The Education Forum

# I Was a Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak

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On 11/21/2018 at 2:44 PM, Sandy Larsen said:

I have no experience with gunshot wounds, so I can't give a "rule-of-thumb" answer. But maybe I can use physics to come up with a reasonable approximation.

I'll use the law of Conservation of  Momentum to derive the final velocity. To those unfamiliar with this, it means that the momentum before a collision is equal to the TOTAL momentum after the collision... that is to say, the sum of the momenta of all the moving objects, e.g. bullet fragments, the head, etc.

The momentum of an object is calculated by multiplying its mass by its velocity. Let's say that the mass of the bullet is 10 grams and its velocity 800 meters per second. It's momentum would be:

p = m v = 10 x 800 = 8000

("p" is the variable used for momentum instead of "m" since mass already uses that letter.)

So the momentum before the collision is 8000. This total momentum after the collision must also equal this number. Problem is, we can't predict without a computer simulation whether or not the body will move, nor how many fragments there will be and what speed and direction they will each move. So for the approximate velocity Tom is asking for, I will have to make some assumptions.

Let's suppose that the bullet hits the skull, and the deformed and/or fragmented bullet sticks to the skull. To simplify the problem further, let's pretend for now that Kennedy isn't holding his head up with his neck muscles. Because if he were doing that, we'd have to take into account the momentum of the neck and body. For this approximation I want to deal only with Kennedy's freely-moving head, as that is a manageable problem.

The mass of a head is about 5000 grams. The bullet adds 10 grams to that after the collision. But since 5000 grams is only an approximation anyway, let's ignore that additional 10 grams. Plugging the momentum and mass into the formula we get:

p = m v

8000 = 5000 v

Solving for v we get v = 1.6 meters per second.

So at the point the bullet first makes contact with the head, it will be traveling at a velocity of 800 meters per second. But by the time bullet has deformed and/or fragmented, it and the head will be traveling at only 1.6 meters per second.

Now, had the bullet broken through the skull and come to rest inside, instead of sticking to the outside surface, the final velocity would be the same. It just would take a bit longer for the bullet to decelerate to 1.6 m/s.

If we factor back in the neck and body, those body parts would have taken up some of the momentum, thus slowing the head and bullet down somewhat.

Therefore, my first-order approximation to Tom's question is this:  Somewhat less than 1.6 m/s.

Now, Tom asked for the approximate velocity of the bullet "AFTER the grazing impact," not after it stuck itself to the back of the head. It is impossible to give an answer to that without knowing some specifics. For example, suppose the bullet hits at such an obtuse angle that is merely skids along the skull and barely slows down. In that case the bullet would be traveling close to the original 800 m/s because it won't lost much energy due to friction or anything else.

On the other hand, suppose the bullet breaks through the skull, (as in my first-order approximation) but a tiny fragment remains outside, skidding along the skull and tunneling between the scalp and skull, and down through he neck. That fragment could conceivably be traveling down the neck at ANY speed less than 800 mt/2, depending upon precisely how and when it fragmented. (In addition, it initially will move along with the head in its direction at <1.6 m/s.)

Therefore, my second-order approximation to Tom's question is this:  Between 0 and 800 m/s depending upon precisely what happened to the bullet upon impact.

I have a feeling that Tom will reject the notion that the bullet or fragment could have moved at any speed in that range. But I have given two extreme examples that show this to be the case.

LARSEN: "But by the time bullet has deformed and/or fragmented, it and the head will be traveling at only 1.6 meters per second."

You're right, you have no experience with gunshot wounds and your calculations are irrelevant as proof of your theory. Where is your evidence that the bullet would be "deformed" or "fragmented" when it made contact with 1/4" skullbone at 800m/s? No ballistics/forensics/medical text agree with this. The real front shot bullet did not fragment due to impact with the skull, it fragmented by hydraulic pressure AFTER it passed through the skull, as it was designed to do. In your notion there would be no fragment outside the skull to "tunnel." Once again, you have chosen to ignore this along with a dozen other arguments against your "theory."

Where is your evidence that the bullet would decelerate from 800 m/s to 1.6m/s at impact? There is no relationship between your calculation and how much velocity would be lost. How do you explain a supersonic rifle bullet penetrating the skull from the front but stopping and "sticking to the outside surface at the back."? How does a TSBD bullet hit the EOP at an "obtuse angle"? You are STILL ignoring simple questions.

Per SOP you are ignoring your own "theory." I don't blame you. How does your 1.6 m/s bullet retain enough ENERGY to reach and pass through vertebrae, make a turn from horizontal to vertical, break off a bone fragment which cuts the trachea, passes through the skin and 4 layers of cloth. This is a requirement for your "theory." Again SOP, your are supposed to be proving your theory, but your conclusions DISPROVE your theory.

LARSEN: "Between 0 and 800 m/s depending upon precisely what happened to the bullet upon impact."
Your conclusion is the bullet lost somewhere between ALL of its velocity and NONE of its velocity. i.e. There is no possible way to draw any conclusions, so your "theory" MUST be true.

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3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

LARSEN: "But by the time bullet has deformed and/or fragmented, it and the head will be traveling at only 1.6 meters per second."

You're right, you have no experience with gunshot wounds and your calculations are irrelevant as proof of your theory.

I never said that my calculations prove or are relevant to the proof of my hypothesis. I merely used them to answer your question.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Where is your evidence that the bullet would be "deformed" or "fragmented" when it made contact with 1/4" skullbone at 800m/s?

Bullets are typically deformed to some extent upon striking bone. But even if the bullet didn't deform, it doesn't matter because that would have no bearing on my calculations.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

No ballistics/forensics/medical text agree with this. The real front shot bullet did not fragment due to impact with the skull, it fragmented by hydraulic pressure AFTER it passed through the skull, as it was designed to do. In your notion there would be no fragment outside the skull to "tunnel." Once again, you have chosen to ignore this along with a dozen other arguments against your "theory."

Bullets sometimes do fragment when hitting bone:

"A bullet striking bone may cause fragmentation of bone and/or bullet, with numerous secondary missiles formed, each producing additional wounding. Fragmentation increases the permanent cavity size (Maiden, 2009; Bruner et al, 2011). "
(Source)

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Where is your evidence that the bullet would decelerate from 800 m/s to 1.6m/s at impact?

I proved it using a law of physics. The velocity would actually be less than 1.6 m/s depending how much momentum was imparted on the neck and body.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

There is no relationship between your calculation and how much velocity would be lost.

How do you explain a supersonic rifle bullet penetrating the skull from the front but stopping and "sticking to the outside surface at the back."?

As I pointed out, it doesn't really matter whether the bullet sticks to the outside of the skull or enters the skull. As long as the bullet doesn't afterward exit the skull, my equations and conclusion hold. The only difference entering the skull would make is that it would take a bit longer for the full deceleration to occur.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

How does a TSBD bullet hit the EOP at an "obtuse angle"? You are STILL ignoring simple questions.

My hypothesis assumes that the approach angle is small enough and the skull bone strong enough that the bullet would skid. I haven't done the work necessary to show that that could have occurred. (The evidence, however, DOES appear to show this is what happened.)

And no, I am not ignoring these "simple questions." I have considered them and evaluated some, but others would require more work than I am capable of doing. This, however, doesn't mean the hypothesis is wrong. It just means it needs more work. The same is true of most of the hypotheses put forth on the forum IMO. And there is nothing wrong with that... that is how all hypotheses begin.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Per SOP you are ignoring your own "theory." I don't blame you.

How does your 1.6 m/s bullet retain enough ENERGY to reach and pass through vertebrae, make a turn from horizontal to vertical, break off a bone fragment which cuts the trachea, passes through the skin and 4 layers of cloth.

That 1.6 m/s number is from my "first order approximation" of the velocity you wanted to know. My "second order approximation" demonstrated that the speed of fragments going down through the neck could be traveling at any speed between zero and 800 m/s depending upon precisely how the bullet behaved upon impact.

In other words, I couldn't give you an approximate velocity without having more information.

BTW, my first order approximation of 1.6 mt/s serves to show that slow post-impact velocities are conceivable.

3 minutes ago, Tom Neal said:

Not true.

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3 minutes ago, Sandy Larsen said:

I agree that Humes lied. But I don't agree that he lied about everything. I can't think of any reason he'd make up a 6 mm x 15 mm grazing wound out of whole cloth.

So what? He was a doctor, not a ballistics expert.

It could be a case of faulty memory. Or it could be that he thought the bullet first struck at the top of the 15 mm x 6 mm scalp wound, tunneled for that 15 mm, and then entered the scalp there, below the EOP.

I can't think of any reason he'd change his mind and move the wound down intentionally.

I think you protest too much.

Hume's wasn't an expert autopsist, but he certainly knew how to identify a wound.

He's reacting from the EOP head-shot. And perhaps also from the back wound. Or so my hypothesis goes.

How do you know that? (Note that the bullet wouldn't have to graze the EOP because it hit to the right of it (and above).)

LARSEN: I agree that Humes lied. But I don't agree that he lied about everything.
You believe that Humes lied many times, but NOT about the thing that supports your case...

LARSEN: So what? He was a doctor, not a ballistics expert.
Agreed. Even by your stated qualifications for "expert" status" he's neither a ballistics expert, nor a gun shot wound expert, but he IS a PROVEN xxxx, and LN! Yet you cite him as your ONLY proof that your "theory" is viable. You would NEVER accept him as proof against your theory, but anyone who appears to agree with you is beyond suspicion.

LARSEN: I can't think of any reason he'd make up a 6 mm x 15 mm grazing wound out of whole cloth.
To explain the throat wound as an exit wound to disprove any front shots. One of his MANY lies.

LARSEN: It could be a case of faulty memory.
Right. He's testifying to a Congressional Committee about the controversial murder of the President but he didn't bother to consult his own notes per WC testimony. One little mistake... The xxxx with the "faulty memory" is the perfect choice to defend your "theory."

LARSEN: I can't think of any reason he'd change his mind and move the wound down intentionally.
It doesn't support your theory, so per your SOP, I'm sure you can't. As I recall, you believe that Humes "moved" the back wound up to align it with the throat wound as does everyone but LNs. However, you can't think of any reason why he and others would try to move the throat wound down to accomplish the same requirement...

Also, it shallows the trajectory angle of any shooter to make the "tunneling" sound slightly less impossible... This is lost on you because you've already proven you don't understand why this matters, even though it is SIMPLE Geometry.

LARSEN: I think you protest too much.
Pot calls kettle black. ALL you have done is protest, cite liars and pretend irrelevant "calculations" prove your "theory" and refuse to explain a dozen reasons why your "theory" doesn't work.

LARSEN: Hume's wasn't an expert autopsist, but he certainly knew how to identify a wound.
ONLY if it fit in with the LN lie. How many times did the WC and HSCA disagree with his findings? e.g. His wound location was off by 4." Before you defend Humes by calling THEM liars, they were liars also. Q. Which liars should we believe? A. The one that you believe supports your theory. Don't blame me, that's what you did...

LARSEN: He's reacting from the EOP head-shot.
According to you the front head shot threw him violently backwards, but his head didn't move at all when hit in the back of the head? For this to happen, the bullet could only have lost slight momentum or his head would have noticeably moved - it didn't. Therefore the bullet retained at least the majority of its momentum and punched through the scalp following it's initial trajectory almost exactly.

LARSEN: And perhaps also from the back wound.
Is the same type of "delayed reaction" that explains JFK and JBC different reaction times when hit by the same bullet? Or do you believe the back and EOP shots occurred simultaneously?

LARSEN: Or so my hypothesis goes.
You've never mentioned many things that are now part of your "hypothesis"...

For anyone who doesn't know; your "hypothesis" / "theory": A bullet tunneled along the bottom of the skull, broke off a long slender bone fragment which tore the trachea, exited the throat through a ROUND hole, tore long VERTICAL slits in the shirt, exited the body and vanished without marking the necktie.

According to Larsen this is HIS theory that the throat was an exit wound, resulting from a shot to the head. Per the above, he makes no attempt to explain the majority of his "alleged" trajectory. If I gave directions from point A to point B, but left out the majority of the turns, then I did NOT give directions from A to B. Larsen had two theories: 1. a bullet tunneled between scalp and skull. 2. a bullet or fragment broke off a piece of bone that cut the trachea, passed through the skin and the shirt but stopped at the necktie

He fails to describe the entire trajectory, does not even connect  theories 1 and 2, but insists his theory is how he gets from gun to vanished bone...

Larsen has now included the origin of the shot as the TSBD  and the EOP impact point.

If you accept the trajectory from muzzle to post scalp tunneling then you don't know simple geometry, and the following questions remain unanswered:
1. where does the tunneling on the skull terminate?
2. how could it have enough energy to follow steps 2-9 ?
3. what event turns the frag from approx horizontal trajectory to vertical?
4. where and how does the frag get from the posterior side of the cervical vertebra to the anterior?
5. what damage does this cause and where is it located?
6. where and how is this 1/4" diameter bone frag created?
7. how and where is the trajectory turned from vertical to horizontal (as described by Perry)?
8. why does this bone frag align itself (in 2 dimensions!) along its trajectory pointy end first?
9. how could a frag that did not have enough energy to pierce the scalp have enough momentum to tear the tough trachea, tissue, skin and shirt?

According to the forensic and medical texts, for a gunshot to the head, penetration of the scalp is a second-order difference when calculating bullet velocity. That means it is such a SMALL number that it has no effect on the conclusions drawn from the velocity results. Larsen however states in his "extreme" examples which he claims denote the upper and lower limits of his "hypothesis" within which, his theory allegedly works, that the scalp deflected the bullet upwards! The front shot bullet punched through scalp & skull, fragmented, and the frags traversed the majority of the brain. A shot to the rear would do the same.

The front shot did NOT pass through the center of the brain. This proves that the bullet struck the skull at an angle rather than perpendicular. i.e. If perpendicular, a line from the muzzle to the wound would extend to the center of the skull. An impact at the SAME point at e.g. a 30 deg angle would not. Despite Larsen's protestations a shot from the TSBD (at a specific range) to a specific point on the head can be achieved at only ONE trajectory angle whether you refer to elevation or azimuth.

LARSEN: How do you know that? (Note that the bullet wouldn't have to graze the EOP because it hit to the right of it (and above).)
Wow. You REALLY don't get this do you? You picked the EOP impact reference, not me. There's nothing magical about the EOP - above below center left right it doesn't matter as far as a doable elevation angle. You still can't get a "grazing" trajectory.

You cited Humes. He said above, he said below. Did he say right? Now you are stipulating that it was absolutely ABOVE and RIGHT. So Humes does NOT support your notion because we don't know which answer is what he believes. Do you actually believe this alteration allows your "hypothesis" to work? It doesn't change the reasons why it doesn't work, but what is your source that the impact was above & right?

How about rebutting my dozen or so statements?

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On 11/19/2018 at 1:18 PM, Ray Mitcham said:

Tom, if you mean me, I think you have  the wrong poster. I don't ever remember mentioning a bone fragment.

p.s. It's Ray Mitcham.

Hello Again Ray,

A member PM'd me that he remembers the exchange and your comments. He sent me a link to two posts, but the link didn't work. I tried to make one also, but my link didn't work either.

The first post was in the "throat shot" thread and the second was in Prudhomme's "Back Wound Revisited (Again)" thread. The first thread comments are as I stated, and in the 2nd thread you state 'I still don't see how a bone fragment can make a round hole in the throat and a slit in the shirt.' James Gordon then posts several times in agreement with you... IIRC Gordon believes the throat wound is an entry wound, and I don't recall if you've taken a position as to exit/entry wound.

Tom

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1 hour ago, Tom Neal said:

How about rebutting my dozen or so statements?﻿

Because no matter what I say, you will nitpick it to death.

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12 hours ago, Tom Neal said:

Hello Again Ray,

A member PM'd me that he remembers the exchange and your comments. He sent me a link to two posts, but the link didn't work. I tried to make one also, but my link didn't work either.

The first post was in the "throat shot" thread and the second was in Prudhomme's "Back Wound Revisited (Again)" thread. The first thread comments are as I stated, and in the 2nd thread you state 'I still don't see how a bone fragment can make a round hole in the throat and a slit in the shirt.' James Gordon then posts several times in agreement with you... IIRC Gordon believes the throat wound is an entry wound, and I don't recall if you've taken a position as to exit/entry wound.

Tom

You are quite right. As I remember,  I was arguing against it being a bone fragment.I still fail to see how a bone fragment could form a round hole in the President's throat and slits in his shirt. I assume you want my opinion. I don't believe it was a bone fragment. Never have. I do indeed think as Dr Perry, and others originally thought, it was an entrance wound

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Nov. 2018 television interview with Fred Litwin: