It’s time for the Granddaddy of the Them All on conspiracy theories, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are so many theories surrounding this monstrous event in American history. From the Russians to the Cubans, to the Mafia and even our own government, accusations of those involved would make your eyes glaze over. What about the grassy knoll? Was there really a magic bullet?
We’re proud veterans at Covert Concepts, and the fact the Lee Harvey Oswald was a Marine is especially hard to take. We’ll set that aside and talk about some of the more interesting facts. We’ll also avoid Hollywood’s take on the magic bullet theory and government involvement. They’re in the business of selling tickets, not documenting facts and evidence.
It was November 1963. President Kennedy was in his first term that was filled with chaos on the foreign policy side. Castro had taken power in Cuba and cozied up to the Russians. If you’ve taken any US History classes in school, you’ll probably remember that this was the time of the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK failed on the former, but stared down the Russians to come out strong on the latter.
It was time for reelection, and President Kennedy needed to see the folks. He traveled to Dallas to meet the Governor of Texas. It was a strong state for Kennedy because of Vice President Johnson. The big push through the states would come after shoring up this support.
If you’ve ever looked at Dealey Plaza on Google Maps, or just Googled it to see overhead shots, you can see the route JFK took and where Oswald’s sniper nest was. It was a straight shot, unobstructed, downward angle, on a slow moving target. Oswald was a former Marine. He knew how to handle a bolt-action rifle. He knew how to shoot it. This should end most of the conspiracy chatter right here. But, let’s move on.
The left turn into Dealey Plaza is where the most well-known conspiracy theories start. Were there shooters also on the grassy knoll to Kennedy’s right? This would’ve created a triangulated crossfire, ensuring a successful ambush. That’s if there were shooters on the grassy knoll.
Witnesses say they heard shots from that direction. Studies of the all the available media for those ninety seconds suggest the shots they heard were likely echoes from Oswald’s rifle. The sounds were almost on top of each other. This is hard strike against a popular conspiracy theory, multiple shooters. There’s more.
I know Hollywood was supposed to stay out of this, but the phrase “back, and to the left” just rattles around this part. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Kennedy’s reaction to being shot was inconsistent with the bullet’s impact. Shooters had to be in front of him to cause the “back, and to the left”, correct? Real scientists disagree.
Kennedy’s reaction was a normal one for a shot from behind with a high caliber rifle. It was a combination of the body’s shock response and the power of the shot. It wasn’t from shooters on the grassy knoll. That’s another hard strike against a conspiracy.
To finish this off, let’s talk about that magic bullet. We’re going to ignore Hollywood on this one. Yes, the bullet trajectory changes a bit due to hitting Kennedy first, then the Texas governor. It does seem strange from looking at the pictures how that could happen. The answer is pretty simple, though. If you look at the layout of the limo they were riding in, the jump seat used by the governor was further to the middle of the car, and actually sat lower than Kennedy. When taking this into account, the ballistic trajectory is pretty easy to see. It was a shot from behind the car, from a higher source. That’s the ballgame in our opinion.
It’s fun to tackle conspiracy theories. The famous ones have stuck around a long time. We try to stick to the facts. In this case, it’s easy to conclude that Oswald was the lone shooter.