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Essay/Term paper: The jfk assassination: conspiracy or single-gunman?

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The JFK Assassination: Conspiracy or Single-Gunman?

Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator of Germany during World War II, once said, "The
bigger the lie, the more people will believe it." Although this may sound
ludicrous, we can see many example of this in the world's history. One example
would have to be the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination. For over thirty
years the people of the United States were led to believe that a single gunman
shot and killed Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m... However,
in this paper, I will dispute the ancient analization of the facts that show a
single gunman was involved, and try to show that a conspiracy must have been

According to the old facts regarding the case of the JFK assassination, Kennedy
was killed by a single gunman. On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. CST (Central
Standard Time), Kennedy was riding in an open limousine through Dallas, Texas.
At this time, Kennedy was shot in the head and neck by a sniper. He was then
taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Later,
police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, at a nearby theater.
By the next morning, Oswald was booked for the murder of President John F.
Kennedy. Two days later, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub
owner, while he was being moved from the city to the county jail.

At a glance, the above story sounds as if this should be an open-and-shut case.
After all, according to the facts above, Oswald must have killed Kennedy.
However, you must take a deeper look into this case. Many people who witnessed
the murder of John F. Kennedy dispute the facts above, saying that they heard
shots from places besides the book depository, and other things that may
contradict what is stated above. One of these witnesses, Abraham Zapruder,
captured the entire assassination on his Bell and Howell eight millimeter movie
camera. This movie, cleverly called the Zapruder Film, is the single best piece
of visual evidence in this case.

In order to more clearly understand the Zapruder Film, it is necessary to break
it down into frames. The particular Bell and Howell movie camera that Zapruder
was using ran at eighteen and three-hundredths (18.3) frames per second. When
using this frame system, you must remember that all shots were actually fired
several frames before the number that is assigned to them. For example, the
fatal heard wound, called Z313, was probably fired at Z310, since it took 2-3
frames at 18.3 frames per second for the bullet to reach the victim. Also, you
must remember that sound travels at about one thousand-one hundred (1,100) feet
per second, or a little over half as fast as the Mannlicher Carcano's bullets.
When keeping this in mind, it is expected that witnesses heard the shot at some
point after the bullet passed. The following shows a break down of the frames
of the Zapruder film:

- The Presidential limousine first comes into view at frame 133 (the starting
point of this
timeline.) - The first shot at (or just before) Z187 would have passed through
Governor Connally and the President.

- The second shot, which passed above the limousine at Z284, missed the
President and hit
the curb near witness James Tague. This caused his minor wound.

- At Z313, the fatal shot occurs, which blew out major portions of the
Presidents brain and

- A fourth shot occurred at Z323 (slightly 1/2 second after the fatal wound at
Z313). Due
to the proximity of this report to the one at Z313, as well as it's more
distant origin,
most witnesses were unable to hear this shot.

Thus, the above is when the bullets hit either Kennedy or Connally, or passed
through the frames of the Zapruder film (in the case of the second shot). Of the
one-hundred seventy-eight (178) witnesses at Dealey Plaza, one-hundred thirty-
two (132) said that they hear exactly three shots. If Oswald was a single
gunman, it would have taken him at least 2.3 seconds to reload his Mannlicher
Carcano rifle. However, the general consensus of the witnesses is that they
heard a single shot, followed by silence, with the second and third shots
bunched together. For example, Lee Bowers, one of the witnesses, testified, "I
heard three shots, one, then a slight pause, then two very close together."
Also, Warren W. Taylor, a Secret Service agent, said, "As a matter of course, I
opened the door and prepared to get out of the car. In the instant that my left
foot touched the ground, I heard two more bangs and realized that they must be
gun shots." Lastly, when Miss Willis, a witness, was asked if she heard any
shots, she testified, "Yes; I heard one. Then there was a little bit of time,
and then there were two real fast bullets together. When the first one hit,
well, the President turned from waving to the people, and he grabbed his throat,
and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn't tell where the second shot
went." Thus, it would have been impossible for one gunman to fire a shot with
the Mannlicher Carcano rifle, reload, fire again, and fire again in a very short
amount of time in order to make the shots sound close together. Also, when the
fatal shot hit Kennedy, his head went back and to the left, implying that the
bullet came from the front and right, not from the left.

Although many people dispute the single bullet theory, this may be true. To
understand why, you must understand the trajectory of the bullet and the angles
involved. The bullet, if fired from the Texas School Book Depository, should
have hit Kennedy at a 21 degree angle, and, in fact, it did. (See the pictures
on the subsequent pages.) Also, President Kennedy was sitting nearly six inches
above the level of Connally's seat. Thus, when the bullet left the President,
it hit Connally, who was turned 15-20 degrees. When the bullet hit Connally,
the hole in his back was 5/8 inches wide by 1/4 inches high, or more than twice
as wide as tall. This means that the bullet was partially turned sideways when
it entered Connally's back. Thus, the bullet must have hit something before it
hit Connally. Also, the bottom of the bullet that was found was broken open
and was extruding tiny particles of lead. X-rays taken at Parkland showed
precisely that type of particle embedded in the Governor's wrist and thigh
wounds. However, even if the single bullet theory is true, it in no way lessens
the fact that there were multiple gunmen, and there was a conspiracy. (The
"magic bullet" is thought to be bullet one on the Zapruder film.)

Lastly, one has to consider what the biggest motives would be to kill the
President. One motive has to deal with President Kennedy trying to get out of
Vietnam. This war was the biggest business in America at the time. It brought
in over eighty billion dollars a year. Thus, since the President was trying to
get out of the war, he would have been costing business men a lot of money.
Also, vice-president Johnson would have profited a lot because he was the next
to become president. Thus, people, including the vice-president, had motives to
kill the President.

As you can see, the killing of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy. There is no
way a single gunman could have fired all the bullets that hit Kennedy and
Connnally in that short period of time. Also, since Kennedy's head went back
and to the left, the bullet must have been fired from the front and right of
Kennedy. This shows that there was another gunman, which makes this a
conspiracy. Someday, it would be nice if the truth is revealed about who fired
the bullets, and how many gunmen there actually were.


1. Harris, Robert. "The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A
Reassessment of Original Testimony and Evidence."

2. Harris, Robert. "The Single Bullet Theory: A Question of

3. Newman, John. "Oswald and the CIA." Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc.
New York: 1995.

4. Summers, Anthony. "Conspiracy." McGraw-Hill Book Company. New York:

5. "JFK" Directed by Oliver Stone. Warner Bros., Inc. 1991.


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