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# A Bullet's (lack of) Transfer Of Kinetic Energy

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A baseball bat moving toward a human head has kinetic energy. This is what is making the bat move toward the head, the kinetic energy.

When the bat strikes the head from the front, the kinetic energy transfers from the bat to the head, moving the head violently backwards (in the same direction the bat was moving).

The kinetic energy gets transferred from the bat to the head and it is this energy which causes the head to move violently backward.

Now.....

A bullet moving toward a human head has kinetic energy. This is what is making the bullet move toward the head, the kinetic energy.

When the bullet strikes the head from the front, not enough kinetic energy is transferred from the bullet to the head to cause the head to move violently backward.

Unlike the bat, the bullet keeps almost all of it's kinetic energy as it passes through the head (a very tiny amount of the kinetic energy will ripple out as a shockwave through the tissue).

Because most of the kinetic energy of a bullet that has struck the head from the front stays with the bullet and is not transferred to the head, the head will not move violently backward.

In other words, a bullet striking a head will not transfer enough of it's kinetic energy to cause the head to move violently. A baseball bat striking the head will indeed transfer almost all of it's kinetic energy and this will cause the head to move violently.

A bullet's (lack of) transfer of kinetic energy. Learn it. Love it.

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I know jacketed bullets will tend to pass through and leave less energy in the head. That's usually the example used but we really don't know what kind of ammo would have been used by a second gunman. Sometimes people get shot in the head from a distance and the non jacketed or maybe hollow point stays in the head. There are examples online of x-rays showing bullets lodged in the head. if the bullet stays in the head wouldn't that mean that 100% of the energy it had at impact transferred to the Head? If some of the energy was left in the bullet it may travel out of the head and be lost yet still cause the head to move.

In the case of JFK bone and debris came  flying out so some amount of energy was definitely transferred to the Head. bone matter flew upwards about 15 ft at approximately 100 miles per hour. Blood and maybe 25% of the brain was splattered all over and officer Hargis said something hit him hard enough that he thought he might have been shot himself. It seems there had to be a fair amount of energy transferred to the Head.  I'm wondering if the bullet being seriously fragmented doesn't mean that it spent a fair amount of energy striking the bone in JFK's head?

Edited by Chris Bristow
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12 minutes ago, Chris Bristow said:

I know jacketed bullets will tend to pass through and leave less energy in the head. That's usually the example used but we really don't know what kind of ammo would have been used by a second gunman. Sometimes people get shot in the head from a distance and the non jacketed or maybe hollow point stays in the head. There are examples online of x-rays showing bullets lodged in the head. if the bullet stays in the head wouldn't that mean that 100% of the energy it had at impact transferred to the Head? If some of the energy was left in the bullet it may travel out of the head and be lost yet still cause the head to move.

In the case of JFK bone and debris came  flying out so some amount of energy was definitely transferred to the Head. bone matter flew upwards about 15 ft at approximately 100 miles per hour. Blood and maybe 25% of the brain was splattered all over and officer Hargis said something hit him hard enough that he thought he might have been shot himself. It seems there had to be a fair amount of energy transferred to the Head.  I'm wondering if the bullet being seriously fragmented doesn't mean that it spent a fair amount of energy striking the bone in JFK's head?

You are correct, Chris. A fragmented bullet that does not exit will transfer all its energy inside a body, or melon, whatever. Hunting ammunition is designed to do as much. But military (full-metal jacket) bullets are not.  So-called Dum-Dum ammo was banned because it blew up heads. But the doctors who studied the new full metal jacket ammo (such as that fired by the Mannlicher-Carcano) found that heads could still explode (a la Kennedy's) should the bullet enter at a shallow angle to the skull and the bullet rupture. Such wounds were called "gutter wounds" or "tangential wounds" and were wounds of both entrance and exit--a big gaping hole on the skull. Thus, it was obvious from the first to those who knew what to look for (such as Dr. William Kemp Clark) that JFK's large head wound was a tangential wound. We have reason to suspect, moreover, that other doctors realized as much. The autopsy doctors, studying Kennedy's brain AFTER Oswald was dead and fingered as a solo assassin, bizarrely failed to dissect the brain, and establish what they failed to notice at autopsy--a bullet path from back to front. This was probably not a coincidence. Similarly, the Clark Panel, when confronted  with the obvious fact the presumed trajectory through the brain failed to make sense in light of the limo's location on the street, and JFK's posture in the limo, chose to move the entrance location to a location 4 inches from where it had been observed at autopsy.

Well, all this was in service of preserving a myth--that the entrance observed on the back of the head connected to the hole on the top of the head. As described and documented on my website, I spent several years researching missile wounds of the head and brain and it became incredibly clear that JFK's large head wound was a tangential wound of both entrance and exit. Chief among the texts I studied, moreover, were those written by Clark Panel head and mentor to most of the HSCA Pathology Panel, Russell Fisher. It is clear he knew the head wound was a tangential wound, or that he spent an enormous amount of energy deceiving himself into believing it was not. Because his articles on skull wounds and brain wounds were in direct opposition to his (and his subordinates) subsequent conclusions.

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12 minutes ago, Pat Speer said:

You are correct, Chris. A fragmented bullet that does not exit will transfer all its energy inside a body, or melon, whatever. Hunting ammunition is designed to do as much. But military (full-metal jacket) bullets are not.  So-called Dum-Dum ammo was banned because it blew up heads. But the doctors who studied the new full metal jacket ammo (such as that fired by the Mannlicher-Carcano) found that heads could still explode (a la Kennedy's) should the bullet enter at a shallow angle to the skull and the bullet rupture. Such wounds were called "gutter wounds" or "tangential wounds" and were wounds of both entrance and exit--a big gaping hole on the skull. Thus, it was obvious from the first to those who knew what to look for (such as Dr. William Kemp Clark) that JFK's large head wound was a tangential wound. We have reason to suspect, moreover, that other doctors realized as much. The autopsy doctors, studying Kennedy's brain AFTER Oswald was dead and fingered as a solo assassin, bizarrely failed to dissect the brain, and establish what they failed to notice at autopsy--a bullet path from back to front. This was probably not a coincidence. Similarly, the Clark Panel, when confronted  with the obvious fact the presumed trajectory through the brain failed to make sense in light of the limo's location on the street, and JFK's posture in the limo, chose to move the entrance location to a location 4 inches from where it had been observed at autopsy.

Well, all this was in service of preserving a myth--that the entrance observed on the back of the head connected to the hole on the top of the head. As described and documented on my website, I spent several years researching missile wounds of the head and brain and it became incredibly clear that JFK's large head wound was a tangential wound of both entrance and exit. Chief among the texts I studied, moreover, were those written by Clark Panel head and mentor to most of the HSCA Pathology Panel, Russell Fisher. It is clear he knew the head wound was a tangential wound, or that he spent an enormous amount of energy deceiving himself into believing it was not. Because his articles on skull wounds and brain wounds were in direct opposition to his (and his subordinates) subsequent conclusions.

Yes, I can't remember who at the moment but at least 2 more of the Parkland staff said it looked like a tangential wound. Dr Grossman said in an interview at Parkland that Clark lifted up JFK's head to inspect the wound which suggests he got a very good look. Good enough to give the monumental medical opinion that the wound was "unsurvivable")(From the WC), monumental because  with his very next words he called off the resuscitation. Grossman said when Clark lifted the head it only took a moment to see it was mortal. I know skeptics say they never got a good look at the wound but it is pretty clear from their testimony Clark, Grossman and Peters all looked close enough to say it was a fatal wound. Bell, Grossman and Dulany have all stated that JFK's head was turned to the side to get a good look. Each of those instances of lifting or turning the head were separate events so consider the tangential testimony by 3 different staff to be fairly qualified.

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1 hour ago, Chris Bristow said:

I know jacketed bullets will tend to pass through and leave less energy in the head. That's usually the example used but we really don't know what kind of ammo would have been used by a second gunman. Sometimes people get shot in the head from a distance and the non jacketed or maybe hollow point stays in the head. There are examples online of x-rays showing bullets lodged in the head. if the bullet stays in the head wouldn't that mean that 100% of the energy it had at impact transferred to the Head? If some of the energy was left in the bullet it may travel out of the head and be lost yet still cause the head to move.

In the case of JFK bone and debris came  flying out so some amount of energy was definitely transferred to the Head. bone matter flew upwards about 15 ft at approximately 100 miles per hour. Blood and maybe 25% of the brain was splattered all over and officer Hargis said something hit him hard enough that he thought he might have been shot himself. It seems there had to be a fair amount of energy transferred to the Head.  I'm wondering if the bullet being seriously fragmented doesn't mean that it spent a fair amount of energy striking the bone in JFK's head?

Absolutely correct.

A bullet striking a skull bone (on entry and exit) will transfer a significant amount of kinetic energy to the head, which is why JFK's head snapped violently backward and to the left after being struck by the fatal head shot from the Grassy Knoll area.

There is no way to explain the backward trajectory of JFK's head, based on Newton's laws of motion, if the fatal bullet was fired from the TSBD.

Luis Alvarez promulgated his cellophane-wrapped melon propulsion theory to explain away the damning Zapruder evidence, but it was a pseudo-scientific joke.

I had to dissect a human head in medical school, and a skull is nothing like a watermelon rind.

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10 minutes ago, W. Niederhut said:

Absolutely correct.

A bullet striking a skull bone (on entry and exit) will transfer a significant amount of kinetic energy to the head, which is why JFK's head snapped violently backward and to the left after being struck by the fatal head shot from the Grassy Knoll area.

There is no way to explain the backward trajectory of JFK's head, based on Newton's laws of motion, if the fatal bullet was fired from the TSBD.

Luis Alvarez promulgated his cellophane-wrapped melon propulsion theory to explain away the damning Zapruder evidence, but it was a pseudo-scientific joke.

I had to dissect a human head in medical school, and a skull is nothing like a watermelon rind.

Pat makes a good point on his website that the shot still could’ve been fired from behind if it struck JFK on the top of the head. Smack yourself in the top of your head slightly in front of your right ear and see which way your head goes.

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it was not just his head, not even close.

His whole body slams backward with terrific force so much so that it bounces off the back seat.

That kind of reaction to a bullet from behind?

And all the indications of a sniper from the front?  Like Holland and Bowers and the smoke etc.

BTW, at the CAPA conference, Steve Jaffe proved that a man small of stature could have escaped through the sewer line.  I had never seen those pictures before, but its true.

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Z313 was a frangible AR15 slug fired by Agent Hickey. End of story.

Tangential gunshot wounds (TGSWs) to the head are gunshot wounds in which the bullet or bullet fragments do not penetrate the inner table of the skull.

A series of 168 civilian cases of tangential gunshot wounds to the head is presented. Neurologic deficits on presentation were generally minimal. Computed tomographic (CT) scans were performed in 51% of patients, and abnormal CT findings were noted in 35% (18% of all patients). Major operative procedures were required in 9% of the patients. Serious sequelae of tangential injuries are described even with patients who initially have no neurologic abnormality. We suggest that a CT scan is warranted in all cases of tangential gunshot wounds to the head.

Wound ballistics
• When the bullet hits the biological target, it transfers its energy to the body, resulting in injuries
• Kinetic energy: the energy possessed by an object due to its motion; a function of the object's mass (M) and velocity (V): KE = 1/2 MV2
• While the bullet's mass plays an important role in gunshot wounds, the most critical variable is the bullet velocity; doubling the velocity will quadruple the kinetic energy
• Types of gunshot wounds:
• Penetrating wounds: the bullet enters the body but does not exit
• Perforating wounds: the bullet enters and exits the body
• Re-entry wounds: the bullet passes through a body segment, exits and re-enters the body (Int J Legal Med 2009;123:419)
• Graze / tangential wounds: the bullet strikes the skin at a shallow angle, producing a superficial wound (Acad Forensic Pathol 2016;6:291)

Edited by Marjan Rynkiewicz
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2 hours ago, Tom Gram said:

Pat makes a good point on his website that the shot still could’ve been fired from behind if it struck JFK on the top of the head. Smack yourself in the top of your head slightly in front of your right ear and see which way your head goes.

No way.

The fatal bullet had to come from the front and right of the limo.

It's basic Newtonian physics.

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3 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

No way.

The fatal bullet had to come from the front and right of the limo.

It's basic Newtonian physics.

The movement of the head at 313 was mostly down, and the head sprang back as a result. This shot could have come from in front or behind, but the fragment strike on the windshield and the curb strike near Tague suggest behind.

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5 hours ago, W. Niederhut said:

Absolutely correct.

A bullet striking a skull bone (on entry and exit) will transfer a significant amount of kinetic energy to the head, which is why JFK's head snapped violently backward and to the left after being struck by the fatal head shot from the Grassy Knoll area.

There is no way to explain the backward trajectory of JFK's head, based on Newton's laws of motion, if the fatal bullet was fired from the TSBD.

Luis Alvarez promulgated his cellophane-wrapped melon propulsion theory to explain away the damning Zapruder evidence, but it was a pseudo-scientific joke.

I had to dissect a human head in medical school, and a skull is nothing like a watermelon rind.

The melon testing is definitely a joke. In tests I have seen like Penn and Tellers the melon starts to fall to the ground as soon as it rolls off the platform, you can see 30% of it below the platform as soon as it rolls behind it. They usually cut to slow mo so we can see it but it also hides the fact the melon does not have a lot of backward energy. They can also shoot the melon at the bottom and that can give it a counter spin to the rear.
Youtube footage of 50. cal snipers in Afghanistan show the victim go flying and in different directions. I know that is a lot more energy but they often fire from a long way and the bullet slows a lot.

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4 hours ago, Marjan Rynkiewicz said:

Z313 was a frangible AR15 slug fired by Agent Hickey. End of story.

Tangential gunshot wounds (TGSWs) to the head are gunshot wounds in which the bullet or bullet fragments do not penetrate the inner table of the skull.

A series of 168 civilian cases of tangential gunshot wounds to the head is presented. Neurologic deficits on presentation were generally minimal. Computed tomographic (CT) scans were performed in 51% of patients, and abnormal CT findings were noted in 35% (18% of all patients). Major operative procedures were required in 9% of the patients. Serious sequelae of tangential injuries are described even with patients who initially have no neurologic abnormality. We suggest that a CT scan is warranted in all cases of tangential gunshot wounds to the head.

Wound ballistics
• When the bullet hits the biological target, it transfers its energy to the body, resulting in injuries
• Kinetic energy: the energy possessed by an object due to its motion; a function of the object's mass (M) and velocity (V): KE = 1/2 MV2
• While the bullet's mass plays an important role in gunshot wounds, the most critical variable is the bullet velocity; doubling the velocity will quadruple the kinetic energy
• Types of gunshot wounds:
• Penetrating wounds: the bullet enters the body but does not exit
• Perforating wounds: the bullet enters and exits the body
• Re-entry wounds: the bullet passes through a body segment, exits and re-enters the body (Int J Legal Med 2009;123:419)
• Graze / tangential wounds: the bullet strikes the skin at a shallow angle, producing a superficial wound (Acad Forensic Pathol 2016;6:291)

Oh, please. I read hundreds of books and articles while writing my chapters on the head wounds. And it's an indisputable fact there are different classes of tangential wounds, from minor marks to large gouges to huge gaping holes. Here is an image I uncovered in my journey, that led Dr. Cyril Wecht to agree JFK's wound appeared to be a tangential wound. Sorry if it makes you wretch.

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I assume most believe the evidence suggests shots came from two directions.

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2 hours ago, Pat Speer said:

Oh, please. I read hundreds of books and articles while writing my chapters on the head wounds. And it's an indisputable fact there are different classes of tangential wounds, from minor marks to large gouges to huge gaping holes. Here is an image I uncovered in my journey, that led Dr. Cyril Wecht to agree JFK's wound appeared to be a tangential wound. Sorry if it makes you wretch.

What kind of bullet & gun was involved in Fig 10.9?

How can a 6 mm hole in the back of JFK's head be called a large wound of entrance?

How can an almost perfect circular 6 mm hole be called tangential?

What makes me wretch is idiots like Wecht who reckon that the SBT is an impossibility.

Edited by Marjan Rynkiewicz
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If anybody ever says that a bullet couldn't have thrown Kennedy' head and torso back, consider the following thought experiment. It's based on the physics principle that every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction.

If you've ever shot a rifle, recall the amount of kick it gave your shoulder when you pulled the trigger. Now, imagine holding the rifle lightly against the forehead of a friend's head and pull the trigger. That would kick your friends head back forcefully.

That is the same amount of impact your friend's head would feel if he got hit there by the same bullet. Unfortunately, that's true only if the bullet didn't exit his head. For example, if the bullet fragmented and stayed inside.

While that experiment isn't quite applicable to the Kennedy case, it does give an idea as to what the potential impact from the bullet might have been.

Here's a thought experiment that IS more applicable to the Kennedy case: Super-glue a bullet to the tip of a steel rod that is the same diameter as the bullet. Drill a hole through your friend's forehead and insert the rod, bullet first, into the hole. Push the rod in till the bullet rests on the inside surface of the back of the skull. Now, imagine how hard you would have to hit the rod with a hammer in order to break a fist-sized hole through the back of your friend's head and to tear the scalp. Do you imagine that that hard of an impact would have been enough to throw your friends head back, and even his torso? I sure do.

So yes, a rifle bullet to Kennedy's head could have, and did, throw it and Kennedy's torso back.

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