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The "Shallow" Back Wound and the "Short" Shot


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Okay, let's have it out right here and now. The "shallow" entrance wound on JFK's back has been a "fact" of the JFK murder case since Commander Humes tried to probe this wound with his little finger during the autopsy.

I say the wound could not be only an inch deep, if it was made by a rifle with a muzzle velocity of 2000 fps or greater. It would have to be, if made by a rifle, from a bullet travelling 400 fps or slower.

Such a slow bullet simply would not have made it to the target, or even anywhere close to it.

Anyone care to prove me wrong?

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Did it have to be a rifle? Would a pistol make much difference in terms of velocity? Didn't some earwitnesses say that the first shot sounded different from the others?

Using a pistol from a considerable distance may seem odd, but then the back wound is notoriously odd too.

Edited by Ron Ecker
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The trouble with using a pistol, at any range over 10 yards, is that they have relatively low muzzle velocities and are notoriously inaccurate, despite the incredible shots we see made in the movies. With such low muzzle velocities, the trajectory required to hit a target at any distance is a parabola with an extremely high peak that would require the shooter to be aiming way above JFK's head just to hit him in the back.

Also, even a bullet from a pistol, with a typical muzzle velocity of 800-1100 fps, has far more penetrating ability than the mythical bullet that only entered JFK's back an inch, even if the range was 50+ yards.

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If you've read Dr. Finck's HSCA testimony, you could see that 'the game was afoot' when Finck attempted to probe the wound.

No bullet was found, so he ordered x-rays to try to find it.

When the x-rays were taken, according to the x-ray tech the internal organs had already been removed.

So why hasn't anyone asked if the internal organs were checked for (1) a bullet, or (2) a bullet track that could be dissected?

I suspect the answer to the question above is...either they already knew the answer, or they didn't want to discover the answer. And since the entire purpose of an autopsy, under normal circumstances, is to discover answers...then perhaps whoever supervised the removal of the organs already knew the answer [and simply chose not to reveal it].

Just a thought....

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Yes I do. Look closely at the Altgens 6 photo, supposedly taken at the same time as z255 of the Zapruder film.

temoins08.jpg

As the shot in JFK's back occurred around frame z210 of the Zapruder film, and Zapruder's camera exposed 18.3 frames per second, the above photo was supposedly taken 45 frames or 2.45 seconds after the shot was fired that struck JFK in the back.

Look at the faces of the onlookers. The muzzle of the rifle, if it was on the 6th floor or in the Dal-Tex Building, would have been pointed in the direction of these people and would have been loud enough to produce instantaneous and involuntary startle reactions (instantaneous = within a fraction of a second). And yet, everyone is smiling and waving as their President is dying, EXCEPT the two Secret Service agents on the outside right of the follow up car, who are craning their necks to see behind them and are obviously startled.

What happened, you ask, and why did this shot sound different from the others? The type of bullet would make no difference to the sound. What would make it different is if the rifle was equipped with a silencer (suppressor) that completely eliminated the sound of the muzzle blast, thereby also eliminating the witnesses' ability to locate the origin of the sound.

What would still be audible is the sound of the rifle bullet breaking the sound barrier (kind of a mini-sonic boom) on its way to the target. This sharp "crack" might be heard by the onlookers, but it would not be loud enough on the sidewalk to produce a startle reaction in the onlookers. However, if the bullet just missed the heads of the two SS agents, on its way to JFK, they most certainly would be startled and confused by this sound.

This would also explain why people further down the street, such as Mary Moorman, did not hear this shot. The sound of the mini-sonic boom would have ended at JFK at z210, and she might have been too far down the street to hear it.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Robert,

Thanks, that makes sense, except for one thing. If they wanted people to think that the shot came from the TSBD (to frame Oswald), why would they use a silencer for the shot? They would want the shot to draw attention, not be suppressed.

BTW the photo you posted reminds me of something I've wondered about re Hard Hat Man. He is turned and looks like he's deliberately not looking at the president. In fact he appears to be not looking at the motorcade at all at that point, but is looking straight at the Dal Tex building. Almost as if he is/was watching a shooter there.

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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

Where is your proof otherwise? If I didn't know better, I might read your comments as a claim bullets traveling 400 fps fall to the ground before traveling a hundred yards. That's not what you're claiming, is it?

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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

Where is your proof otherwise? If I didn't know better, I might read your comments as a claim bullets traveling 400 fps fall to the ground before traveling a hundred yards. That's not what you're claiming, is it?

Seriously, Pat, have you ever tried shooting anything over 50 yards away with a .22 rifle?

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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

Where is your proof otherwise? If I didn't know better, I might read your comments as a claim bullets traveling 400 fps fall to the ground before traveling a hundred yards. That's not what you're claiming, is it?

Seriously, Pat, have you ever tried shooting anything over 50 yards away with a .22 rifle?

That's what I figured. I suspected you'd try and twist this into being your personal dissertation on what you think is possible, or probable, rather than what is documented or in the historical record. I have a book on ballistics which I picked up at a swap meet, that used to belong to a Naval Hospital. Table 8 is a chart of remaining velocities for various 22 caliber rifle cartridges. It says that at 150 feet the bullet will have lost but 100 to 210 fps off its initial velocity, and will still be traveling faster than 1,000 fps, well above the speed of most handgun bullets. Such a bullet would still pack quite a punch. Table 10 is also relevant. It says the bullet drop for such a shot would be 2.6 to 3.7 inches. That's it. So, yes, Robert, the literature supports that a .22 caliber bullet traveling just under 1,000 fps would be accurate and deadly out to a hundred yards, as claimed by the CIA in its manual on assassination.

Now, the question remains whether this bullet's traveling at 400 fps would substantially increase the bullet drop to the extent someone aiming at a head would not even hit a back. On this chart there appears to be a ratio whereby a bullet with 20% less velocity will have approximately 20% more bullet drop. This leads me to believe that a bullet fired at 400 fps would drop about 15 inches before impacting a target at 60 yards. While that might seem too big a drop to believe someone aiming for Kennedy's head could hit him in the back, there are a couple of other factors to consider. One is that the bullet striking Kennedy in the back was probably a larger bullet than a .22, and would thereby have more momentum and less bullet drop than a .22 bullet traveling at the same velocity. Two is that bullets fired from 6 floors above the ground have far less bullet drop than bullets fired parallel to the ground. Three is that the scope of the rifle found in the building, if used, would lead someone to fire high. Well, these three factors combined lead me to suspect someone firing a short-charged bullet from that particular rifle from that particular location might very well hit someone in the back while firing at their head.

If you have any reasons to doubt this, beyond that you don't think so, fire away.

Edited by Pat Speer
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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

Where is your proof otherwise? If I didn't know better, I might read your comments as a claim bullets traveling 400 fps fall to the ground before traveling a hundred yards. That's not what you're claiming, is it?

Seriously, Pat, have you ever tried shooting anything over 50 yards away with a .22 rifle?

That's what I figured. I suspected you'd try and twist this into being your personal dissertation on what you think is possible, or probable, rather than what is documented or in the historical record. I have a book on ballistics which I picked up at a swap meet, that used to belong to a Naval Hospital. Table 8 is a chart of remaining velocities for various 22 caliber rifle cartridges. It says that at 150 feet the bullet will have lost but 100 to 210 fps off its initial velocity, and will still be traveling faster than 1,000 fps, well above the speed of most handgun bullets. Such a bullet would still pack quite a punch. Table 10 is also relevant. It says the bullet drop for such a shot would be 2.6 to 3.7 inches. That's it. So, yes, Robert, the literature supports that a .22 caliber bullet traveling just under 1,000 fps would be accurate and deadly out to a hundred yards, as claimed by the CIA in its manual on assassination.

Now, the question remains whether this bullet's traveling at 400 fps would substantially increase the bullet drop to the extent someone aiming at a head would not even hit a back. On this chart there appears to be a ratio whereby a bullet with 20% less velocity will have approximately 20% more bullet drop. This leads me to believe that a bullet fired at 400 fps would drop about 15 inches before impacting a target at 60 yards. While that might seem too big a drop to believe someone aiming for Kennedy's head could hit him in the back, there are a couple of other factors to consider. One is that the bullet striking Kennedy in the back was probably a larger bullet than a .22, and would thereby have more momentum and less bullet drop than a .22 bullet traveling at the same velocity. Two is that bullets fired from 6 floors above the ground have far less bullet drop than bullets fired parallel to the ground. Three is that the scope of the rifle found in the building, if used, would lead someone to fire high. Well, these three factors combined lead me to suspect someone firing a short-charged bullet from that particular rifle from that particular location might very well hit someone in the back while firing at their head.

If you have any reasons to doubt this, beyond that you don't think so, fire away.

Translation = Pat Speer has never fired a rifle before and is making all this up as he goes.

Your post is so full of mistakes, misconceptions and outright BS, I don't quite know where to start. Give me a bit to sort through all the garbage.

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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

But would this "undercharged" bullet only penetrate less than the length of Humes little finger?

Tom

Edited by Tom Neal
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I have nowhere near the shooting experience Robert has but I routinely shot both handgun and rifle 22's when I was growing up and I can't think of even a good shooter seriously thinking of making a lethal hit beyond about 50 yards and at 100 years, the distance of a football field, you best be practicing every day and be shooting at a deer or something larger. And at that range thinking a 22 would be lethal is ....strange. The CIA and other organizations did consider a 22 as a good assassination weapon but that was at extremely close range, with a stealthy shot holding the gun virtually at the back or side of the targets head. I'm also having trouble with the manual being cited that seems to imply 22 rounds have more carrying range than other handguns (which would usually think of as higher caliber).

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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

But would this "undercharged" bullet only penetrate less than the length of Humes little finger?

Tom

Skin is a lot tougher than most people assume. A bullet fired from the sniper's nest at 400-450 fps would lose 100-150 fps before striking the target, and barely break the skin. The length of the little finger, btw, is an exaggeration. Humes testified that he couldn't even find an opening beyond the fascia just beneath the skin. Fascia is defined as "a band or sheet of connective tissue fibers, primarily collagen, that forms beneath the skin to attach, stabilize, enclose, and separate muscles and other internal organs."

From chapter 10 at patspeer.com:

"Humes testified "When the tissues beneath this wound were inspected, there was a defect corresponding with the skin defect in the fascia overlying the musculature of the low neck and upper back." He then added "We were unable, however, to take probes and have them satisfactorily fall through any definite path at this point."(It should be noted, moreover, that the doctor doing this probing was Dr. Pierre Finck and that Finck later confirmed Humes' testimony. On January 24, 1969, when testifying during the trial of Clay Shaw, when asked about his failure to "satisfactorily" find a "definite path" from the back wound through Kennedy's neck, Finck testified: "I couldn't introduce this probe for any extended depth." He was then asked "how far in this probe went" and responded "The first fraction of an inch." Now, there was a witness to this probing, who thought it was a bit more than that, but not much. James Curtis Jenkins, Dr.s Humes and Boswell's assistant at the autopsy, was never interviewed by the Warren Commission. But the notes on his 8-29-77 interview with the HSCA reflect that he told them he recalled Dr. "Humes trying to probe the wound with his finger which enabled him to reach the end of the wound" as the back wound was "very shallow...it didn't enter the peritoneal (chest) cavity." He would subsequently explain how he knew this, and insist, to every researcher to speak with him, including yours truly on November 22, 2013 at the JFK Lancer Conference in Dallas, that he was present when the back wound was probed by Dr. Humes, using his finger, and then Dr. Finck, using an instrument called a sound. And he would insist that he was looking into Kennedy's chest cavity when Dr. Humes probed the wound, and that he could see the impression of Humes' finger on the back of the chest cavity at a point lower than the location of the wound on Kennedy's back...)

Edited by Pat Speer
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The .22 round--assuming we're talking about .22 rimfire and not .22 Hornet or another such bottlenecked cartridges--would, IMHO, be highly susceptible to wind drift at much over 50 yards...based upon personal experience. Trying to attain repeatable accuracy with a subsonic .22 at distances over 50 yards is akin to buying a lottery ticket: somebody might eventually have a winner, but MOST WILL NOT.

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