Jump to content
The Education Forum

Dealey Plaza-the first shot


Recommended Posts

I’ve posted parts of this before in responses, but I thought I would add this to be more thorough. First some background:

I lived in Denver some years back where my wife has many relatives. Most of the guys were into hunting and I was invited to participate. I had never hunted in the mountains before. I got to be good friends with my Uncle-in-law who had been paralyzed in an accident, but who had been a very avid and notoriously successful Elk/Deer hunter in his day. He kind of took me under his wing and loaned me his rifle so I didn’t have to buy one right off the bat. It was a 1954 model .270 Winchester with a fixed 4-power Weaver scope. It was an older gun but in great condition and shot just as good as new.

I liked to talk to Uncle Chuck and he liked to tell old hunting stories. I figured by listening I could pick up some good tidbits of information that could be useful in the field. He told me that the .270 he was loaning me had a very high muzzle velocity (nearly 3000 fps) and was a very flat shooting gun. Chuck said that he always dialed the rifle scope in at 2 inches high at 100 yards. That would mean it would drop to 2 inches low at 200 yards, and he never shot over 200 yards. He said everybody loved to talk about the 400 to 500 yard shots but they really weren’t realistic (due to other factors like wind), and he didn’t want to wound an animal and have to traipse around the mountains all day following a 5 mile blood trail. I figured it best to take his advice.

Another thing he told me was “it doesn’t seem to make sense (counter-intuitive), but most people tend to miss low when shooting downhill and miss high when shooting uphill”. He said the best thing to do was to shoot the same on uphill or downhill shots as I would on level ground (that’s what he always did). Apparently most people naturally think (and I even had an experienced hunter tell me this) that when shooting steeply downhill, the bullet is already going downhill so it will not drop like a level shot. This isn’t the case. If you think about it, the only shot you can make where the bullet won’t drop in relation to where you are aiming would be if you were on the edge of a cliff and shooting straight down. Downhill shots might not drop (due to gravity) quite as much as a level shot…but the bullet will still drop.

So thinking about this in relation to the JFK assassination, the first shot at Dealey Plaza actually makes perfect sense. First of all, if the shooter was indeed shooting the Manlicher Carcano (or something similar), that type of gun only has about a 2000 fps muzzle velocity (semi-high powered). Therefore the bullet will drop faster due to gravity that uncle Chuck’s .270. Secondly, the shooter in the TSB (whoever it was) was probably a very expert marksman – but was used to level shots. I've never found a shooting range that has steep elevation changes. So, the shooter could have actually made the perfect shot (or so he thought), but he didn’t count on the bullet still dropping on a downhill shot. Add to that the fact that the Limo was making a very slow sweeping turn to the left at that point and one would expect the shot to miss a few inches low and an inch or so to the right….which is exactly what happened.

Taking all this into consideration, I think the assassination team truly expected this to be a one shot kill. The grassy knoll shooter was a “fail-safe”. The umbrella man was there to signal to the knoll shooter whether it was going to be necessary for him to shoot or not. The driver was likely in on it too. Once all realized that the TSBD shot was not fatal, the car crept into the knoll shooter’s kill zone and a final shot had to be taken to finish the job. Having a backup shooter on the grassy knoll also explains why the TSBD shooter didn’t take the shot when the Limo was coming straight at him. Just my humble opinion...it does nothing to help establish motive or identify a killer...but it does seem to fit the known physical facts of the actual shoot.

Edited by David S. Brownlee
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that there is a lot of difference between a bullet dropping 1 or 2 inches at 200 yards, and a bullet dropping 5 or 6 six inches at less than 200 feet (the distance from the TSBD window to JFK for the back wound). But this raises the question of a bad round (the back wound being only about a finger's length deep). I know nothing about guns so this is perhaps a dumb question, but wouldn't a bad round (whatever that may be) have less velocity and drop a lot more than a good round at less than 200 feet?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sensible, but - at least judging by the available Zapruder film - the shoulder-wound "miss" would be followed very quickly by the frontal throat wound. Quickly enough that, from Zapruder's POV, they both occurred behind the Stemmons Freeway sign, (or are obscured to us by some doctored version of it).

Food for thought, though. One would hope that they didn't intend to make the horrific mess that they did.

Edited by David Andrews
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that there is a lot of difference between a bullet dropping 1 or 2 inches at 200 yards, and a bullet dropping 5 or 6 six inches at less than 200 feet (the distance from the TSBD window to JFK for the back wound). But this raises the question of a bad round (the back wound being only about a finger's length deep). I know nothing about guns so this is perhaps a dumb question, but wouldn't a bad round (whatever that may be) have less velocity and drop a lot more than a good round at less than 200 feet?

It seems that JFK would have been killed instantly by this shot from behind him and we would have never known what really happened.

From Spartacus:

Paul O'Connor was interviewed by William Matson Law for his book, In the Eye of History: Disclosures in the JFK Assassination Medical Evidence. O'Connor told Law: "We found out, while the autopsy was proceeding, that he was shot from a high building, which meant the bullet had to be traveling in a downward trajectory and we also realized that this bullet - that hit him in the back - is what we called in the military a "short shot," which means that the powder in the bullet was defective so it didn't have the power to push the projectile - the bullet-clear through the body. If it had been a full shot at the angle he was shot, it would have come out through his heart and through his sternum."

Paul O'Connor died in August, 2006.

( this is not the episode where O'Connor explains the "short shot" but I could not find that episode for this posting. O'Connor is the first person interviewed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4QkKkXYtr4

Edited by Peter McGuire
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...