by Ron Falcone (c)2011
The SBT was the Warren Commission's answer to a
longstanding controversy. For years, critics debated how Lee Harvey Oswald could
have shot two victims in what appeared to be too short a time frame.
Because the F.B.I established that Oswald would have needed a minimum of 2.3
seconds between shots, and the Zapruder film appeared to show a
faster sequence, "conspiracy theorists" argued there must have been at
least two assassins. But after studying bullet trajectories and crime
scene reconstructions, the Commission concluded only one bullet passed
through both victims, and it was fired by Oswald. In effect, what appeared to be
two separate shots was really only one. Yet, this explanation, first rendered in
1964, remained a subject of intense debate and even ridicule, and
was often referred to by "conspiracy buffs" as the "magic bullet." But
then in 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) took another
look at the SBT. After carefully studying digital film enhancements and
polling a range of experts, the House
became certain that President Kennedy and governor Connally
were properly aligned to have indeed been struck by one bullet. (Later analysis,
using sophisticated computer software, also corroborated this finding). Now,
after so many years of debate, it was becoming increasingly clear that the
single bullet theory was, in some aspects, not so magical after all.
But this wasn't the end of the story, for several seconds of blurred film
would cast yet another peculiar angle on the assassination
Beside its work on the single bullet theory, the House set out to determine how many shots were fired at the Presidential motorcade, and precisely when they were fired. The timing of shots had been a subject of fierce debate over the years, and so the House felt obliged to tackle this issue head on. To enhance their investigation, the House would use a technique known as "jiggle analysis," and they called on several experts, including a Nobel Prize winning physicist to help in this area.
It was hoped that jiggle analysis could pinpoint when Abraham Zapruder may have reacted to gunfire. Such reactions would occur as blurs of film caused by Zapruder shaking his camera in response to loud noises; when compared to the normal shaking of his camera, any notable deviations would be considered forensic "fingerprints," establishing when gunfire occurred (click here for a more detailed explanation of jiggle analysis). In fact, a significant blur was found in Zapruder frames 189-197, and further analysis showed it to be associated with a "severe external stimulus" on President Kennedy's part. His hand 'clenched' in the midst of a wave, his body appeared to stiffen, and his head turned rapidly. According to the Committee, these motions were evidence of a physical reaction---most likely caused by gunfire. Moreover, this jiggle occurred so close to when Kennedy and Connally were struck by the single bullet, that the House assumed both events must have been related. But in retrospect, it is now likely the House was confusing two different events. That's true because 189-197 pointed to a separate gunshot immediately preceding the single bullet. How can this be known for sure? Because the severe external stimulus occurred roughly 2 seconds before the lapel bulge. Had only one, single bullet been responsible for both events, it would have caused the lapel to bulge immediately on contact, and then a reaction from the President, after the fact. In view of these facts, how could the House have been so in error? The simplest explanation is that they didn't focus on the lapel bulge in their 1979 investigation, and so inadvertently assumed the severe stimulus and single bullet were related.
Perhaps most significant of all, President Kennedy's reaction compellingly implicates a shot from a second weapon. This is so because the 189 reaction, and the lapel bulge, occurred less than 2.3 seconds apart; if both events were caused by separate shots, one gunman would have had too little time to make them, based on the F.B.I's 2.3 second timeline.
While the evidence is compelling that an unaccounted for shot was fired before the lapel bulge, it is still unknown whether this shot directly, or indirectly caused Kennedy's reaction. For example, was he actually struck by a bullet here, or was his severe stimulus the result of a startle, or panic reaction caused by the realization that gunfire was raining down on the motorcade? (Read more about a possible additional gunshot, here). Whatever the answer, some significant event caused President Kennedy to react abnormally prior to the single bullet strike. And since the only events of significance in those brief few seconds of time were gunfire, we must infer that gunfire also caused the abnormal reaction.
Thus, based on a careful review of the above facts and in-depth analysis of key Zapruder still frames, we present the following conclusions:
Too see an analysis of key Zapruder frames, click the link below.
FRAME BY FRAME
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