds you think had been fired since it left the factory, with the condition of the barrel as you found it?

    Mr. Frazier. No, sir; I could not, because the number of rounds is not an indication of the condition of the barrel, since if a barrel is allowed to rust, one round will remove that rust and wear the barrel to the same extent as 10 or 15 or 50 rounds just fired through a clean barrel.

    Mr. McCloy. Thank you.

      1. Frazier could not tell when the rifle had been fired last. All he knew and in effect said, it had been a long time.


        Mr. Frazier. No, sir; I could not, because the number of rounds is not an indication of the condition of the barrel, since if a barrel is allowed to rust, one round will remove that rust and wear the barrel to the same extent as 10 or 15 or 50 rounds just fired through a clean barrel.

          1. At no point does he say or imply “not any time recently”. “I cannot actually say how much use the weapon has had”. Now how can you possibly interpret that as” not any time recently”? He basically admits he has no knowledge of the recent history of its use and couldn’t tell whether one,10 or 15 or 50 rounds had been fired.
            What is next-that he implied that all of the shots came from the grassy knoll?

          2. “Frazier could not tell when the rifle had been fired last.”~photon

            “..since if a barrel is allowed to rust, one round will remove that rust and wear the barrel to the same extent as 10 or 15 or 50 rounds just fired through a clean barrel.”~Frazier

            Don’t you get it??? If even one bullet had been fired recently (which would include a day before Frazier examined the rifle) just one round would have removed that rust and wear!
            The OBVIOUS conclusion from this testimony is that the rifle hadn’t been fired recently.
            Your grasping onto Frazier saying he could not say the last time the rifle was fired is irrelevant – he needn’t know the exact date to tell you that the rifle hadn’t been fired!

    1. Photon
      “At no point does he say or imply “not any time recently”. “I cannot actually say how much use the weapon has had”. Now how can you possibly interpret that as ”not any time recently”? He basically admits he has no knowledge of the recent history of its use and couldn’t tell whether one,10 or 15 or 50 rounds had been fired.
      What is next-that he implied that all of the shots came from the grassy knoll?”

      A small correction, Photon – the inference is drawn from the following:
      “Mr. McCloy. When you examined the rifle the first time, you said that it showed signs of some corrosion and wear?

      Mr. Frazier. Yes, sir.

      Mr. McCloy. Was it what you would call pitted, were the lands in good shape?

      Mr. Frazier. No, sir; the lands and the grooves were worn, the corners were worn, and the interior of the surface was roughened from corrosion or wear.”
      How many bullets had been fired from the rifle is irrelevant.

      Please pay attention, Photon:

      “Mr. McCloy. How soon after the assassination did you examine this rifle?

      Mr. Frazier. We received the rifle the following morning.”

      So, how long does it take for a rifle barrel to rust?

  26. Sounds worth reading. I think DeLillo’s Libra also presents a plausibile fictional account that, as far as I can tell, does not contradict the known factual record, but fills in the gaps with some reasonable and informed speculation.

    Personally, I find any theory that omits 544 Camp Street to be unsatisfying. You don’t have to believe that Delphine Roberts and Jack Martin were credible witnesses on their own (they obviously weren’t). The connection of Ferrie and Oswald to that location, in the same time period, and in connection with Castro-related activities, is just too big of a coincidence for me to swallow, given their prior association,.

    And I always get back to this: How did Martin know that Ferrie and Oswald were together in the Civil Air Patrol, unless Ferrie had mentioned it? And if he did mention it, why?

      1. @EconWatcher: “Personally, I find any theory that omits 544 Camp Street to be unsatisfying….”

        I agree. Not that theories are required to satisfy us, but any assassination theory that omits 544 Camp Street is a theory that has neglected to consider a relevant fact.

        I also agree there is no need to consider Delphine Roberts’ or Jack Martin’s statements yet. The agreed-upon fact of 544 Camp Street can take us a long way. The statements of Roberts and Martin are lagniappe, as they say in Louisiana.

    1. No, they don’t. They are meant to produce through and through wounds that are disabling. Paul Chambers’ HEAD SHOT is very interesting on the physics of the thing. He believes a frangible .223/.224 round did the head damage, and makes a good case for it. He posits a Winchester 220 Swift rifle, fired from the knoll.

      1. The 220 Swift could have done it. Back then it would push a bullet up to 4,000 feet per second. Very fast even by todays standard.

    2. They don’t?

      “They” say the full metal jacket bullet that struck JFK’s skull exploded,, thus explaining the fine mist, and fore-to-aft trail, of tiny fragments at the top of JFK’s skull. Quite unlike the trail of fragments seen in the X-ray of the test skull Larry Sturdivan presented to the HSCA.,+skull+shooting+test,+x+ray&biw=1366&bih=631&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1govZs-zLAhVKx2MKHXUmC-wQ_AUIBigB&dpr=1#imgrc=Dv3fUF1RqCEl3M%3A

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