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James R Gordon

The Connally Jacket Movement

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The Connally Jacket Movement

On the JFK Assassination Forum, David Von Pein challenged forum members to answer the following challenge.

David Von Pein says the following:-

“Based on what we can see in the Zapruder Film excerpt presented below, do you think it is even remotely possible that President Kennedy and Governor Connally are reacting to being hit by the same bullet?

If anyone answers "No" to my question above, would you please answer this second question:

Why not?”

At the heart of David’s challenge, that heads his thread, is that between Z 223 and Z 224 John Connally’s jacket popped out slightly. This movement of the jacket is proof that a bullet had just passed through John Connally and since JFK was also reacting at the same point – proof that both men were reacting to a shot at this point.

At the heart of the proposition that John Connally was wounded between 223/4 is the movement that is seen in his jacket. The modern interpretation is that the jacket pops out, and in doing so, demonstrates that a bullet has just passed through the jacket and moved it outwards as it did so. This is a major moment in Dale Myers presentation. It is the cornerstone that allows him to create his proposition for the Single Bullet Theory. Such a theory would not be possible but for this point. With this argument Dale Myers proposition that at 223/4 both Connally and JFK were injured has merit. Without this proposition, that the jacket pops forward, the argument that both Connally and JFK were injured together completely collapses. The moment is that important.

To be fair, given the quality of images that have been used, it is not possible to argue with the proposition one way or the other: the image quality is just not good enough. Recently Chris Davidson was kind enough to give me copies of his Zapruder images that are clear enough to determine whether Dale Myers proposition stands up to scrutiny or not.

In this description I will examine the four essential Zapruder frames: Z 223; Z 224; Z 225 and Z 226

Zapruder frame 223:-


On the day of the assassination the wind was blowing from a westerly direction. This is indicated by the red arrow.

On the left hand side of the image are two inserts. At the top is an image of the presidential flag. Below it a magnified copy of John Connally himself.

As can be seen, and as Dale Myers acknowledges, John Connally’s jacket is perfectly positioned.

Zapruder frame Z 224:-


Here is the critical frame.

What you are seeing:-

On the left are two expanded images of John Connally: one for Z 223 and one for Z 224. This is to allow better comparison.

Above are two expanded images of the presidential flag: one for Z 223 and one for Z 224. Again this is to allow for better comparison.

Again the red arrow indicates the direction of the wind.

Dale Myers argument is that the jacket has popped out as a result of the bullet passing through the jacket. He is correct in observing that the jacket’s shape has changed. What has happed is that the lapel has blown open. The problem with Myers argument can be seen in Z 223 insert. He suggests that the jacket has moved forward. But that is not what we see in the Z 224 insert.

Rather than move forward, this portion of the jacket has moved from left to right. The side of a jacket cannot move like that. The side of a jacket, in this case the right side, does not move in this way. If the jacket had moved forward, as a consequence of the bullet passing through, the right side of the jacket would move forward: it would not move to the left. And what is more important, had the jacket moved forward the tie would still be seen. It would not be obscured by the jacket’s forward movement.

What has happened, is that the lapel of the jacket has blown open. You can see the point of the lapel is nearly in front of the knot in the tie. Myers argument is that the jacket has moved out. It has not, the lapel has blown open and has moved from left to right, the point of the lapel now covering the knot of the tie.

We can see that there is been an increase in the wind at this point, because the presidential flag has changed it position. And that is the reason the lapel has blown open.

Below is a greatly expanded version of the Z 224 insert. Although Connally features are close to being obscured, it does allow a closer view of the movement of the jacket lapel.


Zapruder frame Z 225:-


What you are seeing:-

On the left are two expanded images of John Connally: one for Z 223 and one for Z 224. This is to allow better comparison.

Above are two expanded images of the presidential flag: one for Z 223 and one for Z 224. Again this is to allow for better comparison.

The major difference between this frame and Z 224 is that the point of the lapel has begun to return to its correct position. The knot of the tie is now no longer obscured as it was in the previous frame. Because the flag appears to still be subject to greater wind than there was at Z 224, that might explain why the lapel collar has changed its position.

However, equally important, Connally is continuing to turn to his left.

And here is the explanation:-

Between Z 223 – Z 225 John Connally is partially turned to his right. His jacket collar and especially his jacket lapel are open to the winds direction. And that is why the jacket lapel open up momentarily. Connally’s turned position in the car has allowed the direction of the wind to catch the jacket lapel and open it up.

Look at Z 226:-


In this frame Connally is seated facing forward, the wind is not able to catch the lapel in the way it did before. In addition, as the presidential flag shows, the wind has dropped by this point.

To summarise:-

Yes John Connally’s jacket does change its position. It does not, as Dale Myers would like us to believe, move forward as a consequence of a bullet passing through. What does happen is that because of the position John Connally has taken in the car, combined with the direction of the wind, has allowed the wind to catch the lapel of the jacket and blown it towards the right.

Therefore, the movement of the jacket is not a symptom of John Connally being struck by a bullet at this point.

And since this is the crucial underpinning tennet of the Single Bullet Theory, that means that serious doubt is now cast upon it.

And now to directly answer David’s question:-

“Based on what we can see in the Zapruder Film excerpt presented below, do you think it is even remotely possible that President Kennedy and Governor Connally are reacting to being hit by the same bullet?”

Answer:- No.



Because the jacket’s movement, that we see, is not the result of a bullet passing through his jacket. It is a consequence of the wind catching it.


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I think that it is perfectly reasonable to believe Governor Connally may have had his rib shattered in these frames. Note, Connally himself has not "reacted" to the strike, because human beings take time to react, and we tend to forget how many frames actually fill each second in this film. The jacket movement seems about right to me, time wise. It will take time passing before Connally “knows” he is hit- and of course, the same applies to the President's reaction times.

The doctors when queried by the Warren Commission lawyers noted that when a bullet strikes bone, it is very painful, and people tend to react "promptly". But this camera records something like 18 frames per second, so time needs to pass before the Governor reacts- he's a human being- just like President Kennedy.

Now, move over to JFK..If he has been struck by the same bullet, he will react at the same time or after Connally. But what's this?? He has very clearly ALREADY reacted to a bullet quite a number of frames previously, which the Commission says passed ONLY through soft tissue, and enough time has passed for him to raise his hands to his throat, all the while the actual bullet is only right this moment passing through Connally. This is hard evidence of two distinct shots hitting the two men. Simply observe his hands. They already have reached for his throat area at the time Connally is being struck and he is not "reacting" at all.

When we last spied JFK, he was in a much different position, waving, his right hand raised. Unless we want to slow the speed that the "magic bullet" down to say, an impressive flight speed of 2 or 3 inches per second we are looking at two distinct shooters.

If, on the other hand, one believes the rest of what the "Magic Bullet" is represented to have done- made the "v" turn started upwards leaving JFK and then a crazy jog right, striking multiple bones while maintaining it's form in a way no bullet has ever done before or since, I guess it's perfectly reasonable to also have it slow down to a speed of 2 inches per second for a sort of "Matrix" style performance. Why not? The government’s version is draped in"bullet-time" performance anyways.

In the end, both JFK and Connally are human beings. If both are struck by a bullet, and one guy sustains a more or less minor soft tissue wound, and the other a devastating multiple bone hit, they will seem to react at the same moment, OR, the guy with the more nasty, painful strike will react first.

JFK reacts many frames before before Governor Connally, thus the briefing boards created by the NPIC state this evidence clearly, and the FBI also came to this logical conclusion in their report and never changed it, because, the Zapruder film clearly shows two distinct hits separated by too many frames for one shot, yet, too few for Oswald to reload. Anyone who carefully and objectively studies the film can see it. Only the desperate government investigations. it's clinging believers, and the intelligence assets dispute it.

The Warren Commission, instead of using the evidence and coming to a conclusion, was working under the pre-decided conclusion that Oswald acted alone, thus, had to ignore the evidence and work up some "Magic"; leading medical witnesses, switching around pictures, scrubbing out signatures, and doing whatever they had to, to arrive at their pre-ordained "findings".

All one has to do to understand the truth of the Warren Commission's predetermined bias is to take a look at how early the report's chapters, which assume the guilt of Oswald, were laid out. They had Oswald convicted before they ever listened to witnesses and searched for the truth. The Lone-nutters who let the Warren Commission "report" act as “evidence”, instead of looking at the actual primary evidence for themselves are forever trapped in a fantasy world of “bullet-time” physics and skewed perspective.

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Thank you a very reasoned and logical response.

I agree that JFK had to have been wounded some frames earlier and for the very reasons you outline.

With regard to the idea that Connally was wounded at 223/4 that is not possible. At this point Connally is turned to his right by something like 20 degrees. Although there are researchers who believe Connally sustained a through wound, I.e. a wound that traveled through his chest. That did not happen, the bullet ran down the 5th rib and outer chest wall. Yes, damage was done to the lung, but that was created by bone fragments broken off the rib when the bullet struck the rib. Although the bullet did not enter the chest, those fragments did.

So what does this mean? It means when you run a trajectory from that wound, when turned around 20 degrees to your right, such a trajectory passes over JFK's left shoulder.

Could a trajectory be made to suit the exit from JFK to Connally. The answer is yes. However such a trajectory would require the bullet to travel through the chest cavity. It might even be possible to have the bullet exit close to where the exit wound actually was. But, and this but is important, that kind of wound is not the kind of wound that Connally sustained.

That is why I say that 223/4 is not the moment when Connally received his chest wound.


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At the heart of David’s challenge, that heads this thread [at Duncan's MacRae's JFK Assassination Forum], is that between Z 223 and Z 224 John Connally’s jacket popped out slightly. This movement of the jacket is proof that a bullet had just passed through John Connally and since JFK was also reacting at the same point – proof that both men were reacting to a shot at this point.

James is a little confused here. The lapel "flip/bulge" is most certainly not the ONLY thing that is happening to Governor Connally in the Z224-Z230 time period.

In fact, please note that in this entire thread I have not even brought up the lapel flip AT ALL. Not once.

Instead, I talked about all of those OTHER things we see occurring with John Connally's BODY (not his clothing) in the Z224-Z230 timespan. I didn't even mention the lapel bulge, and that's mainly because I feel the lapel flip/bulge is the WEAKEST of the evidence that exists in the Zapruder Film to suggest that Connally was hit with a bullet at precisely Z224 (which is when I do, indeed, believe the SBT bullet from Oswald's rifle is passing through both Kennedy and Connally).

But there are also a lot of NON-LAPEL reasons why I believe that the SBT is occurring at Z224, which I have talked about in this very thread [at the other JFK forum], while I have ignored the lapel flip altogether in this discussion.

So I'm a bit perplexed as to why James Gordon seems to be implying that my whole SBT theory hinges on Connally's lapel movement. But it just ain't so. There are many other things occurring to Connally at circa Z224-Z230 that conspiracy theorists are pretty much forced to ignore (or deem as unimportant) when they attempt to debunk the Single-Bullet Theory.

BTW, I too have considered the idea that the wind blowing through Dealey Plaza might have caused Connally's lapel to move. In fact, I talk about that very possibility in an article I put on my "Single-Bullet Theory" blog. I'll paste the relevant portions about the lapel flip below. These excerpts were written by me in January 2006:

Quote On:

"The Abraham Zapruder film of JFK's assassination has aided researchers the world over in attempting to re-construct the murder of the President and the wounding of Governor Connally. And there are many indications within that amateur movie that show the SBT to be an accurate scenario.

One such controversial "indication" of the initial bullet strike to Connally's body is the so-called "lapel flip", when the Governor's suit jacket bulges or "flips" at Zapruder Frame #224.

However, I haven't totally abandoned the idea (purported by some conspiracy theorists and possibly some lone-assassin believers as well) of "the wind" causing the lapel flip/bulge. BUT, I will say, if it WAS "the wind", it sure was an amazing coincidence that that gust of wind moved that lapel at the EXACT same 1/18th of a second when a bullet was probably going through the same general area of Governor Connally's body. Almost TOO much of a "coincidence" to be believed.

However, to be fair-minded on this topic -- it is true, I suppose, that CTers could lash back at the above statement of mine with -- "What the heck are you talkin' about! The lapel flip is the ONLY thing you LNers are relying on to indicate a definitive 'SBT' bullet strike at Z224! So without your 'flip', you've got nada!"

OK...fair enough argument. BUT, just AFTER the lapel flip (in the frames immediately following Z224) there are several things that occur to Gov. Connally that indicate a bullet had just passed through him -- e.g., Connally's "open-mouthed grimace" at precisely Z225. And JFK's mouth is "open" at this exact moment as well, which is BEFORE the President has distinctly moved his arms upward to his throat area.*

* = And, btw, although it can NEVER be "proven", due to that darn Stemmons Freeway road sign being in the way, it is quite possible that Z225 might very well be the VERY FIRST moment in time when JFK's mouth opened too....which, if it could be PROVEN (which it can never be, unfortunately), would be an absolutely-overwhelming indication that a single bullet was piercing both men at the exact same time.

For, I ask: What would be the odds of having BOTH President Kennedy and John Connally having their mouths closed at Z224, but then, at Z225, opening their mouths in that exact same frame? If that road sign could be removed from the Z-Film, we'd know a great deal more, via the visual medium of Mr. Zapruder's film of the event.

Other post-Z224 "reactions" by Connally include a downward movement of his right shoulder, and the biggie for me -- that "Hat Flip", where his cowboy hat goes flying upward in a very quick space of a few Z-Film frames (and remember, it was the RIGHT hand flying upwards there, and it was the RIGHT wrist which was hit by a bullet that day).

However, the Zapruder Film (as good a piece of SBT-revealing evidence as it is) is really totally unneeded to prove the viability of the SBT. Because even without the existence of Mr. Zapruder's 26-second slice of tragic history in the making, there's so much OTHER evidence that tells a reasonable person with common sense that the Single-Bullet Theory is practically the ONLY way the shooting could have occurred back in '63.

Such evidence as:

1.) The Official JFK Autopsy Report (which was signed by all three autopsy doctors who attended President Kennedy's autopsy at Bethesda), which states without reservation that the bullet that entered JFK's upper back "made its exit through the anterior surface of the neck".

2.) The seated positions in the car of the two shooting victims, one right in front of the other (with JBC just a little lower and a little left of JFK, consistent with SBT-dom).

3.) The physical locations of the two victims' wounds, which are definitely consistent with one bullet having travelled through both JFK and JBC.

4.) The oblong-shaped entry wound on Governor Connally's back, perfectly consistent with the SBT....because this wound certainly indicates that the bullet which entered JBC's back hit something else prior to striking the Governor's back. And the only physical "something" that was between John Connally and the rifle which fired that bullet was the person of John F. Kennedy.

5.) "Stretcher Bullet CE399" being found IN THE HOSPITAL where the victims were taken.

6.) CE399 being scientifically linked to Lee Oswald's rifle and to Connally's wrist fragments. (With a good deal of probability, that bullet traversed John Connally's body that day in Dallas.)

7.) The incredibly-important fact of NO OTHER BULLETS being found anywhere that can be "connected" with these "SBT"-like wounds on the two victims (not a bullet in Connally and not a single whole bullet in Kennedy's back or neck either). This little item here is a KEY to proving the validity of the SBT, and the CTers need to go out on a very shaky limb to get around this not-so-insignificant "No Bullets In Kennedy" item; they'll need either divine intervention to further the conspiracy "plot", which would include BOTH bullets that went into JFK just vanishing ON THEIR OWN (somehow); or the conspiracists need an after-the-fact cover-up, which has plotters digging TWO whole bullets out of JFK's body without a single non-conspirator getting wise. (Not to mention the silliness in the first place of having to purport that TWO bullets just STOPPED DEAD in the soft flesh of the President, both failing to exit the body. That's nutty unto itself.)

8.) No back-seat limo damage that would indicate a bullet struck those seats. And no bullets there either (save very small fragments, plus the two larger fragments in the front seat, which perfectly conform to the Lone-Assassin head-shot scenario).

And the Zapruder Film isn't required to prove the existence of any of the above evidence. Therefore, sans the Z-Film, the SBT is still rock-solid.

Getting back to the lapel flip specifically for a moment more ---

The following motion clip covers Zapruder Frames 222 and 223. Via this Z-Film clip, it does seem that the jacket lapel of Mr. Connally might very well have been moving around even prior to Z224, thus casting some doubt on the idea that the "flip" at Z224 was being caused exclusively by a bullet:


In the final analysis.....

After all the chips have fallen (and considering all of the evidence favoring the SBT, while being forced via common sense and logical thinking to reject the incredible amount of hocus-pocus and conspiratorial hijinks that would have been required in order for the SBT to not be true) -- the Single-Bullet Theory, in my opinion, is by far the most-likely-to-be-correct version to explain the wounding of President Kennedy and Governor Connally on November 22nd, 1963."

David Von Pein

January 2006


Edited by David Von Pein

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