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Craig is a good guy. I've corresponded with him a few times and he once sent me a box filled with documents, correspondence and materials that relate to the OKC bombing.

If Craig says something about firearms you can take it to the bank, and I think the photographs of him and Hathcock pretty much reinforce that.

I have some disagreements with Craig but I'm not going to trash him for a difference of opinion. He believes there is a middle eastern connection to the OKC bombing, which I don't see. That connection is primarily advocated by a former CIA director and a group of neoconservatives who argue that the first WTC bombing and Oklahoma City were the word of Saddam Hussein and that one of the 9/11 plotters was a double agent of Saddam Hussein. I vehemently disagree with that. Craig thinks there is some validity to some of these claims and you can find his arguments for that in his book, Medusa File II. 

Regardless of this major difference of opinion I like Craig and think you can trust what he says about Hathcock and what he says about firearms. 

He's also very generous with his time and he went out of his way to help me when I was gathering materials for researching a book on the Oklahoma City case, and I am very grateful for that. 

 

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Regarding luck versus skill, it seems the actual shooters were very good, as the objective was a head shot, and none of the incoming ever hit Jackie.  The simultaneity of shots was also expert, as was use of the of "canyon shoot" technique.  Distraction and diversion - augmented by the subsequent Tippit killing - allowed for a clean get-away.  Blowing someone's head off while sitting next to his wife, at high noon, was not simply a murder ...  

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2 hours ago, Gene Kelly said:

Regarding luck versus skill, it seems the actual shooters were very good, as the objective was a head shot, and none of the incoming ever hit Jackie.

Does anyone have information of the replication trials that say how many of these professional experts repeated the head shot on the first trial?  That would be their first practice trial.  How many?

This would be interesting to know.  If a large number say 50% did then I would consider a headshot planned and executed properly.  

As far as Jackie is concerned she was a larger target some distance from the headshot.  

What bothers me about collateral damage is why wasn't there more than one guy down by the Triple Underpass?  If Kennedy is shot from the Grassy Knoll that round would have plowed through his head and traveled on somewhere possibly hitting a motorbike cop or the Secret Service vehicle.  Houston Street and Main Street are not far away.  Many of the witnesses said there was more than 3 shots.

This is an interesting idea.  A high powered rifle will shoot through more than one person, perhaps two or three.  This more than likely means they were using short rounds.  Less powerful due to gun powder cuts lowering the power to about 1000 feet per second.  This is beneficial as far as sound goes.  There is no breaking the sound barrier and resulting in less noise.  There would be more shots like fire crackers or motorbike backfiring.  How could the constant backfiring be distinguished from the shooting?

A drawback would be less accuracy from a distance.  1000 feet per second is pistol speeds and strength therefore shortening the distance for accuracy.

Edited by John Butler
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In my opinion (yes, it is just that-NOT documented evidence) I would mention the following:

1.  Why does it matter that no one replicated the head shot?  If it was not fired from the rear, it becomes moot.  If it was fired from the rear, it was as part of a multiple shooter scenario and therefore the timing issues are not present.

2.  You are correct, whether fired from the front or rear, Jackie was at a comparatively large distance to JFK's head (as a target), assuming the use of a scope to sight the target.

3.  Your worry about the collateral damage is unfounded if the sniper teams used frangible ammunition which is highly probable.  The only bullet KNOWN to be metal jacketed is the one that hit Connally (although this could be argued as well).  No need to SLOW down the bullet to lose accuracy.

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John

In the 1967 CBS News trial demonstrations, of the 12 first attempts, only one shooter was able to make two hits in less than 5.6 seconds. Of the 43 total attempts, the 12 expert shooters were able to replicate the Warren Commission conclusion (two hits in less than 5.6 seconds) only four times.  The marksmen were also allowed to practice prior to the tests. The more compelling observation was the number of instances where the shooter could not get any result ... once the clip was loaded, the bolt action jammed in a number of attempts. This would require the shooter to realign the target and fire again (which is not as easy as it sounds).  One expert, an ex-paratrooper named Douglas Bazemore  was unable to fire any shots (in four attempts) because of the stiff bolt action, and he gave up.

Gene

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But Gene, as Roger Feinman found out, CBS did not do an accurate experiment because:

1.  The target was enlarged by a factor of two, Roger thinks it was slightly bigger than that.  And it was not shaped like a human figure.  It was a sled.

2. Tink found out that the mechanical failure excuse was not accurate in two ways.  First, a lot of those were not mechanical failures. They were failures in marksmanship which CBS did not want to include for fear that it would lower the average. And also, there were more than 17.

The thing that I think is the worst though is that CBS let these guys do multiple strings, and secondly, they practiced all they needed to.  What evidence of practice is there for LHO? And according to the WC he had only one opportunity.  Any marksman will tell you that right there that this makes it well nigh impossible.  In fact, that is what Craig said when he saw the scene.

If you read my entire two part article on CBS and its debacle, you will see just why this dog and pony. show happened.  The reporters and lower level managers wanted to do  real experiments, a real inquiry.  That concept was rejected by the top level: Stanton, Paley, Salant and the secret committee called CNEC they formed with Sig Mickelson. From there, the CBS lawyers briefed the employees on what they wanted done.  Not a true experiment or testing.  But an attack on the critics.

The only hold out was Midgley.  They ended up giving his fiancee a job in the federal government as consumer affairs director and they promoted Les to the editor of the nightly news. Which made him, in effect, the executive editor of CBS.  That did the trick.

The snowjob was on.

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Was the supposed 6th floor found rifle sent to the FBI by the Dallas PD ever actually used in any of these tests firings? Same with the actual scope attached to it?

Did all of these test shooters otherwise use substitute MCs and scopes?

Excuse my ignorance for asking this question if they all used the actual rifle and scope.

In response to so many experts who have stated hitting a bullseye on an 8 to 9 inch wide target at 265 feet using an MC with scope is very doable if not routine, 

I must ask if the target ( JFK's head ) is moving sideways ( Jackie pulls JFK leftward by many inches) and up and down ( looking at Jackie in shock and then back down to deal with his choking )  as well as moving farther away every second after the second shot and then down a downward grade ( Elm Street drops down to go under the Triple Over-pass) all in that brief two or three seconds time period before the third shot,  is this 265 foot shot just as doable?

Every half second after the 2nd shot, JFK's head and upper body and his limo were in a different position due to the movements we can all see in the Zapruder film.

Shouldn't that mean a new aim adjustment every half second?

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13 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Shouldn't that mean a new aim adjustment every half second?

Not if the limo has come to a more or less halt.

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Joe:

To my knowledge, no one ever used the original rifle.  According to the FBI it was simply too unreliable and too fragile to try and use in any kind of rifle test.  

In fact, when Craig tried it he did not even use the MC 6.5, which is what the WC said Oswald did.  He used the MC 7.35, which he says is a better rifle.

Look I do not doubt that you can shoot the MC 6.5 accurately for one shot.

But as Craig said, and as Castro said, it is simply wrong to think you can do three accurate shots in six seconds with that rifle.  Simply because of what is called Target Acquisition.  Every time you fire the rifle you have to wait for the scope to stop vibrating, and then you realign the aim.

But this is a stupid argument to begin with.  Any assassin is not trying to get off three shots in six seconds.  He wants to get off one good shot that is fatal.  So the question is:  Why didn't Oswald kill Kennedy when he had the car right in front of him?  With the target that close, that is how the scoped cross hairs make sense.

The reason that was not done was as Craig says.  This was a classic military ambush with a crossfire from front and back.  They left no room for error. Kennedy was not getting out alive.  And I should add, Craig thinks that one of the sniper points was the Dal Tex. Which I agree with.

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15 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Joe:

To my knowledge, no one ever used the original rifle.  According to the FBI it was simply too unreliable and too fragile to try and use in any kind of rifle test.  

In fact, when Craig tried it he did not even use the MC 6.5, which is what the WC said Oswald did.  He used the MC 7.35, which he says is a better rifle.

Look I do not doubt that you can shoot the MC 6.5 accurately for one shot.

But as Craig said, and as Castro said, it is simply wrong to think you can do three accurate shots in six seconds with that rifle.  Simply because of what is called Target Acquisition.  Every time you fire the rifle you have to wait for the scope to stop vibrating, and then you realign the aim.

But this is a stupid argument to begin with.  Any assassin is not trying to get off three shots in six seconds.  He wants to get off one good shot that is fatal.  So the question is:  Why didn't Oswald kill Kennedy when he had the car right in front of him?  With the target that close, that is how the scoped cross hairs make sense.

The reason that was not done was as Craig says.  This was a classic military ambush with a crossfire from front and back.  They left no room for error. Kennedy was not getting out alive.  And I should add, Craig thinks that one of the sniper points was the Dal Tex. Which I agree with.

How much worse would the replication firings have been regards hitting or missing the sled target ( which was larger than the back view of JFK's head )If they also had to use the fragile 6th floor found MC 6.5 with a poorly misaligned crap scope? And is it true that a shim was found in some part of the scope bracing?

Yes, the JFK head shot was taken when the limo had slowed to it's lowest speed if not a stop. Clearly giving the shooter a easier fixed target versus a back and forth moving one also moving away at 11 mph.

And still, a shot entering the back right of JFK's skull, obliterating the skull into pieces on the right top and blowing out a huge flap of skull on the far right side above the ear is a trick from a shot taken from JFK's right side.

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20 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

In response to so many experts who have stated hitting a bullseye on an 8 to 9 inch wide target at 265 feet using an MC with scope is very doable if not routine, 

If you really wanted the experiment(s) to be accurate shouldn't requirements include but not be limited to something like:

* test shooters would have to be ex Marines with roughly LHO's rifle range scores

* test shooters should only have fired a rifle since leaving the marines in roughly the same time frames LHO is absolutely known to have practiced 

* test shooters get 1 attempt of 3 shots

to make it a more accurate test.

Edited by Bill Fite
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Jim

Agreed and understood.  I was just addressing John Butler's question.  They (the CBS weapons experts) did not have access to the actual (alleged) rifle which was otherwise in poor shape.  The also had larger targets, and the benefit of practice time. The published average for all of the experts was about 1.2 hits out of 3 (on the enlarged target).  It also sounds like the jammed bolt action was a ruse for the added failures of the marksmen. While I'm not condoning the CBS News executive behavior, it isn't surprising to me in retrospect. This was 1967, only a little more than two years since issuance of the Warren Report, and 8 years before the Church Committee revelations and subsequent HSCA investigations.  Its nonetheless disappointing that there were individuals who wanted to conduct accurate representations, but were overruled.  But that's also no surprise, given the affiliations of Richard Salant, Gordon Manning, and John McCloy's influence.   

However, the larger idea of trying to somehow recreate the alleged TSBD shots is a fool's errand.  We are chasing our tails - and debating irrelevant disinformation (as Vincent Salandria warned against) - by attempting to analyze timing and the available "evidence".  I am convinced - as Craig Roberts and others have pointed out - that this was an expert ambush from several strategic locations. Multiple shooting teams, special weapons and ammunition, coordinated for effect and deception.  Real snipers would want good egress for escape (i.e. not the TSBD). The Book Depository is not an optimal location for any of these considerations, and any shooters staged there were merely for show and deception. This Carcano weapon is an odd choice for the operation ... I am convinced that no real sniper would choose it for this momentous task. I am reminded of the insight offered by other researchers (e.g. William Orchard) that it was somehow chosen as a joke or a form of disrespect for the investigators who had to later deal with it.       

Gene

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16 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

The reason that was not done was as Craig says.  This was a classic military ambush with a crossfire from front and back.  They left no room for error. Kennedy was not getting out alive. 

I agree Kennedy was not leaving the Main St. to Elm St. area alive.  As far as a classic military ambush goes one shouldn't use a crossfire or shooting from the front with shooting from the back.  You might shoot your own guy in the heat of the moment.  What's best is an L-shaped ambush.  The guys on the long part of the L shoot directly to their front.  The guys on the short part of the L shoot directly to their front.  Folks don't shoot each other that way.  If there's not a lot of people, say maybe 3 in the ambush, angles of fire can be used if all positions in the ambush are known.

In Dealey Plaza nearly everyone agreed there were 3 shots in two patterns.  First there was a shot and a small time later two more close together.  The other variation is 3 shots equally spaced. 

Almost everyone said they heard a firecracker or some noise like a firecracker.  Others said they heard backfires.  Jackie Kennedy said that the motorbikes were continually backfiring.  Others claimed the noise of the parade, sirens, motorbikes, backfiring, crowd cheering, etc. made a tremendous racket.  Veterans and Hunters were the ones who usually identified gun fire.

So, there are a couple of questions that pop up here.  How did people identify gunshots from fire crackers in all that noise?  How did they identify backfires from gunshots?   That probably occurred when they realized shooting had occurred and the firecrackers or backfires were not that, but shooting.  

And, what about the shooting sequence differences?  Most of the witnesses said one or the other.  How can one explain the differences?

There's another problem.  This ambush had to be done perfectly.  The only person to be killed would be the president.  This requires a high degree of skill in shooting in the narrow space of a car's interior with folks lined up 3 deep.  A serious problem to be considered.  So, best way to shoot someone in the back seat is from the front or side.  If shooting from the rear then put someone there in front of the president you don't care much about, Senator Yarborough.  Sorry, John Connally.  Can you imagine what he thought when he replaced Yarborough. 

If you put all this together you realize you need more than one shooting team and more than one ambush spot.  That would insure that Kennedy did not leave Dealey Plaza alive.  These teams would consist of 3 shooters and maybe accessories such as communicators or a security guy.   Why 3 shooters?  3 shooters match the number of shots.  If scopes were used then the possibilities of hitting some one on the second shot decreases for just one shooter. 

Each shooting team of 3 men would be allowed one shot at one location.  This could explain the two shooting patterns as the actions of different shooting teams.  

Multiple locations would be placed where?  Well, what did the witnesses say about where they saw or heard shooting?  (This is what the witnesses said and not what I am saying.) There were some that heard 3 shots on Main Street.  There were others that said shooting occurred at the intersection of Main and Houston.  There are more witnesses that said shooting occurred in the intersection of Elm and Houston and in front of the TSBD than on Elm or Houston.  The biggest number said shooting occurred at the Grassy Knoll.

If true how many teams would that be?  About 4.  Could be more, could be less.  But, four would match the number of people with Todd Plumlee.  He said 20 people.  Coincidence or speculation?

This is mainly speculation, but it is speculation based on the facts of the assassination.

      

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