Discussion:
Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.
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BOZ
2019-04-05 19:43:52 UTC
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https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
Grizzlie Antagonist
2019-04-07 00:32:15 UTC
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Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***



As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."

If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.

In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.

Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.

And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"

The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."

Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.


***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.

Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***


There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).

But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.

Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.

The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.

No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?

How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.

Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.


***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***


The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.

The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”

He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."

He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."

He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.

The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.

But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.

***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***

Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.

This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.

***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***

You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.

***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.

Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?

Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.

Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***


Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.

Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.

The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.

By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.

As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.

However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.

Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.

Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".

***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.


So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.

Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***


There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.

I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.


*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***


Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.


*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)

And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***


Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.

Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.

Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.

***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.

There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.

Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***


The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.

The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.

Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.

Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
donald willis
2019-04-07 17:40:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
Very thoroughly laid out. Note that the limo fragments were supposedly
cleaned, according to a post or two here recently. Donahue's use of the
middle of the gaping hole in determining trajectory is, yes, reasonable.
But still... a gaping hole. No one will ever get a precise trajectory,
beyond "reasonable"....

dcw
bigdog
2019-04-08 00:22:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day. Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory one must
force fit the rest of the evidence to the theory rather than making the
theory fit the body of evidence.

I'm through trying to dissuade you and claviger from your adherence to
this preposterous theory. It's as pointless as trying to convince
conspiracy theorists that they are wrong. Since Menninger wrote Mortal
Error, this story has gained no more traction than David Lifton's Best
Evidence and is every bit as goofy. Believe in this fairy tale if you
like. It's a free country. Nobody says your beliefs are required to make
sense or to fit the available evidence.
donald willis
2019-04-09 00:52:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by bigdog
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?

Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....

dcw
claviger
2019-04-09 19:10:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by donald willis
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Good question. If the AR-15 had any kind of malfunction it would be
eliminated from competition with the M-14. Whatever faction was in
support of the AR-15 would not want the public to know, would they?
Post by donald willis
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
dcw
You've never been hunting have you?
donald willis
2019-04-10 19:36:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by claviger
Post by donald willis
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Good question. If the AR-15 had any kind of malfunction it would be
eliminated from competition with the M-14. Whatever faction was in
support of the AR-15 would not want the public to know, would they?
Post by donald willis
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
dcw
You've never been hunting have you?
I've been fishing. Not sure to what you are referring. And my post and
bigdog's seem to have been squished together....

dcw
bigdog
2019-04-10 03:12:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
Grizzlie Antagonist
2019-04-11 00:08:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
Go back to school. The single-bullet scenario has little to do with the
mortal error scenario since the former concerns the injuries suffered by
Kennedy and Connally earlier in the shooting sequence and the latter
concerns the fatal head shot.

All of the mortal error theorists of whom I'm aware accept the single
bullet scenario as the correct explanation of the wounds suffered earlier
by Kennedy and Connally. You see, you really don't know or understand
exactly what you're attacking.
claviger
2019-04-11 00:18:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
An explosive head wound is about as hard as it gets.
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The opinion of a lifelong rifleman and firearms expert.
What are your credentials?
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence.
Easy to understand by any experienced rifleman.
Post by bigdog
The Mortal Error theory is accepted by people on the fringe.
On the fringe of what? Donahue was a mainstream weapons
expert and ballistic analyst.
Anthony Marsh
2019-04-13 03:22:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by claviger
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
An explosive head wound is about as hard as it gets.
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The opinion of a lifelong rifleman and firearms expert.
What are your credentials?
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence.
Easy to understand by any experienced rifleman.
Post by bigdog
The Mortal Error theory is accepted by people on the fringe.
On the fringe of what? Donahue was a mainstream weapons
On the fringe of sanity.
Post by claviger
expert and ballistic analyst.
He was not an expert. You use phony arguments. He worked in a hardware
store. That's it.
claviger
2019-04-16 01:17:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Marsh
Post by claviger
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was
even fired that day.
An explosive head wound is about as hard as it gets.
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really
believe that the SS (as in "secret") would not swing
right in to cover up mode if the AR-15 was fired, under
any circumstances? Donahue arrived at that OPINION by
focusing on one aspectof the evidence and not bothering
to see if that opinion fit the body of evidence as a whole. It
doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The opinion of a lifelong rifleman and firearms expert.
What are your credentials?
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue
endorsed it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people
who apply common sense to the available evidence.
Easy to understand by any experienced rifleman.
Post by bigdog
The Mortal Error theory is accepted by people on the fringe.
On the fringe of what? Donahue was a mainstream weapons
expert and ballistic analyst.
On the fringe of sanity.
He was not an expert. You use phony arguments.
He worked in a hardware store. That's it.
The equivalent of saying Marsh is not a musical expert just
an organ grinder on the corner with a monkey and a tin cup.
That's it.
Anthony Marsh
2019-04-11 14:39:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by bigdog
Post by donald willis
Post by bigdog
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day.
One complication to this simplicity. Do you really believe that the SS
(as in "secret") would not swing right in to cover up mode if the AR-15
was fired, under any circumstances?
Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
Post by bigdog
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory
The single bullet theory sounds a little goofy, too. Donahue endorsed
it--two goofy ideas for the price of one.....
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
WHICH SBT? You guys keep changing it every day.
Mortal Error is accepted by only one person.
claviger
2019-04-13 03:19:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Marsh
Post by bigdog
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
WHICH SBT? You guys keep changing it every day.
Mortal Error is accepted by only one person.
You are way behind the curve. Three other book
authors agree with the Howard Donahue and the
Mortal Error Theory.
Anthony Marsh
2019-04-16 16:01:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by claviger
Post by Anthony Marsh
Post by bigdog
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
WHICH SBT? You guys keep changing it every day.
Mortal Error is accepted by only one person.
You are way behind the curve. Three other book
authors agree with the Howard Donahue and the
Mortal Error Theory.
How come you are never brave enough to answer my questions?
claviger
2019-04-18 01:40:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Anthony Marsh
Post by claviger
Post by Anthony Marsh
Post by bigdog
The SBT has stood the test of time and is accepted by people who apply
common sense to the available evidence. The Mortal Error theory is
accepted by people on the fringe.
WHICH SBT? You guys keep changing it every day.
Mortal Error is accepted by only one person.
You are way behind the curve. Three other book
authors agree with the Howard Donahue and the
Mortal Error Theory.
How come you are never brave enough to answer my questions?
Your are correct. Find someone else who has a very high
tolerance for all the inane repetitive boring questions you
ask.

Grizzlie Antagonist
2019-04-09 19:26:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by bigdog
Post by Grizzlie Antagonist
Post by BOZ
https://www.philly.com/philly/news/Shooting_holes_in_theory_that_a_Secret_Service_agent_killed_President_Kennedy.html
***Accidents don't get any freakier. Think about it. A stationary marksman aiming a rifle misses with his first shot, but a federal agent in a lurching car just happens to fire at the perfect up-down, left-right angle to hit Kennedy in the head? Isn't it much more likely that at least one of Donahue's estimations was off-target?***
As a wise man once said, "You can't tell chance what it must do."
If there was hostility between Hickey and JFK; if there was some reason to believe that Hickey was rabidly opposed to JFK's politics or to JFK as an individual, then the notion of him killing JFK by accident would be truly suspicious.
In the real world, fatal or near-fatal accidents with guns happen all the time. I don't see how this is any different from or any more remarkable or freaky than the scenario in which a loved one is shot by a gun-wielding householder who meant to shoot a burglar.
Anyway, this argument falls of its own weight. You might just as well ask how Oswald could have missed a relatively easy first shot while connecting perfectly with a more difficult third shot.
And you poach upon conspiracy theorist territory, or, in any event, the author does. CT's ask, "How could Oswald have missed stationary General Walker sitting in a lighted room and yet used his MC to fire three shots as effectively as he did on 11/22/63?"
The "lone nutter" response is, "Well, he just did, that's all. The evidence proves that that's what happened, and if that's what happened, then I don't have to prove that it's possible for it to have happened."
Well, the evidence strongly indicates that JFK died from an exploding frangible bullet whose origin was Hickey's AR-15. That proves that it's "possible". "Freaky" is a value judgment entirely in the eye of the beholder.
***No solid witnesses. McLaren makes a big deal of trusting witnesses, but more than 100 people there that day thought shots came from the Book Depository or the infamous grassy knoll. No one claimed to see Hickey discharge his weapon directly at the president.
Yet JFK: The Smoking Gun discredits the grassy knoll idea (as does Cold Case JFK, Nova's reexamination of the scientific evidence that debuts at 9 tonight on PBS), while giving credibility to those who smelled gun smoke at street level, who thought the third shot was louder or came from near the presidential limousine, or who thought Hickey may have picked up his rifle after the first shot (Hickey testified it was after the third shot).***
There are really no solid witnesses incriminating Oswald either, though there is eyewitness testimony of a shooter firing from the sniper's nest. But the evidence against Oswald himself, as great as it is, is largely circumstantial (which, as a matter of law, makes it no less valuable).
But only one eyewitness actually identified Oswald as the shooter and he hesitated to do it at the time. Essentially, the argument for Oswald's guilt is that the circumstantial evidence against him is so overwhelming (which I agree that it is, at least for the first two shots) that it buttresses the lone shaky eyewitness.
Again, it's dangerous territory for a lone nutter to poach upon because if you're counting witnesses, then you've got to admit the possibility of a grassy knoll shot.
The acoustics of Dealey Plaza and the possibility that earwitnesses could have been mistaken in the excitement of the moment has been discussed by lone nutters before as a response to the grassy knoll earwitnesses, and it's no less relevant to this discussion.
No one actually saw Hickey shoot JFK by accident, but there were eyewitnesses who saw him wield the gun and fall down at the time of the fatal headshot. There aren't a whole lot of such eyewitnesses, but then again, how many people would have been watching the follow-up car?
How many films and photographs are there of the follow-up car during the moment in question? Very few, because the photographer quite naturally focuses on the presidential car and the same would be expected of any other eyewitness.
Essentially, the argument for a Hickey misfire is that the circumstantial evidence against him is great enough that it buttresses the eyewitness testimony.
***Hickey's car had two administration officials inside, and seven other Secret Service agents aboard, counting four on the running boards, while at least two Dallas motorcycle cops rode alongside. Behind them were more cars full of agents and officials. Yet no one was sure that Hickey's AR-15 was fired in Dealey Plaza?***
The author's choice of words is interesting here. "No one was sure". In other words, some people thought this.
The author's mincing of words means that he's aware of more than he's telling. He's likely aware of a number of witnesses whose statements would support an AR-15 shot, among them, Winston Lawson who stated, "“As the Lead Car was passing under this bridge I hear the first loud, sharp report and in more rapid succession two more sounds like gunfire. I could see persons to the left of the motorcade vehicles running away. I noticed Agent Hickey standing in the follow-up car with the automatic weapon and first thought he had fired at someone.”
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because my ears told me that the shot came from elsewhere."
He doesn't say, "In spite of my first impression, I knew that Hickey hadn't actually fired a shot because his reaction/body language and/or the reaction/body language of the others in the car was inconsistent with Hickey's having fired."
He says that he thought that Hickey had fired. Presumably, whatever he saw and heard during his first impression was consistent with that notion.
The fact that Hickey claims not to have picked up the AR-15 until his car passed under the overpass while others saw him wielding it during or in the immediate aftermath of the shooting should be regarded as quite significant.
But no; I guess that no one was "sure" but "certainty" is a higher bar to vault over. It's sufficient again to say that there is enough circumstantial evidence to indicate a Hickey misfire and that buttresses or is buttressed by the fact that there is some consistent eyewitness testimony.
***Kennedy aide Dave Powers said, "Someone a foot away from me or two feet away from me couldn't fire a gun without me hearing it," according to Mortal Error. A coverup might produce such post-event denials, but what explains a lack of immediate reaction in the followup car? Wouldn't a trained agent have snatched the gun, or knocked Hickey down, in case he was a real assassin? Or to prevent this klutz from killing someone else?***
Utterly absurd. It makes no allowance for human imperfection. It assumes perfect knowledge and understanding of the others in the car of what had just happened. And it assumes that the other agents in the car were capable of quick and alert response when there is reason to suppose that they were not really capable of it. It makes no allowance for the natural tendency to freeze, at least momentarily, when confronted by the unexpected.
This is the same argument that avers that the driver of the presidential limousine was part of a conspiracy because he slowed down the vehicle after the shooting commenced rather than speeding it up.
***One photograph (above) is said to show Hickey without the rifle at the time of first shot, and the only photograph of him with it shows it pointing skyward well beyond the assassination scene. Hickey's lawsuit over Menninger's book resulted in a settlement.***
You can't see enough of Hickey in the Altgens photo to determine whether he's holding the weapon or not. But that photo is taken about three seconds before the fatal headshot so, if he wasn't already armed, then, in retrospect, it is even easier to suppose greater potential for an accident by virtue of Hickey having stood up and trying to grab the gun in one motion.
***It's dubious to use a gaping hole to calculate a trajectory. If Donahue's trajectory is wrong, his whole theory falls apart.
Did the bullet enter near the base of Kennedy's skull (as the autopsy report suggested) or four inches higher (as the House Selection Committee on Assassinations concluded)? Then, did it travel toward the middle of the area with missing skull, or travel more toward the top, bottom, front or rear?
Even Donahue, according to Mortal Error, believed the bullet curved to the right and upward, disagreeing with the House Select Assassination Committee's contention it curled to the right and downward. The science is revisited in Nova's Cold Case JFK. During experiments firing Carcano bullets at skulls filled with ballistics gel, the bullets "did not follow a straight path inside the skull, because they were deformed on impact," the narrator explains.
Scientist Larry Sturdivan said the bullets would yaw, or wobble, and develop lift. If the bullet rose, it could have been fired from an angle over Hickey's head. Add in disagreements about how much JFK's head was leaning forward or turned toward the left, as seen below in a frame from the Zapruder film, and the trajectory further resembles guesswork.***
Donahue's conclusion is derided as "guesswork" while the conclusions of Sturdivan, who is operating with equal uncertainty, are applauded.
Still, this argument is a little better in one respect and considerably worse in another respect. Donahue and Menninger acknowledge the difficulty of using the gaping hole to determine trajectory, but then again, the damage causing that "gaping hole" is so massive as to bely the notion that it was caused by a full-metal-jacketed bullet.
The single-bullet strike caused fairly clipped and precise damage to JFK and Connally while remaining relatively undamaged.
By contrast, JFK received more than just a hole in the head from the third shot; he received massive damage to the head. The difference between the damage inflicted by each of the two shots isn't addressed in this article.
As far as trajectory goes, I think that Donahue decided to use the center of that hole on the assumption that the damage radiated outward equally in all directions -- which seems like a fairly sound assumption in my lay opinion.
However, Donahue does NOT conclude that the bullet curved to the right and upward; he determines a slightly downward and left-to-right trajectory -- which he initially sourced to the Dal-Tex Building until realizing that Hickey would have been in the line of fire coming from that building.
Saying that Donahue concluded that the bullet curved to the right and upward completely misrepresents his conclusion and pretty much disqualifies the author on this topic.
Supposing that Oswald fired the fatal headshot from a sharper angle of declination than Hickey's -- which caused damage to the top right side of JFK's head -- requires one to believe -- as the author notes here -- that Sturdivan is correct in supposing that the MC's impact with the skull caused it to wobble and "develop lift".
I guess it's in the eye of the beholder to determine which scenario is more plausible. But one might suppose that the notion of a bullet changing direction like that is "freaky".
***A "completely disintegrated" bullet also confuses the trajectory. A big part of Donahue's theory was that the third bullet "explosively disintegrated into dozens of tiny fragments." That would fit the kind of bullets used by Hickey's AR-15. Mortal Error quotes Russell Fisher, a Maryland medical examiner, as telling Donahue that "the bullet that hit him [Kennedy] in the head disintegrated completely," judging from autopsy x-rays.
So which is it? Did the bullet shatter to smithereens, or did it leave enough evidence to pinpoint a path? JFK: The Smoking Gun gives both impressions, poking a dowel through two holes in a model of a skull (above), and blowing up a cantaloupe with an AR-15 bullet. Forget about threading any dowel through that melon. And forget about the Carcano bullet piercing the cantaloupe neatly. Nova's Cold Case JFK shows footage of skulls fracturing apart when struck by Carcano bullets.
Carcano bullets did break apart in tests on skulls. Kennedy's brain went missing after the autopsy, so no one knows if bullet fragments seen in x-rays from the autopsy add up to an AR-15 bullet or the lead core and other bits of a Carcano bullet. Two sizeable Carcano bullet fragments (above) were found in the presidential limo, and the Warren Commission concluded they were from the bullet that caused the head wound and that they damaged the windshield and its chrome before dropping to the floor. The missing middle section might account for the dozens of tiny fragments seen on the x-rays. And the aforementioned tests on human skulls did produce deformed pieces resembling those found in the limousine.***
There are tests and there are tests. The House Select Committee did its own experiments involving the firing of bullets into with gelatin blocks. Between the Carcano and the Remington .223, guess which bullet most accurately replicated the damage to JFK's skull.
I'm not prepared to speak to what Nova did. Its conclusions regarding the destructibility of an MC round are diametrically opposed to what lone nutters have said in the past about the strength of an MC bullet and diametrically opposed to how the bullet performed when striking Kennedy and Connally.
*** Donahue's explanation is that the first shot missed, hit pavement and ricocheted, with three fragments winding up in the limousine, including one that strikes Kennedy's head, causing him to react before he and Connelly got hit by the second bullet. Donahue examined the two found fragments, and eliminated them as coming from the third shot, because he saw no brain-tissue residue, according to Mortal Error.***
Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? What's the response to the contention that the fragments of the MC round should have brain-tissue residue if they resulted from the head shot? The author has none.
*** The entry wound's diameter isn't clear. Again, JFK: The Smoking Gun tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, it plays up how botched the autopsy was, and on the other hand, wants to use an autopsy estimate as hard evidence. Donahue decided the autopsy was four inches too low in locating the entrance wound in the back of the head, and that's plausible since it was Dr. Fisher's conclusion after viewing x-rays at the National Archives, according to Mortal Error. (The Nova special leans toward the lower location, based on skull fracture patterns.)
And yet Donahue assumes the autopsy was precise about the entry wound diameter down to one-fiftieth of an inch. Further, it's unclear if the 6 mm measurement applied to the bone itself, since it was clearly given for a "lacerated wound" "in the posterior scalp." When the report then notes "a corresponding wound through the skull," is that a declaration it was exactly the same size, or just in the same location? As Menninger notes, "Certainly, the scalp tissue may have shrunk." The wound in Kennedy's back and throat, agreed to have been from a Carcano bullet, was measured as only 4 mm wide in the autopsy report. The Warren Report said "elastic recoil of the skull" could explain the seeming discrepancy.***
Right. Donahue and Menninger are responding specifically to the Warren Commission which seems to have accepted a 6-millimeter wound to the skull. The author of the article attacks Donahue and Menninger for relying on the autopsy measurements while defending the Warren Commission for having done so.
Menninger acknowledges that the autopsy measurements might well be imprecise and can't be trusted for the reasons set forth here but he is specifically responding to lone nutter theorists who DO accept those measurements and who accept the WC's conclusion of a 6-millimeter wound to the skull.
Donahue and Menninger express skepticism that damage to the skull might elastically recoil in the same way that tissue damage might elastically recoil and Menninger cites some expert literature to the effect that this can't happen.
***Cover-ups can have many reasons. The autopsy was dubious and evidence was lost, but that doesn't make fatal friendly fire the only possible explanation. Losing the president was embarrassing enough to the Secret Service, and it's widely suspected the FBI and CIA were covering up how much they really knew about Oswald. The way the medical evidence was "rushed and bungled" allowed all sorts of conspiracy theories to arise, said New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, author of A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination.
There's a saying about quantum physics, that if you think you understand it, you probably don't.
Ditto for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas 50 years ago this month.***
The Secret Service illegally hustled JFK's corpse out of Dallas and Colin McLaren documents "skull"duggery during the performance of the autopsy.
The conspiracy theorists assume the worst and allege malfeasance on the part of the participants and a coverup of this malfeasance. But malfeasance is unlikely, given that it would have had to include Kennedy's brother, the Attorney General, and agents that were on the Presidential detail who got to know Kennedy personally and who would not have been likely to conspire against him or on behalf of a deadly conspiracy against him.
Misfeasance -- a traumatic and embarrassing accident -- would be the most likely explanation for the Secret Service's post-mortem actions that day.
Coverups can have many causes, but if there wasn't at least misfeasance on the part of the Secret Service, what other explanation could there be for the Secret Service's disposition of Kennedy's corpse?
It's really this simple. There is no hard evidence the AR-15 was even
fired that day. Donahue arrived at that OPINION by focusing on one aspect
of the evidence and not bothering to see if that opinion fit the body of
evidence as a whole. It doesn't. To believe this goofy theory one must
force fit the rest of the evidence to the theory rather than making the
theory fit the body of evidence.
I would say that of all the people who have theorized about this subject
-- of ALL of them -- Howard Donahue was the least susceptible to
confirmation bias and continues to be the least susceptible, though he
left us some time ago.

He was a registered Republican who voted for Richard Nixon in 1960 but had
no animus toward Kennedy and was from the generation that said that you
support your president, or at least the office, regardless of who you
voted for.

His inclination was to believe the Warren Report; the case against Oswald
was strong enough; he saw through the conspiracy arguments, especially
those that argued for a grassy knoll shooter, and was disdainful of the
notion that Oswald's apparent feat posed any substantial difficulty; I
believe that he was one of the gunmen that CBS used for its 1967
documentary.

He readily enough accepted an assignment to write an article supporting
the WCR until the analysis that he undertook for that purpose dissatisfied
him in considering the trajectory and the nature of Kennedy's head wound
and of the bullet that caused it.

His initial reluctant conclusion was that someone had fired from the 2nd
floor of the Dal-Tex Building until he realized that Hickey would have
been in the line of fire. Given that Hickey was armed with an AR-15,
which was entirely consistent with the weapon that would have caused
Kennedy's head wounds, that is the position at which Donahue arrived.
There was enough independent witness testimony to support it.

He'd arrived at this conclusion before reading Winston Lawson's amazing
observation. Imagine being Howard Donahue and concluding a Hickey misfire
from a carefully-considering trajectory/ballistics analysis and THEN
reading Lawson's statement. The hair must have stood on the back of his
neck.

But still, who in the world SEEKS to find that the world's supposedly
greatest murder mystery has such a prosaic and anti-climactic solution?
Who PLANS to write such an article or book? There is a payoff in
concluding that Oswald acted alone; there is a payoff coming up with one
more conspiracy-oriented scenario (you would think that the law of
diminishing returns would reduce such payoffs), but what real payoff could
there possibly be in concluding an accident on the part of the Secret
Service?

Donahue had also publicly explained how he could be proven wrong, based on
the composition and the weight of the bullet fragments found in Kennedy's
head. That is the mark of a Diogenes; to say, "This is what I've
concluded and here is how you can prove me wrong." No one else that I
know of has done that.
Post by bigdog
I'm through trying to dissuade you and claviger from your adherence to
this preposterous theory.
Stop! Stop! Of course, you're not "through" trying to do that. This
isn't your last dance. You'll do it again.
Post by bigdog
It's as pointless as trying to convince
conspiracy theorists that they are wrong. Since Menninger wrote Mortal
Error, this story has gained no more traction than David Lifton's Best
Evidence and is every bit as goofy.
Apparently, Hickey disagreed since he sued for libel. He must have
thought that the book made an impression. As far as I know, Steven King
has never sued the author who noted physical similarities between him and
Mark David Chapman and concluded that he, King, had shot John Lennon.

You don't waste your time suing the ineffectual and aggrandizing their
audience if their audience is small enough to start with; if you're suing
for libel, you are alleging that your persecutor has made an impression.

Donahue and Menninger had attempted to make contact with Hickey in advance
of publication, but instead of nipping this "crazy" story in the bud,
Hickey decided to wait until he had been "damaged" and then sued. It
would have been salutary to have had the Mortal Error scenario tested in
court before twelve jurors with (presumably) no strong preexisting
opinion, but Hickey decided instead to take the insurance company's
settlement money and retreat back into relative obscurity, rather than
clear his name.

"Goofiness" is in the eye of the beholder, but as far as traction is
concerned -- well, even alluding to what others think impinges upon the
fallacy of majority opinion, except, of course, that not even close to a
majority believe in the Warren Commission's conclusions. So you probably
don't want to go there.

But to the extent that "traction" is important, well, Donahue did pretty
well on the lecture circuit back in the day; he got Hickey's attention and
the attention of the Secret Service as an institution. He was actually
invited to Washington by the House Select Committee on Assassinations
though he never got to address the committee.

The "Mortal Error" scenario seems to have the most "traction" in this
particular forum as a counter to the WC's conclusions, for whatever that's
worth, and other authors of more recent vintage have followed up on that
scenario. That isn't bad traction. All of this taken together amounts to
pretty decent traction, I'd say.
Post by bigdog
Believe in this fairy tale if you
like. It's a free country. Nobody says your beliefs are required to make
sense or to fit the available evidence.
At some point, you need to rely upon more than ad hominems to make your
point. But, of course, you're "through" trying to convince anyone.
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