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The Single Bullet Theory

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The basis of the Warren Commission's claim of a lone assassin rests upon something known as the "Single Bullet Theory." This theory, proposed by now PA Senator Arlen Specter, basically states that a bullet CE 399 entered the President's back, transited his neck, exited the neck, struck Governor John Connally in the back near his right armpit, tore through his chest shattering rib bone, exited his chest, struck his wrist, smashed a tough radius bone, exited his wrist, and imbedded itself in his left thigh. Yet after all of that, the bullet emerged with only 3-4 grains lost from its substance and its grooves intact. The bullet's only deformation is at its base and that can only be viewed from certain angles. Just reading this, the single bullet seems very unlikely. Well, it is. First of all, no trajectory can get Kennedy and Connally properly aligned for the single bullet. Two famous trajectories were done by Dale Myers and Failure Analysis. Both of these run into trouble from the offset in trying to prove the single bullet. First of all, they are based on fanciful speculation and can't conclusively prove anything. Second of all, in both, the Kennedy model is leaning so far forward that his back is off the seat. No photographic evidence supports this contention. Thirdly, in Dale Myers's trajectory, the Connally is figure is rotated a good twenty degrees. Again, no photographic evidence supports this either. Look here at Zapruder frame 224. Connally's shoulders are nearly parallel to the roll bar on the limousine.

Again referring to the Zapruder film, you can see that as early as frames 201-205 Jackie Kennedy has stopped waving and is intently looking at her husband. It is more obvious at frame 223. Seeing this, you know that Kennedy had to have been hit BEFORE 223-24 when the alleged single bullet supposedly struck. William Hartmann, a member of the House Select Committee on Assassination's photographic evidence panel said that the panel found evidence from Willis slide 5 that indicated a shot around frame 190.

Nearly all researchers agree that Kennedy is reacting to a bullet at frame 225. This is impossible if the bullet struck at 223-24. An expert on human wounds, Robert Piziali, stated at a 1992 American Bar Association mock Oswald trial that if Kennedy is reacting at 225, he could have been hit no later that frame 221.

Another major problem is that their is no fabric missing from the slits in JFK's shirt and their is no hole or nick in the knot of JFK's tie.

First of all, let's address the issue of the shirt. David Mantik, after studying the shirt at the National Archives, discovered that their is no fabric missing from JFK's shirt. When bullets tear through clothing, they usually remove some fabric but apparently not in this case. Actually, on closer inspection, those slits look more like knife cuts. The slits were probably caused by the Parkland nurses as the tried to cut off Kennedy's shirt. This is highly likely since the first doctor to see Kennedy, Dr. Charles Carrico stated that he did NOT see the slits in the shirt when he first saw Kennedy. Dr. Carrico also stated that he immediately saw the throat wound which was above the collar.

Secondly, their is no hole in the knot or on the edge of the tie. When Harold Weisberg obtained photos of the President's tie, he made this discovery. JFK's tie would have been positioned right over the slits in the shirt and an exiting bullet should have made some hole through the knot or at least nicked the tie's edge. But we can only see a small nick on the left side of the knot, visibly inward from the knot's edge.

You can also look at Nurse Audrey Bell's statement regarding the bullet fragments in John Connally's wrist. Although Dr. Charles Gregory said the fragments removed from Conally's wrist were tiny and weighed less than a postage stamp, Bell has a very different account. She states that the fragments were identifiable pieces of metal from 2 to 3 millimeters long. Even Dr. Humes, the chief pathologist at the Bethesda autopsy didn't believe that CE 399 was the bullet that struck Connally's wrist. When asked if CE 399 could have been the missile that struck Connally's wrist, this is what he had to say.

Mr. SPECTER. Doctor Humes, I show you a bullet which we have marked as Commission Exhibit No. 399, and may I say now that, subject to later proof, this is the missile which has been taken from the stretcher which the evidence now indicates was the stretcher occupied by Governor Connally. I move for its admission into evidence at this time.

The CHAIRMAN. It may be admitted. (The article, previously marked Commission Exhibit No. 399 for identification, was received in evidence.)

Mr. SPECTER. We have been asked by the FBI that the missile not be handled by anybody because it is undergoing further ballistic tests, and it now appears, may the record show, in a plastic case in a cotton background.

Now looking at that bullet, Exhibit 399, Doctor Humes, could that bullet have gone through or been any part of the fragment passing through President Kennedy's head in Exhibit No. 388?

Commander HUMES. I do not believe so, sir.

Mr. SPECTER. And could that missile have made the wound on Governor Connally's right wrist?

Commander HUMES. I think that that is most unlikely. May I expand on those two answers?

Mr. SPECTER. Yes, please do.

Commander HUMES. The X-rays made of the wound in the head of the late President showed fragmentations of the missile. Some fragments we recovered and turned over, as has been previously noted. Also we have X-rays of the fragment of skull which was in the region of our opinion exit wound showing metallic fragments. Also going to Exhibit 392, the report from Parkland Hospital, the following sentence referring to the examination of the wound of the wrist is found: "Small bits of metal were encountered at various levels throughout the wound, and these were, wherever they were identified and could be picked up, picked up and submitted to the pathology department for identification and examination." The reason I believe it most unlikely that this missile could have inflicted either of these wounds is that this missile is basically intact; its jacket appears to me to be intact, and I do not understand how it could possibly have left fragments in either of these locations.

If that is not damning enough, Dr. David Mantik concluded after studying the autopsy materials at the National Archives, no path from the back wound to the throat wound could have avoided smashing into the spine. You can read about it in the excellent book Assassination Science. He is not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Dr. John Nichols, a professor of forensic pathology at the University of the Kansas, had this to say.

"Figure 6 is the view through Oswald's telescopic sight at Frame 222, showing the depressed angle of 20.23 degrees prevailing at the first shot as measured in the FBI reenactment. I have both measured and calculated the lateral angle at this frame to be 9.21 degrees. Elementary anatomy indicated that the minimum lateral angle for the bullet to miss the transverse processes and emerge in the midline [of the throat] is 28 degrees; this is obviously impossible from Oswald's alleged firing position."

Also, the HSCA concluded that the back wound was at the same level of the throat wound. They also determined the path of the bullet was slightly UPWARD. How is that even possible!?

I would like to thank Michael T. Griffith for his excellent website on the Kennedy Assassination from which I got most of my information.

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