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Why Humes Thought the Back Missile Hit at a Sharp Angle -- a Hypothesis

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Thanks Cliff.

How do you explain the traces of metal that were detected on the bullet/dart holes in the jacket and shirt?

*

I don't buy anything that came out of the FBI Lab.

Metal on the shirt but not in the body?

How does that work?

*

That's what we're trying to figure out.

*

The late FBI SA Henry Heiberger ran the tests on the shirt.

Heiberger had 4 daughters.

My sister went to college with one of them, and the younger Heiberger said her Dad was highly concerned with the safety of his family.

Once the FBI was committed to CE399 there was no backing off.

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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Back in elementary school we all learned that when Galileo dropped both a heavy and a light object from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they both hit the ground at the same time. (More specifically, they accelerated at the same, constant rate. But don't worry about that.) The two objects stayed side by side as they fell and hit ground at the same time.

Well, the case of a dropping bullet is as easy as that.

Suppose you shoot a bullet and drop another one from the same height, both at the same time. The two bullets will hit the ground at the same time. Why? Because horizontal motion and vertical motion are independent of each other.

The important thing to learn from this is that the distance a bullet drops will be the same no matter what speed it is shot at.

Now let's look and see what happens when you shoot both a high-speed and a low-speed bullet at a target that's quite a distance away. Let's say the high-speed bullet is twice the speed of the low-speed bullet.

It will take twice as long for the slow bullet to arrive at the target. This means that after the first bullet hits the target, the slow bullet will still be dropping. And so it will hit too low once it arrives. It may miss the target altogether. And that's bad.

There are formulas and online calculators you can use to see how far a bullet will drop. It can be surprising how much more a low-speed bullet will drop than a high-speed one. The difference can be several feet.

With a little thought you'll come to realize that you must always aim higher than the bulls-eye. Because the bullet will start dropping the moment it's left the barrel. However, if you use a sight, the distance the bullet drops will be accounted for automatically. That is to say, if you aim at a target using the site, it will actually make you aim high.

But compensation for bullet drop has its limits. Can you imagine trying to aim a gun five or ten feet above a target? It is because of this that high-speed ammo is necessary for long-distance shooting.

So, why does this mean that the shallow wound in Kennedy's back is impossible? It's because a high-speed bullet is far too powerful to be stopped so easily. Only a low-speed bullet could cause such a shallow wound. But as discussed above, a low speed bullet can't be used from a distance because it will hit too low.

So, the only way a conventional bullet could have caused the shallow wound described by Humes, would be if a low-speed (i.e. low power) bullet were shot at Kennedy from a short distance. In other words, if a handgun were used.

Still, even if a handgun were used, I'm not sure that such a shallow wound could be created. It's hard to stop bullet... even a low-speed one.

(Disclaimer: I ignored wind resistance and probably other minor factors. Also, what I said about guns and ammo is probably flawed to some extent given that I know very little about them. I know only some physics, and I have shot a few guns in my lifetime. I even bagged a couple deer before realizing that it wasn't necessary for me to carry on that family tradition.)

How'd I do, Bob?

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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I think this thread is an example of one of many I've read here where researchers try to speculate on what happened.
What the doctors speculated the night of the autopsy -- with the body in front of them -- is a different category of "speculation."
Their speculation handed the FBI men a lead. SA Sibert followed up on the lead.
It's the only lead generated by protocol-following law enforcement agents in the entire case.
This is not speculation on my part. I'm pointing to the historical record.
I'm taking a revolutionary approach to the case -- radical in the extreme, this approach.
I approach it like a standard murder case -- a blank tack board and a robust inspection of the physical evidence,
"It's all there in the case file, Clarice, everything you need to catch them, those men you seek."
There's actually nothing wrong with speculating. Cops do it all of the time when they're investigating a crime. But it seems like some researchers call out others for speculating where as their own information they post is also speculation (e.g., my speculation is right; yours is wrong). So does speculation on both sides of the aisle just basically cancel out everything? Perhaps.
Meanwhile, I wanted to comment on the plastic/powder/frangible/not frangible bullet theory. I think we're giving the Bad Guys way too much credit regarding using some super-secret, super-exotic bullet/dart/projectile to kill the president.
MKNAOMI was a CIA-funded, supra-institutional death squad staffed with civilian doctors and engineers, military brass, and mobbed up drug cops.
Who gives a quad-x what Pet Theorists think when no theorizing is required to study a solid lead?
That's not to say they didn't plan this very well - my own speculation runs along the lines of Oswald was either supposed to be killed near the TSBD or, having failed that, be killed in the Texas Theater. When all of that failed, they said to hell with it and just sent in their Mobster to do it on live TV no less.
But as far as the mechanics of the shooting itself, weren't there metallic fragments found all over the inside of the car? To me, it flies in the face of common sense to think that they'd mix the bullets up, using metal ones in some of the guns, and plastic/powdery/dart ones in the other guns. I think this is just one of several examples of researchers over-thinking what may have happened.
As for the "he sat there between shots because toxins froze him" theory - I really don't think that happened either because, as I said earlier, no one can predict how one is going to react to gunshot wounds. I would encourage other researchers to look around on the internet because there are plenty of videos out there showing a variety of victims being shot. Some just collapse while others continue to stand or sit as if they're shocked.
I think it's a really, really big leap of faith to think that the Bad Guys would use some kind of poison or toxic chemical to "freeze" Kennedy in place. As I also mentioned, Jackie was not shot or sprayed with anything but she looks confused and "frozen" too until Z 313.
Edited by Cliff Varnell
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CLIFF - MKNAOMI was a CIA-funded, supra-institutional death squad staffed with civilian doctors and engineers, military brass, and mobbed up drug cops. Who gives a quad-x what Pet Theorists think when no theorizing is required to study a solid lead?

OK...so what? So the CIA had some death squads. It doesn't mean they were there in Dealey Plaza that day. Regarding the back wound, none of us have all of the answers about it. According to Humes it was shallow and did not go very deeply. Then he and others there brought up how this may have happened - maybe ice bullets, maybe this or that.

The evidence we DO have are the autopsy photos, especially of his back showing the wound as well as his clothes. The clothes match up with the wound. We also have bullet fragments inside of the car. I'm not saying these fragments were from the back wound, but what I'm saying is that's the evidence we have 53 years on. So at Z225, the back shot hits him, right after the throat shot. This back shot pushes him forward, bobbing his head backward and then forward. My hunch is that no shots were fired from the TSDB. I think the shots came from elsewhere as my picture shows:

I think it was unnecessary for the bad guys to go "high tech" (plastics, darts, toxins, etc.) during the shooting when "low tech" would work just as well. I think your theory about some CIA alphabet soup entity using super gizmos and gadgets that day is too James Bondsey for me. The shooters that day knew what they were doing. There's no doubt they quietly scouted the location, made their plans, did target practice in a secluded area with perhaps the same geo layout as DP, and were ready to go. And they also had the complete and utter element of surprise and confusion working in their favor. After two days of nothing but smiling, cheering, happy crowds, every one from the SS to Kennedy had to have been feeling pretty good about how the trip was going.

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CLIFF - MKNAOMI was a CIA-funded, supra-institutional death squad staffed with civilian doctors and engineers, military brass, and mobbed up drug cops. Who gives a quad-x what Pet Theorists think when no theorizing is required to study a solid lead?
OK...so what? So the CIA had some death squads. It doesn't mean they were there in Dealey Plaza that day.
No, it means that the law enforcement agency that had jurisdiction at that point -- the FBI -- was given a lead by the autopsists, and the FBI men followed up as far as they could.
If they'd been allowed to go further they would have come upon legitimate Persons of Interest, MKNAOMI.
How you place this alongside idle speculation by Pet Theorists 53 years later defies logic.
Regarding the back wound, none of us have all of the answers about it. According to Humes it was shallow and did not go very deeply. Then he and others there brought up how this may have happened - maybe ice bullets, maybe this or that.
Right. And the FBI men followed up.
The JFK Critical Research Community hasn't followed up.
Pity.
The evidence we DO have are the autopsy photos, especially of his back showing the wound as well as his clothes. The clothes match up with the wound. We also have bullet fragments inside of the car. I'm not saying these fragments were from the back wound, but what I'm saying is that's the evidence we have 53 years on.
So at Z225, the back shot hits him, right after the throat shot. This back shot pushes him forward, bobbing his head backward and then forward. My hunch is that no shots were fired from the TSDB. I think the shots came from elsewhere as my picture shows:
I think it was unnecessary for the bad guys to go "high tech" (plastics, darts, toxins, etc.) during the shooting when "low tech" would work just as well.
How could you 100% guarantee first-shot/kill-shot?
What if nervous shooters miss, and the target ducks down?
I think your theory about some CIA alphabet soup entity using super gizmos and gadgets that day is too James Bondsey for me.
It's not my theory.
It was the autopsists who thought it may have been a high tech weapon strike.
It's a rhetorical dodge to keep ignoring that fact.
As far as it being "James Bondsey," you're showing your age.
Millennials, who grew up on THE MATRIX, have no problem buying a high tech weapon strike on JFK.
I've spoken with quite a few.
The shooters that day knew what they were doing. There's no doubt they quietly scouted the location, made their plans, did target practice in a secluded area with perhaps the same geo layout as DP, and were ready to go. And they also had the complete and utter element of surprise and confusion working in their favor. After two days of nothing but smiling, cheering, happy crowds, every one from the SS to Kennedy had to have been feeling pretty good about how the trip was going.
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Tom is accusing me of speculating. Here is my response:

If by accusation you mean supplying actual evidence that you are unable to refute other than with "over the top" analogies like "we went to the Moon in 6 years" and the ever popular "I don't think so" and "because I wanted to."

Yes, my hypothesis IS speculation!

At last; a full confession IN YOUR OWN WORDS! ONE MORE TIME: Speculation is NOT an Hypothesis!

BTW, you state that caps are "shouting" and that just 'turns you off completely'. My response that people raise their voice in real life, so what is wrong with doing that on line for a word, a phrase, or an even an entire sentence. You are expressing your exasperation with me by "shouting." Given the greater degree of exasperation you cause in me, ("Tom is accusing me of speculating" and 'that's all I have ever done.' "I never claimed that it was anything but speculation" (except in the title and numerous times in all your posts.)

Pardon me for 'falsely' accusing you of speculating when by your OWN statement you have done nothing other than speculate. My bad - RIGHT?

I did not select these definitions - they are the first google results that appeared...

definition of an Hypothesis:

"A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation."

google results - definition of an Speculation:

"Reasoning based on inconclusive evidence; conjecture or supposition. b. A conclusion, opinion, or theory reached by conjecture"

"Yes, my hypothesis IS speculation!"

"I never represented it as anything else."

So where is the REQUIRED "limited evidence" that is NOT conjecture in your hypothesis? - oops! I mean conjecture than is titled an hypothesis but you have never claimed it was anything but conjecture?

The title of your thread is "...a (should be "An") hypothesis" not "speculation." Is this one of those "details" you state you "don't have to prove?"

Never? Shall we count the number of times you have used the word "hypothesis" (in addition to the title you REFUSE to change) in your posts? EVERY time you do so you are representing this speculation as an hypothesis!

So what? Speculation is used in science all the time, in the formation of new ideas. The hypothesis is an attempt to tie together some loose ends in a larger hypothesis. I don't provide any evidence (beyond my thought experiments) and I don't pretend to.

In science, Speculation, which requires NO EVIDENCE at all, is NEVER presented as an hypothesis which requires at least LIMITED evidence. When the author states: "I don't provide any evidence" he is stating that he had no hypothesis, yet you refuse to stop using the word hypothesis. This is misrepresentation, which I have pointed out numerous times, but you refuse to admit. When you continue to call it an hypothesis and then make statements, you are presenting these statements as evidence, when even you, NOW ANYWAY (you certainly didn't before), admit they are conjecture.

And while you try to turn this against me for accusing you of something you admit literally in bold text, why are you not countering my arguments to your "speculation"? When your speculation is shown as false because you can't counter it with actual evidence it's time to admit it is wrong, drop it, and move on. Yet you still are pushing your NOT A hypothesis.

Stop blaming me because you represented speculation as an hypothesis to make your statements carry additional weight, and your speculation has been EASILY proven IMPOSSIBLE.

"I made a mistake when I labeled the appendix of my hypothesis as "Supporting Images." I was glad that Tom pointed out that the pig images don't support my hypothesis, and I relabeled the appendix "Related Images." (At the time I typed the word "Supporting" I was using it like the word "Supplementary." I didn't recognize at the time that it could mean something entirely different from what I intended.

You say "the pig images don't support my hypothesis" - yet to you they are actually "Related." They can either support, contradict, or be irrelevant to your conjecture. By your own admission they don't "support", so that leaves contradict or irrelevant. Do you think they "contradict?" You certainly imply otherwise. What I pointed out was they are irrelevant. When I asked why you didn't explain the implications of these photos and left them in, you replied "Because I wanted to."

You expressed gratitude for my comment? You were clearly annoyed because I pointed out that this and your text were still misrepresenting its value because you stated 'it would be better if it were aimed at the bone' (this is a clear statement that these photos represented to some degree, what actually happened, but would have been "Better" if aimed at the bone. You refused to change this at all. Your statement that 'I believe the shot was faster.' fails to explain the SIGNIFICANCE of this fact, but you also refused to add this information for clarification.

Even calling it "related" or any of your choices is stretching the point too far. In your 'pig photos and text' you depict a bullet: that was only theoretical in 1963; would NEVER be used to inflict a fatal injury; traveled at a speed 1/4th the velocity of the back shot, came nowhere near the bone (which IS the point of your conjecture: that the rib deflected the shot downward at a steep angle) and unlike the several WIDELY scattered "dirt" particles on the JFK x-ray, left an unmistakable cloud of metallic debris.

So what was the related part? Rather than post info of a typical fragmenting bullet of that era, you post one that is at best misleading (SEE ABOVE). Even if you stated that this bullet bears no relationship whatsoever to my "Hypothesis" (as you regularly insist this is) readers will STILL remember what they saw because most of your post consists of these photos.

I did NOT make this up. In contrast to everything he said above, e.g. "Yes, my hypothesis IS speculation! I never represented it as anything else." this is his actual closing remark:

Having said that, I want to emphasize the point that this is only a hypothesis

Ignorance is bliss!

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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Hey Bob,

I didn't know you were an amateur that required an explanation in simple terms! Stupid me considers you an expert!

BTW, what was that comment you made a few posts ago about the people who just don't get this SIMPLE concept?

Sandy,

You've already proven to me that you don't believe anything I say, so why don't you critique my explanation as to my Bob is 100% correct on this issue and doesn't require your "amateur" explanation?

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=22956&p=332008

Tom

Edited by Tom Neal
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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Back in elementary school we all learned that when Galileo dropped both a heavy and a light object from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they both hit the ground at the same time. (More specifically, they accelerated at the same, constant rate. But don't worry about that.) The two objects stayed side by side as they fell and hit ground at the same time.

Well, the case of a dropping bullet is as easy as that.

Suppose you shoot a bullet and drop another one from the same height, both at the same time. The two bullets will hit the ground at the same time. Why? Because horizontal motion and vertical motion are independent of each other.

The important thing to learn from this is that the distance a bullet drops will be the same no matter what speed it is shot at.

Now let's look and see what happens when you shoot both a high-speed and a low-speed bullet at a target that's quite a distance away. Let's say the high-speed bullet is twice the speed of the low-speed bullet.

It will take twice as long for the slow bullet to arrive at the target. This means that after the first bullet hits the target, the slow bullet will still be dropping. And so it will hit too low once it arrives. It may miss the target altogether. And that's bad.

There are formulas and online calculators you can use to see how far a bullet will drop. It can be surprising how much more a low-speed bullet will drop than a high-speed one. The difference can be several feet.

With a little thought you'll come to realize that you must always aim higher than the bulls-eye. Because the bullet will start dropping the moment it's left the barrel. However, if you use a sight, the distance the bullet drops will be accounted for automatically. That is to say, if you aim at a target using the site, it will actually make you aim high.

But compensation for bullet drop has its limits. Can you imagine trying to aim a gun five or ten feet above a target? It is because of this that high-speed ammo is necessary for long-distance shooting.

So, why does this mean that the shallow wound in Kennedy's back is impossible? It's because a high-speed bullet is far too powerful to be stopped so easily. Only a low-speed bullet could cause such a shallow wound. But as discussed above, a low speed bullet can't be used from a distance because it will hit too low.

So, the only way a conventional bullet could have caused the shallow wound described by Humes, would be if a low-speed (i.e. low power) bullet were shot at Kennedy from a short distance. In other words, if a handgun were used.

Still, even if a handgun were used, I'm not sure that such a shallow wound could be created. It's hard to stop bullet... even a low-speed one.

(Disclaimer: I ignored wind resistance and probably other minor factors. Also, what I said about guns and ammo is probably flawed to some extent given that I know very little about them. I know only some physics, and I have shot a few guns in my lifetime. I even bagged a couple deer before realizing that it wasn't necessary for me to carry on that family tradition.)

How'd I do, Bob?

Hi Sandy

Pretty good. You were able to sum up the basic ballistic concept and put it in quite simple terms. Anything that helps to get the message across is good!

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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Hey Bob,

I didn't know you were an amateur that required an explanation in simple terms! Stupid me considers you an expert!

BTW, what was that comment you made a few posts ago about the people who just don't get this SIMPLE concept?

Sandy,

You've already proven to me that you don't believe anything I say, so why don't you critique my explanation as to my Bob is 100% correct on this issue and doesn't require your "amateur" explanation?

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=22956&p=332008

Tom

Hi Tom

I don't really mind. Compared to many learned men in the field of ballistics, I would call myself an amateur, too.

I did call it a simple concept a while back but, when I thought about it a bit, I realized it might not be that simple to someone without knowledge or experience in firearms. It's like me and computers. My kids constantly tell me how simple they are, but I still break into a cold sweat every time I have to do something new on them.

Sometimes all it takes is a simplified explanation, such as Sandy presented, to help others grasp a concept. And, in the long run, isn't that what it's all about?

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Sandy Larsen wrote:

"It will take twice as long for the slow bullet to arrive at the target. This means that after the first bullet hits the target, the slow bullet will still be dropping. And so it will hit too low once it arrives. It may miss the target altogether. And that's bad."

Oops! Just spotted this.

The slow bullet might take twice as long (going half the speed) to arrive at the "target" (point of aim) but, if it hits the earth halfway out to this intended target, it will impact the earth at the same moment as the faster bullet impacts the target, assuming the earth and the target are the same distance vertically from the line of sight of the rifle, because it has only travelled half the distance.

An example of this is to mount the barrel of a rifle perfectly level with the earth, and to arrange to have a bullet fall to the earth, from the height of the barrel at the exact moment a bullet exits the muzzle of the rifle barrel. In fact, you can mount several barrels in this fashion, from a handgun with a muzzle velocity of just 500 feet per second, to a .308 deer rifle with a muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second, right up to the M256 Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore tank gun mounted on the M1 Abrams tank, with a muzzle velocity of 5200 to 5700 feet per second.

If all three weapons are fired at precisely the same moment, and a bullet is dropped, from the height of the barrels, at the moment the projectiles begin travelling through their respective barrels, all three fired projectiles, plus the dropped projectile, will impact the earth at precisely the same moment, proving that gravity is still the prime determining factor in ballistics.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Why Humes Thought the Back Missile Hit at a Sharp Angle -- a Hypothesis

Dr. Humes was reported to have said during the autopsy that the bullet entered JFK's back at a 45 to 60 degree angle. For example, FBI agent Francis O'Neill reported this in his 1978 HSCA affidavit. How could a bullet have entered at such a steep angle?

The first thing to ask is, what made Humes think the bullet entered at that angle. Given that Humes apparently found no missile track other than the wound running through JFK's flesh (skin and shallow muscle), I would think that at some point during the autopsy he probed the wound. Probably not with his finger -- it being too large to fit -- but probably with a metal probe. At which time Humes found the angle of that track to be 45 to 60 degrees... quite a steep angle that cannot easily be explained.

Groundwork

Before presenting my hypothesis, I need to lay a little groundwork. (Please be patient. If you don't want to read the groundwork, jump ahead to the hypothesis.)

Many of you know that I -- having studied Robert Prudhomme's case for a frangible bullet being the explanation for this disappearing bullet -- am quite convinced that a frangible bullet was used on the back shot. Since reading Robert's descriptions of these bullets, I've done some reading about them on my own. Here are a few things I've learned from Robert and elsewhere:

• Due to the fact that frangible bullets break up into numerous particles upon hitting a substance of sufficient hardness and resistance, each particle will contain just a small fraction of the whole bullet's kinetic energy.

• The energy per unit surface area will decrease greatly upon fragmentation. This means the penetration depth will be greatly diminished.

• The finer the powder comprising the bullet, the more diminished the penetration will be, and the broader the spread.

• Frangible bullets can be designed to fragment more or less easily. Even so, there can be great variation from bullet-to-bullet as to what it takes to fragment the bullet.

One thing I set out to find for this presentation was how a bone would react to being hit be an already-fragmented frangible bullet. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything specific to that topic. I did, however find some related materials that I feel confirmed what I already thought about this. It is my contention that a fragmented bullet would be much less likely to shatter a bone than would be a whole bullet of the same mass.

I will give an analogy to demonstrate this.

Suppose we have a pane of glass, and that this represents a bone. A one pound rock represents a whole bullet. A pound of pebbles represents a fragmented frangible bullet. And a pound of sand represents a fragmented ultra-frangible bullet.

First we "shoot the bone" by throwing the rock at the glass with all our might. The glass breaks. Just like a whole bullet would break a bone.

Next we throw the pebbles at the glass. (A new pane of glass.) The glass flexes and gets pitted, but does not break... this time. Maybe it will break next time.

Finally we throw the sand at the window. Very little happens to the glass. The grains of sand merely bounce off. Despite the fact that they carried the same amount of energy as the rock did.

I hope you will now agree with me that a bone will be far less affected by a fragmented frangible bullet than by a whole bullet.

But before leaving this analogy, let's try one more thing. Let's throw the sand at the glass, but this time at a slight angle. What will the sand do? Analyzing this situation can be very daunting, as several factors would need to be taken into account. For example, the fact that early reflected particles could collide with later oncoming ones, depending upon the diameter of the spray. Also, the degree to which each of the many collisions are elastic. ("Elastic" and "inelastic" are technical terms used in physics to classify and describe collisions.) After studying this for some time, I decided that another approach was necessary.

Suppose we dropped a rock on a sidewalk. Would it bounce, or would it stay on the sidwalk upon impact? If the collision were a perfectly elastic one, the rock would bounce up to the same height from which it was dropped. If it were perfectly inelastic, the rock would drop to the ground without bouncing.

I can tell you one thing from experience... a rock won't bounce very high. And it's not just because of gravity. If you've ever played with a Super Ball, you know what a good elastic collision is. And a rock landing on concrete ain't one of them. (Wikipedia describes a Super Ball as "an extremely elastic ball made of Zechron.) But a rock does bounce a little. The reason a rock doesn't bounce high like a Super Ball is because it loses a lot of its kinetic energy when impacting the concrete.

Now, suppose you threw the rock at the concrete at a slight angle. What would it do? It would bounce a little, as before. But this time it would travel in the direction you threw it, till its kinetic energy was depleted. If it were thrown at a smooth surface it would travel quite far. Ever skipped a rock on calm water?

Okay, having gone through that thought experiment, I want to determine what would happen if you threw sand instead of a rock at concrete, again at a small angle. I can't remember every throwing sand at a sidewalk, but I imagine it would behave in a way similar to a single rock. I am confident it wouldn't bounce much at all.... I think even less so than a rock. I'm equally confident that it would move across the surface in the direction thrown, especially if the surface is smooth.

Okay, now it's time to translate this back to bullets and bone. One major difference between the two is that bone is more flexible than concrete, is less rigid, and is surrounded by muscle. The effect of these factors is that the bone would absorb a lot more energy than concrete does. So any collision with bone would be a lot less elastic than with concrete. That is to say, the projectile would bounce much less.

I readily admit that I haven't proven what I'm about to say. But I contend that if a fragmented frangible bullet hits a bone at an angle, the particles will tend to skim along the surface of the bone. The particles won't all be in contact with the bone, but will travel near the surface of the bone, perpendicular to its surface.

Hypothesis

Here is what I envision happened:

The frangible bullet hit Kennedy's back and began to fragment immediately after hitting the surface of the skin. That it fragmented so near the surface may have been by design, or may have been a fluke.

The angle of the shot was, of course, downward... on the order of 20 degrees. The bulk of the particles hit the bottom portion of a rib and skimmed along its surface toward Kennedy's butt. But the bottom portion of the particle spray passed below the rib and punctured the lung.

The particles that were deflected downward, and those that passed below the rib, created a channel that Humes found with a probe. The angle of the channel was estimated by Humes to be 45 to 60 degrees.

You can see this in the following illustrations.

Related Images

Following are photos, x-rays, and CT scans of a pig's hind leg that has been shot with a frangible bullet. Note that this bullet fragmented immediately after striking the skin. The bullet used was a so-call "hyper-frangible." Due to its small particle size and low velocity (~500 fps), penetration was very shallow.

It would have been useful for this presentation had the bullet been aimed at the bone and been of greater velocity.

This is a CT scan of the leg. It is a cross-sectional view. The white circle is the bone.

(Source for images: Forensic and clinical issues in the use of frangible projectilea.)

Hi Sandy

I'm still planning to respond to this. However, being a new hypothesis (or speculation), I find it very intriguing and I've been going over it in my mind the last few days as I work. You might almost say I am savouring it LOL.

I think by the weekend I should be writing something about this.

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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Back in elementary school we all learned that when Galileo dropped both a heavy and a light object from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they both hit the ground at the same time. (More specifically, they accelerated at the same, constant rate. But don't worry about that.) The two objects stayed side by side as they fell and hit ground at the same time.

Well, the case of a dropping bullet is as easy as that.

Suppose you shoot a bullet and drop another one from the same height, both at the same time. The two bullets will hit the ground at the same time. Why? Because horizontal motion and vertical motion are independent of each other.

The important thing to learn from this is that the distance a bullet drops will be the same no matter what speed it is shot at.

Now let's look and see what happens when you shoot both a high-speed and a low-speed bullet at a target that's quite a distance away. Let's say the high-speed bullet is twice the speed of the low-speed bullet.

It will take twice as long for the slow bullet to arrive at the target. This means that after the first bullet hits the target, the slow bullet will still be dropping. And so it will hit too low once it arrives. It may miss the target altogether. And that's bad.

There are formulas and online calculators you can use to see how far a bullet will drop. It can be surprising how much more a low-speed bullet will drop than a high-speed one. The difference can be several feet.

With a little thought you'll come to realize that you must always aim higher than the bulls-eye. Because the bullet will start dropping the moment it's left the barrel. However, if you use a sight, the distance the bullet drops will be accounted for automatically. That is to say, if you aim at a target using the site, it will actually make you aim high.

But compensation for bullet drop has its limits. Can you imagine trying to aim a gun five or ten feet above a target? It is because of this that high-speed ammo is necessary for long-distance shooting.

So, why does this mean that the shallow wound in Kennedy's back is impossible? It's because a high-speed bullet is far too powerful to be stopped so easily. Only a low-speed bullet could cause such a shallow wound. But as discussed above, a low speed bullet can't be used from a distance because it will hit too low.

So, the only way a conventional bullet could have caused the shallow wound described by Humes, would be if a low-speed (i.e. low power) bullet were shot at Kennedy from a short distance. In other words, if a handgun were used.

Still, even if a handgun were used, I'm not sure that such a shallow wound could be created. It's hard to stop bullet... even a low-speed one.

(Disclaimer: I ignored wind resistance and probably other minor factors. Also, what I said about guns and ammo is probably flawed to some extent given that I know very little about them. I know only some physics, and I have shot a few guns in my lifetime. I even bagged a couple deer before realizing that it wasn't necessary for me to carry on that family tradition.)

How'd I do, Bob?

Hi Sandy

Pretty good. You were able to sum up the basic ballistic concept and put it in quite simple terms. Anything that helps to get the message across is good!

Thanks.

I trust you understood that my phrase "from amateur to amateur" was referring to me and the audience of my message. I think it is self-evident that you are not my intended audience. But thanks for reading it!

Edited by Sandy Larsen
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Sandy Larsen wrote:

"It will take twice as long for the slow bullet to arrive at the target. This means that after the first bullet hits the target, the slow bullet will still be dropping. And so it will hit too low once it arrives. It may miss the target altogether. And that's bad."

Oops! Just spotted this.

The slow bullet might take twice as long (going half the speed) to arrive at the "target" (point of aim) but, if it hits the earth halfway out to this intended target, it will impact the earth at the same moment as the faster bullet impacts the target, assuming the earth and the target are the same distance vertically from the line of sight of the rifle, because it has only travelled half the distance.

An example of this is to mount the barrel of a rifle perfectly level with the earth, and to arrange to have a bullet fall to the earth, from the height of the barrel at the exact moment a bullet exits the muzzle of the rifle barrel. In fact, you can mount several barrels in this fashion, from a handgun with a muzzle velocity of just 500 feet per second, to a .308 deer rifle with a muzzle velocity of 2800 feet per second, right up to the M256 Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore tank gun mounted on the M1 Abrams tank, with a muzzle velocity of 5200 to 5700 feet per second.

If all three weapons are fired at precisely the same moment, and a bullet is dropped, from the height of the barrels, at the moment the projectiles begin travelling through their respective barrels, all three fired projectiles, plus the dropped projectile, will impact the earth at precisely the same moment, proving that gravity is still the prime determining factor in ballistics.

I did consider how best to handle the case where the slower bullet hits the ground before arriving at the target. I decided it was best not to get bogged down on that possibility. So what I did instead was add the sentences "It may miss the target altogether. And that is bad." Hitting the ground is one way of "missing the target altogether." And it IS bad.

I figured that if the thought of the bullet hitting the ground came to a particular reader's mind, that likely meant he was understanding the underlying principle and could probably figure it out himself.

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Millennials, who grew up on THE MATRIX, have no problem buying a high tech weapon strike on JFK.
I've spoken with quite a few.

I've told this story a few times:

About 3 years ago I said to a Millennial friend of mine -- "Your generation isn't interested in the JFK assassination."

"That's because they make it so boring."

I had nothing to say to that. A couple of weeks later she asked me what I'd been up to -- "Giving people hell about the central question of the Kennedy assassination," I said.

"What is the central question of the Kennedy assassination?"

I said: "You don't wanna know."

"No, tell me. I wanna know."

"Okay...JFK had a wound of entrance in his back, there was no exit, and no bullet recovered at the autopsy. He had a wound of entrance in his throat, no exit, and there was no bullet recovered during the autopsy. So the central question is: what happened to the bullets causing the back and throat wounds?"

She pondered for a couple of seconds, then said: "But was it a real autopsy?"

"A lot of problems with the autopsy -- but that was the situation. Two rounds of entrance, no exits, no bullets found...Some people think the bullets were removed prior to the autopsy--"

"--Or it was some government sh*t that dissolved!"

About six months ago I told this story to another Millennial and when I got to --"some government sh*t that dissolved" -- she blurted out -- "That's what I was gonna say!"

When armed with the basic facts of the case, kids raised on "The Matrix" movie have a better chance of grasping the JFK assassination than Boomers raised on 007.

High tech + government nobility (Agent Bond) versus high tech + government perfidy (Agent Smith).

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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I've grown tired of attempting to explain how it is ballistically impossible for a rifle bullet to make such a shallow wound, and still be able to hit its target. If you wish to continue to believe this foolishness, that is your business.

Bob,

Let me try to explain it. Amateur to amateur, in very simple terms.

Hey Bob,

I didn't know you were an amateur that required an explanation in simple terms! Stupid me considers you an expert!

BTW, what was that comment you made a few posts ago about the people who just don't get this SIMPLE concept?

Sandy,

You've already proven to me that you don't believe anything I say, so why don't you critique my explanation as to my Bob is 100% correct on this issue and doesn't require your "amateur" explanation?

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=22956&p=332008

Tom

Hi Tom

I don't really mind. Compared to many learned men in the field of ballistics, I would call myself an amateur, too.

I did call it a simple concept a while back but, when I thought about it a bit, I realized it might not be that simple to someone without knowledge or experience in firearms. It's like me and computers. My kids constantly tell me how simple they are, but I still break into a cold sweat every time I have to do something new on them.

Sometimes all it takes is a simplified explanation, such as Sandy presented, to help others grasp a concept. And, in the long run, isn't that what it's all about?

Oversimplifying can cause more problems than it solves. We'll see if it helps anyone that didn't get it before...

IMO, the issue is primarily that their mind is made up before they even begin reading - a slow bullet makes a shallow hole - everyone knows that; it's common sense! I think anyone here that makes the effort can understand your explanation and mine, so I didn't dumb it down.

The issue that I focused on with Craig in my response to him, was that the shooter is unaware that he is about to fire a defective bullet. He will be aiming at a target expecting to get the 2,000 fps typical velocity. When he gets a shot at say 1,000 fps the bullet will indeed make a shallow hole and cause less damage, but the bullet will fall far short of the targer.

The only way to hit the target at all is to aim the rifle much higher - higher than the sights are telling you - than you would with good ammo. If you do that, yes, you can hit the target at the slower velocity. But the shooter doesn't aim higher because he doesn't know he has defective ammo, so the bullet never reaches the target.

I told Craig if he had any issue with my statement to reply. He never did, so presumably that explanation sufficed.

Tom

Edited by Tom Neal
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