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Josiah Thompson's brand new book LAST SECOND IN DALLAS

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Lobster magazine review.


Funny quote.


Last Second in Dallas is a study that does not leave Dealey Plaza. Yes, nearly sixty years later we are still on Elm Street. The jacket flap claims Thompson provides ‘incontrovertible proof that JFK was killed in a crossfire’. OK, back in 1966 we may not have had ‘incontrovertible’ proof that he was killed by crossfire but it was a pretty good surmise. It was time to move on to the Bigger Questions. Some of us did, some of us didn’t.


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On 2/21/2021 at 10:47 PM, Eddy Bainbridge said:

Thankyou for your post Mark. I don't understand your last sentence. I don't think you are saying the Zapruder film is the standard, but neither do I see much point matching shot testimony to  the Z film: 'Bang pause bangbang doesn't match", shot not heard by some (around Z150), followed by three shots doesn't match. Shot from the front to the throat, weak shot to the back, shot(or shots) to the head doesn't match(or at least not the Warren Report). Possibly worst of all is shot at Z150 (must have missed by a lot, injuring Tague?), shot around Z220(magically got through Kennedy's neck bones with no trace etc etc etc) and Z313(Caused bizarre momentary flash, caused bizarrely explained/unexplained reverse lurch by JFK).

No, I don't think the Zapruder film should be used as a standard because seen in isolation it's very misleading.  For example, when I see the Z-film I see the victims reacting twice, which implies only two shots were fired.  When I look a little closer I see a very noticeable jiggle from Z190-Z210 which tells me Zapruder was reacting to the first shot which was probably fired during Z180-Z185 (Charles Wyckoff suggested Z186 for the shot in 1967, and Luis Alvarez suggested Z177 for the shot in 1975, so I'm not alone in thinking this is an important aspect of the film).  However, the victims first react to their wounds at Z225-Z230 which is about two seconds after the first shot was fired which seems too long for such grievous wounds, so my current view is that two shots were fired between Z180 and Z220.

I think that's all the Z-film tells me about the shots because after Z318 the film is too erratic to tell us anything about late shots.  Any other blurs I see Z133-Z310 are quite minor and their evidential value is ambiguous: they may indicate a shot, they may not, so I don't think we can know for sure.  These are just my judgements, and others may disagree, but it's important to be clear about what the film alone tells us before we tackle the witnesses.

On 2/21/2021 at 10:47 PM, Eddy Bainbridge said:

Watch Patti Paschall, her statement of "bang....bang-bang" is entirely casual. It doesn't relate to a direct question and she doesn't appear to realise the signficance of what she says. The other witness I can remember on camera, again saying this, was one of the witnesses in the room directly below the snipers nest. From what I have read on ballistics I think these witnesses may have heard two shots (The 'bang-bang' in fact being one bullet exiting the muzzle (one bang) and then braking the sound barrier (second bang)., but that isn't very plausible.

I totally accept what Paschall says, as I do for all witnesses.  They are telling us what they recall from that very brief period of time.  However, as my previous post indicates, witnesses were sometimes distracted and missed one or more of the shots (especially when they were located some distance away from the TSBD).  Robert Hughes missed all of the gunshots Z180-Z220 as did Mary Moorman.  By contrast other camera operators like Charles Bronson and Orville Nix heard two early shots well before the head shot, which may well be the two shots between Z180 and Z220 that the Z-film implies.

Overall, no film tells us everything about the shots and no single witness saw or heard everything regarding the shots.  However, by combining all of the information we have, we can create a better understanding of the whole sequence, rather than using any single "gold standard" source which alone will mislead us.

So this leads me to the final double bang at the end of the shooting which so many witnesses described.  Mary Moorman, like most witnesses heard three shots in total.  The first shot she heard was about the time she took her photo at Z315, and she said another two shots were fired after this.  So for Mary Moorman the final double bang was after what we see at Z313 in the Z-film.  Thanks to her very specific photo and recollection we can nail the timing exactly, as she said the shooting was still continuing even after she fell to the ground.  According to the Muchmore film she was still standing around the time Z337 when that filmed finished so she thinks the final shot was fired well after this point:


Many other witnesses also support late shots like Moorman, but many researchers glibly dismiss this information as "wrong" or "mistaken" without properly explaining why.  You can't treat every word from the witnesses as gospel truth, but when a researcher disagrees with a group of witnesses they should properly explain why rather than just excluding inconvenient information because their favoured theory disallows a fourth shot.

In the case of Paschall she sadly doesn't give us enough information to know which part of the sequence she heard.  She could be like Moorman who heard shots after the head shot, or she could have heard the double bang at the head shot.  I don't think we can ever know, so her evidence is less useful than from the other examples where the camera operator was more specific.

Once all of the witness and film evidence is evaluated individually, then we can compare these items and look for corroboration such as I did with the 5 second gaps between shots in the Z-film and the witnesses like Malcolm Couch.  Once several things start matching up you can be certain that those things really did happen in Dealey Plaza, and witnesses weren't mistaken regarding double bangs or shot timings.  Bearing this is mind, these are the strongest witnesses who support the theory of the first shot being heard Z190-Z200 (as the jiggle in the Z-film suggests Zapruder was startled at this point):

Hugh Betzner was standing on the south side of Elm Street and took a photo at exactly Z186.  He said he heard the first shot immediately after, when he was winding his film on.

Phil Willis was standing on the south side of Elm Street and took a photo at exactly Z202.  He said he heard the first shot immediately before he snapped his photo.

AJ Millican was standing beside the lamppost on the north side of Elm Street and said the limo had just passed him when the first shot was fired.  The Betzner photo shows that the limo had just passed the lamppost at Z186:


Gloria Calvery and Karen Westbrook were slightly further down Elm Street from Millican and said that the limo was in front of them when the first shot was fired.

All of these witnesses were directly in front of the TSBD and could not have missed the first shot.  They are all consistent within a fraction of a second as to when the first shot was fired, and this matches the Z-film jiggle perfectly.  The Z150 shot is a myth which distracts us from what really happened in Dealey Plaza.

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