Editorial by John Ziegler

How Lee Harvey Oswald REALLY Killed JFK

11/17/2003

How Lee Harvey Oswald REALLY Killed J.F.K.

It has been forty years now since the first gigantic news event of the television age, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Over a generation later, well over half of the American people still believe that JFK was killed by a massive conspiracy that was covered by the government. While at one time I was wholeheartedly in agreement with the majority, I now believe strongly that Lee Harvey Oswald essentially acted alone.

The Warren Commission got it "right" by accident. They got the right man (only because they desperately wanted/needed Oswald to be guilty), but when it came to how it happened I believe they were way off base.

Here is a short outline of what the Warren Commission thought happened on November 22, 1963 and what I, after extensive thought/research and a dramatic evolution of belief (I used to believe strongly that Oswald was a patsy), think really transpired on that fateful Dallas day.

Warren Commission findings:

-- Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy by himself (essentially true).

-- Oswald fired three shots from the 6th floor of the School Book Depository Building where three shell casings matching Oswald's rifle where found (true).

-- Oswald's first shot misses limousine completely, hits pavement, shatters, and grazes a witness across the road (didn't happen).

-- Second shot hits Kennedy in the back, goes through his throat/neck, hits John Connally in the back, ribs, wrist, and lodges in his leg, later to be found in 'pristine' condition and be called the 'magic' bullet (didn't happen).

-- Third shot hits Kennedy in the head, blows out his skull, and kills the President (true).

Here is what I think REALLY happened:

Oswald acted alone, probably inadvertently urged on by wannabe revolutionaries David Ferrie, Guy Bannister and perhaps Clay Shaw (the major characters in Oliver Stone's otherwise totally wrong "J.F.K" movie).

The First shot was fired slightly earlier than the Warren Commission concluded (the entire shooting took closer to 7 seconds rather 6 seconds; a little girl chasing the limo just feet from the President in the Zapruder film suddenly stops on a dime and looks up to towards the 6th floor of the depository building just before the Commission claimed the first shot took place) and was described by the secret service agents and others as sounding like a "backfire." The shot, likely with old/bad ammunition, lodged only a couple of inches into JFK's back and elicited a slightly delayed reaction from the President.

This shot would not have killed JFK and the misconstruing of his reaction to it is the key to many experts false conclusions about the nature of the shooting. Contrary to popular belief, JFK never even comes CLOSE to grabbing his throat (because a bullet never passed through there), but rather clinches his fists with his elbows out, which is consistent with a nearly involuntary neuromuscular reaction caused by the bullet lodged in his back.

This first bullet would later fall out of JFK's back at the hospital (a Parkland doctor reported sticking his finger in the back wound and feeling the end of it, but no bullet) later to be found on his stretcher and be misidentified as the pristine "magic bullet" which had supposedly fallen out of Connally. This confusion occurred because, in the chaos at the hospital, no one kept track of which stretcher was JFK's and which was Connally's. Therefore, there is literally a 50/50 chance that the stretchers were identified incorrectly.

A key fact that supports this theory is that John Connally went to his death POSITIVE that he saw JFK reacting to being hit by the first shot (saying nothing about his throat wound or him grabbing his throat) before he was hit. To this day his wife strongly agrees with that assessment.

The Warren Commission chose to ignore this vital bit of information because Arlen Specter (then working as a Warren Commission lawyer and now a U.S. Senator) could not make the timing of three shots work to insure that Oswald was the only shooter (which was clearly everyone's goal from the start of the investigation) unless both Kennedy and Connally where hit by the same bullet.

The commission bizarrely tried to claim that the first shot completely missed, hit a curb, and then grazed a bystander. The only "evidence" of this was that someone far away from the scene across the street from the limo had a small cut on their cheek. Seriously? There are a hundred other scenarios in such a chaotic scene which could have cause this "injury," and the first shot miss simply makes no sense when seen within context of the rest of the evidence.

I believe the second shot missed JFK completely and created all of the many wounds in Connally likely getting largely "lost" through Connally's damaged bones and body with the remnants never being found (which is not unusual in normal crime scenes).

The third shot hit JFK in the head and blew out the contents of his skull forcing his head to go in what appears to be an odd direction when being hit by a shot from the angle from which Oswald would have been shooting. However, there is other evidence to support this theory. There is a very clear photo from in front of the limo that shows both Kennedy and Connally reacting to being hit by the first two shots (again, no throat wound in JFK). In that photo there is NO crack in the front windshield of the limo. AFTER the assassination there IS a clear crack in the windshield on the driver's side of the limo (keeping a direct line from Oswald's sniper nest) and there were two bullet fragments found in the front of the Limo.

The lack of a throat wound is the key to this whole theory and why is that there has been so much confusion leading to false conclusions. A series of coincidences contributed to this phenomenon. First, JFK appears to grab his throat but does not. Secondly, JKF did have a very small hole in his throat when he got to the hospital. The hole was MUCH too small to be an exit wound from a gunshot from behind and did not line up with the initial reports of the hole in JFK's back. Thirdly, because of the convenient placement of the small hole the doctors at Parkland opened it up to use as a tracheotomy in an effort to save JFK's life, thus destroying much of its evidentiary value.

It is important to note here that JFK did have very small holes in his shirt and tie right at the throat. However, there were NO traces of metal found in any of those holes. So where did the holes come from? Quite possibly they came from a bone fragment that was splintered when the third shot shattered JFK's skull.

Of course, if true, all this theory of the case proves is that SOMEONE acted alone in firing three shots to kill JFK and that, theoretically it could have been someone other than Oswald. However, Oswald was the only bookstore employee who did not show up for role call after the shooting and he was seen coming into work that day with a package consistent with his dismantled rifle which he had clearly purchased and that was found on the 6th floor with shell casings matching the rifle.

Oswald was seen after the shooting on a different floor than where the shooting took place, but he had PLENTY of time to get there before anyone realized what had happened. Also, Oswald's behavior the day of the shooting (before and after) is perfectly consistent with him being the shooter and there is not one shred of evidence identifying anyone else. As for Jack Ruby's shooting of Oswald, the known evidence seems far more consistent with an impulsive act of attempted heroism, then of being part of some grand conspiracy.

I am still mystified as to why Oswald never took credit for the assassination. Obviously we will never know why that was the case. However, I believe that the theory as to HOW he did it outlined here is the only one proposed that does not conflict with any of the known evidence in the case. This theory has been run by the author of the preeminent work of assassination research, Gerald Posner (his book 'Case Closed' changed my mind about the assassination), and he could find no apparent holes in it.

So why do so many people still believe that JFK was killed by a government conspiracy? I think this is because they WANT to believe that such dastardly act could not have been pulled off so easily by a lone loser like Oswald. Also, for fans of Kennedy his mystique is magnified by the "mystery" surrounding his death as well as the prospect that he was so dangerous to the establishment that he had to be snuffed out by the highest powers. Admittedly, this is an intoxicating premise for those prone to being taken in. However, as is so often the case, the reality and the mythology of the Kennedy assassination appear to have very little in common.

Ironically, forty hours after the assassination the vast majority of Americans accepted the basic truth of what happened on the day that changed this country forever. Forty years later they do not. Forty years from now I shudder to think just how off the public perception of that event will be, but if I am still around I will be trying to set as many people straight as possible.

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