Despite its seeming absurdity, there are numerous historical examples that support the notion. One example is the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. For over three decades, Americans were led to believe that a lone shooter was responsible for Kennedy’s death in Dallas on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. However, this paper aims to challenge the traditional analysis and argue that a conspiracy must have played a role.
Based on established facts surrounding the JFK assassination, it is believed that Kennedy was killed by a single shooter. On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time), while riding through Dallas, Texas in an open limousine, Kennedy was shot in the head and neck by a sniper. He was then quickly taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U. S. Marine, was arrested by the police at a nearby theater and booked for the murder of President John F. Kennedy by the next morning. However, two days later while being transferred from the city to the county jail, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner.
Despite initial indications pointing to Oswald as the culprit based on these details, further investigation exposes conflicting testimonies from witnesses who assert having heard gunshots originating from various locations other than the book depository and other contradictions. One such witness is Abraham Zapruder who captured the entire assassination on his Bell and Howell eight millimeter movie camera referred to as the Zapruder Film – an invaluable piece of visual evidence in this case.
To better understand the Zapruder Film, it is essential to analyze its frames. The specific Bell and Howell movie camera utilized by Zapruder operated at a rate of 18.3 frames per second. It is important to note within this frame system that shots were actually fired a few frames prior to their assigned numbers. For instance, the fatal head wound, known as Z313, was most likely fired at Z310, as it took 2-3 frames for the bullet to reach the victim at the camera’s speed. Furthermore, it is crucial to consider that sound travels at approximately 1,100 feet per second, slightly over half the speed of the Mannlicher Carcano’s bullets. Thus, witnesses likely heard the gunshot after the bullet had already passed. The following breakdown presents 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 both Governor Connally and the President. Marino, 3
- 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 would.
- At Z313, the fatal shot occurs, which blew out major portions of the Presidents brain and skull.
- 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).
Out of the 178 witnesses at Dealey Plaza, a total of 132 mentioned hearing exactly three shots. If Oswald was the sole culprit, it would have taken him at least 2.3 seconds to reload his Mannlicher Carcano rifle. However, most witnesses agree that they heard one shot followed by silence, and then two more shots in rapid succession. One witness named Lee Bowers recalled, “I heard three shots, one, then a slight pause, then two very close together.” Another witness from the Secret Service named Warren W. Taylor stated: “As I was about to leave the car, I heard two more bangs and immediately recognized them as gunshots.”
In summary, Miss Willis, a witness, stated that she heard two shots close together. The first shot made President Kennedy clutch his throat and slump forward. She couldn’t determine where the second shot came from. This implies that it would have been impossible for one shooter to fire three shots rapidly using the Mannlicher Carcano rifle. Additionally, when Kennedy was fatally shot, his head moved backward and leftward, suggesting that the bullet originated from the front and right rather than from the Texas School Book Depository. Although many people question the single bullet theory, an examination of the bullet’s trajectory and angles supports this theory. The angle at which the bullet should have hit Kennedy is 21 degrees, which aligns with the available evidence (see accompanying pictures on subsequent pages for visual confirmation).
During the incident, President Kennedy was positioned higher than Connally’s seat, causing the bullet that exited his body to hit Connally at an angle of 15-20 degrees. The hole in Connally’s back had a wider width of 5/8 inches and a shorter height of 1/4 inches, indicating that the bullet entered sideways. This suggests that something was struck by the bullet before reaching Connally.
Furthermore, upon further examination it was discovered that the recovered bullet had broken open at its base, releasing small lead particles. X-rays confirmed these same particles were embedded in Governor’s wrist and thigh wounds at Parkland Hospital. However, even if we accept the single bullet theory as true, it does not rule out the possibility of multiple gunmen and a conspiracy being involved in this event.
The Zapruder film portrays the “magic bullet” as bullet one. Additionally, when considering potential motives for assassinating President Kennedy, his efforts to withdraw from Vietnam played a significant role during that time period. At that specific moment in history, this war represented America’s most crucial undertaking.
It is believed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was part of a conspiracy due to multiple factors. One significant factor is the financial implications for businessmen, as the war generated over $80 billion annually. Ending the war would have greatly harmed their finances, providing motive for various individuals including Vice-President Johnson, who stood to benefit from assuming the presidency.
The implausibility of a single gunman responsible for the assassination is supported by the swift succession of bullets hitting both Kennedy and Connally within a brief timeframe. Additionally, analysis of Kennedy’s head movement suggests that the bullet must have been fired from the front and right of him, indicating another gunman’s involvement.
Overall, it is hoped that one day the truth regarding all shooters involved and the actual number of gunmen will be revealed.