November 22, 1963,12:30 pm remains an important day in the history of the United States. It is a day that would witness the demise of an American president whose life gets cut short by an assassin’s bullet. A bullet that would to as much controversy as the death itself. A controversy pitting those who believe that the death was as result of a lone gunman (lone gun man theorists) and those who see it as a consequence of a makeshift of conspiracy and cover up (conspiracy theorists). To establish the truth, it becomes necessary to revisit the events of that day.
Although the conspiracy theory proponents and witnesses may sound convincing, the presence of credible witnesses and evidences against it flatly waters down these arguments. Howard Brenan is one such eyewitness who admitted to seeing Oswald on one of the upper floors of the Texas School Book depository. He was standing at the turn of the Houston Street keenly watching as the Presidential motorcade passed by leisurely. From his angle, he had a clear unblocked view of the depository building from where coincidentally Oswald was shooting.
As he told the investigations later, he happened, on a window on the sixth floor of the alleged shooting, see a man moving to and fro the window a number of times. According to him, he heard an explosion immediately after the Presidential motorcade had taken the bend towards Elm, after it had gone past the dreadful depository. Upon taking a quick look towards the wind, he caught a glimpse of Oswald as he took aim to fire his very last shot. He said that he was positive it was Oswald as he had seen him clearly from the window.
It is his report to the police immediately after the shootings that led to the arrest of the lone gunman, he later identified him on the television later and later on a lineup. His testimony is reliable due to his closeness to the scene of the shooting and his vantage point. Emett Joseph Hudson was standing on the Northern side of the Elm Street and was at a strategic point where he could have a vantage view of both the President and the gunman. He was standing with two men who however did not testify, he said he only heard some three shots but however had enough reasons to believe that the shots came for the depository direction.
He was very positive that no other shot was fired form any other direction apart from the depository. Marily Sitzman is another witness who also confirms and reinforces the arguments that a lone gunman killed John F. Kennedy. She was standing on a concert pillar of the retaining wall on the grassy knoll on the north side of Elm St. , a feet away from the JFK when he was hit in the head by the last shot . she was also closer to the area were people have said a second gunman fired from behind the fence. She was helping to steady her boss as he filmed the president.
Also the term `video recording` is incorrect Zapruder used a 8mm film camera. From this position of their office, the Presidential motorcade was passing right in front of them and they were able to film as the bullet hit the President. Sitzman is uptight and maintains that the three shots came from the same gunman and if there was another shot, she could have heard it louder as she was closer to the said second gunman. She remains positive that the shots were fired from the depository and not from any other direction.
The above three witnesses are convinced and are clear on this. The conspiracy theorists claim there were more than one gunman and that the shots were fired from both the schoolbook depository building and the much-touted grassy knoll. Despite this view so much points towards the lone gun man theory. The witnesses’ claims of the lone gunman were validated by the team of independent and competent investigators. The findings of the investigations have it that Oswald did it and did so unaided (Larry M. S. , 2005).
More evidence that the shots were fired from the sixth floor window lies on the confirmation of Oswald’s workmates. Bonnie Ray Williams, Harlord Norman, and Junior Jarman were in the same schoolbook depository in the fifth floor and only heard three shots being fired from above. They further claimed that they could also hear as the shells’ thud on the floor as they watched the presidential motorcade passed through. John Conally, a US governor, and his wife was too in the same limousine as the President and was too indeed hurt.
Conally and this wife together with other two secret service agent admitted and confirmed the other witnesses reports that the shots were fired form the School Book depository. Of all the 105 witnesses interviewed and who gave their testimonies, 99 confirmed the lone gunman report, while only five were differing. This large number of both primary and secondary witnesses is a confirmation that indeed the long gunman theory is more than plausible. Controversy however still rages on as to the total number of shots that were fired that day.
The number ranges from one to seven however; most agree that there were three shots. Most of the witnesses that testified and ballistic experts confirm this. Although a look at the events leading to the suspicion of Oswald also tend to confirm this. President J. F Kennedy had numerous wounds as a result of the attack. He had a fatal one on his head and throat, Conally too had a number of wounds ranging from his back, wrists and thigh. Another man standing by innocently was also injured in the melee, non-fatally through. Ballistic experts got to work immediately after the shoot out.
Expert’s analysis of the nature of the shot indicates that JFK was shot from behind and the bullet exited to the front (Thomas Lang, 2003). The much-touted Zapruder film indicates a spray of blood on the Kennedy’s front side of the head, but no blood is seen exiting on the back. The impact of the bullet resulted to the head moving forward rather than towards the back as would have been the case if the shot were coming from the grassy knoll. According to the ballistic experts there is no way there could have been more that one gunman.
In reaching this conclusion, they examined the bullet fragments that were retrieved from the crime scene. The investigators collected two bullet splinters where the President was sitting while another one was to be collected later on the stretcher in the hospital. These fragments, there is credible and sufficient evidence, too indicate that they came from the same rifle. In a bid to further refute the conspiracy claims and the more than one gunman claims, the investigators did a thorough comb of the area and were not able to come across any additional fragments.
If the three bullets were form the same rifle, it means a single man fired them. This was confirmed and strengthened by the discovery of a rifle hidden in the depository. Howard Brenen and Emett Joseph Hudson said they had seen the gunman on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book depository, most of the witnesses claim that the shot was fired form the depository. It is not a coincidence that the police also found the weapon on the sixth floor of the depository, the exact location where Howard had admitted seeing a man fire his weapon.
The bag that had been used to conceal the weapon upon entry of the gunman into the depository was recovered from the window, while the rifle was unearthed carelessly hidden behind some cartons in the same floor. This, many are convinced, is not a coincidence, but rather is a strong indicator that, as most witnesses and experts claim, the shots were fired by Oswald, unaided and it is these shots alone that lead to the death of the American President and wounding of John Conally. No matter what the conspiracy theorists claim, this cannot be refuted (Gerald P. , 1993).
One may be tempted to say that the more-than-one-gunman theory and the conspiracy claims can hold some water. This can be forgiven, as sometimes the arguments they lay on the table are too compelling, but however at a close analysis of the events and evidences, it reveals that these claims are unfounded and are just primarily meant to cause panic and further complicate an already complex situation. Those purporting to support the more than one gunman claim say that a second gunman was shooting for the grassy knoll and that one bullet hit the President while others hit the vehicle.
However, the expert’s reports strongly refute this. They made this conclusion after analyzing how the bullet hit JFK’s head. Autopsy reports indicate that only the right hand side of the President’s skull sustained injury that lead to his demise. The right side of his brain had been blown off and the left side of the brain was rather clean with no evidence of any fragments. This proves that the opponents of the lone gunman claims are erroneous. A look also at the grassy knoll is not convincing enough that a second gunman could have been shooting from such a location.
It is rather exposed and any one shooting from there could have been easily spotted by the railway man from the parking side. Assuming there was second gunman that was shooting at the motorcade and who actually hit the President on the head, then it is only prudent that the President would have sustained injuries on the left hand side as an assailant from the grassy knoll would only have managed to hit the President on the left hand side of the brain. These claims also do not stand as only three spent cartridges and fragments were retrieved from the scene.
If indeed there were more than three shots fired and from different direction, where then were the fragments for all those said bullets the theorists and the purported witnesses said were flying all over? They were nowhere to be found. There was no time lapse as the police went into action immediately and hence there is no way the evidence and the crime scene could have been tampered with (Thomas M, 2007). The Zapruder film has a strong backing for the lone gunman theory and stand, it was able to capture the events in their real time, in a way that remains vivid up to date.
In the film, the bullet that hit the President, where it hit him and the splashing of the blood has been captured and what can be discerned from a close analysis. There is no way there could have been a bullet that came from the opposite direction of the sixth floor depository, had it come from the glassy knoll as Marilyn Sitzman, who was helping in the filming, said, she could have heard the impact louder than it was in this particular case. No matter what the lone gunman theory may say, the physical evidence against their case if compelling, it all tends to point towards Lee Harvey Oswald (Vincent B. , 2007).
The conspiracy theorists have just but been reading mischief, cover up and blatant lying from the authority in its bid to conceal the hard facts and cover their heels. This is just but a figment of their own fertile imaginations. The so called hard evidence against the lone gunman theory just don’t add up, and so are the insinuations that President JF Kennedy was as a result of a conspiracy against him by his very deputy, Lyndon Johnson, so that he could ascend to power. It totally makes sense.
Eliminate the President and being the second in command, ascend into the presidency as the constitution states. But no matter how much it might seem rational, there are no hard facts to back it up. It is a fact that Lyndon and Kennedy were not enjoying the best of the relationship and there were rumors that the President was considering dropping Lyndon Johnson due to his numerous scandals and other damaging allegations against him. This maybe was enough ground for him to conspire against killing him, but there just are no hard evidences to connect Lyndon to JFK’s assassination.
There are also those that claim that Oswald was fictitious and was just appropriately coined by the politicians. This is not true and investigations revealed this. It has never also crossed their mind how elaborate such a conspiracy would be. To pull such a conspiracy would require collaboration between the witnesses, the government, the police, the FBI and the private investigator. How all those people are expected to remain mum on the issue and cover their tracks beats any known logic.
The two witnesses at the scene positively identified Oswald; other witnesses earlier in the day corroborated these claims and further said that he was seen carrying the polythene bag concealing the weapon of the assassination. Howard Brenan positively identified Oswald as the man he had seen up on the window of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book depository, further police investigations confirmed that Oswald worked in the depository and knew his way around.
With such hard evidences placed against the opponents of the lone gunman theory, it is not understandable how they can even purport to claim that there was a conspiracy to eliminate the President or front the argument that there was more than one gunman shooting at the motorcade. The evidence against them is just too overwhelming and definitely more plausible.
Gerald Posner, 1993. Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the assassination of JFK. Random House Inc Thomas Lang, December 2003. The American prospect, Vol 14. Grassy Knoll Chapter 847.