How Did The Commission Come To This Conclusion?
When one thinks of the WC they think of It's very well known, key members; Earl Warren (for where it gains It's name the 'Warren' Commission), Richard Russell Jr., John Sherman Cooper, Hale Boggs, Future President Gerald Ford, Allen Welsh and John J. McCloy. Little do they remember the other key figures such as J. Lee Rankin for example, Howard Willens even and of course Arlen Specter for which the Single Bullet Theory is most probably his brainchild.
Now before continuing it has to be said, as far as I'm able to tell, and perhaps I'm being slightly biased here, but as far as I'm able to tell the original goal of the warren commission was in fact not to wholly find the facts of the case. As far as I can tell the commission had one primary goal in mind and that was to show how Oswald could've pulled off the assassination in the first place - Oswald at the time of the commission being set up was already dead after being murdered by Jack Ruby on the 24th of November, 2 days after JFK and without any real evidence it was widely accepted that he was responsible for the assassination.
(Main Warren Commission members)
It certainly doesn't take a genius to tell this plan is obviously flawed. You can't just look to try and prove how someone could've done something when in reality you aren't even sure he's responsible in the first place.. Especially when it involves something as important as the murder of the President. After all, what if others are involved? They're going to be completely ignored and they're about to get away with literally the crime of the century.
This was not all. The Commission, and it was surprisingly open about this fact from what I'm able to find, set about a goal of dispelling rumours whenever possible, something Edward Jay Epstein heavily criticized them for particularly a short while after the commission report was made public. In fact he concluded upon hearing of this, and particularly of hearing from Gerald Ford that dispelling rumours "was a major concern of the commission", and this is a direct quote from the book 'Headshot' by G. Paul Chambers which I have with me right now:
"There was thus a duality of purpose. If the explicit purpose of the commission was to ascertain and expose the facts, the implicit purpose was to protect the national interest by dispelling rumours. These two purposes were compatible so long as the damaging rumours were untrue. In a conflict... one of the commission’s purposes would emerge as dominant." Source: Headshot: The science behind the JFK assassination: Page 32, line 10 - 15.
So the commission seemingly made it a goal to dispel what it deemed rumours whenever possible. That can mean anything though. Such as the possibility of a second shooter from the knoll perhaps, or even a second man in the window of the 6th floor snipers nest which was seen by witnesses such as Mrs. Eric Walther or Arnold Rowland for example.
Now, as I said before, when we think of the Warren Commission we only really think of its key members highlighted above. Little do people focus on the junior staff who were employed to take on the bulk of the work. The Junior Council consisted of people like Melvin A. Eisenberg, Arlen Specter, Samuel Stern, Burt W. Griffen, David Belin, W. David Slawson and Wesley J. Liebeler for example. As there was so much work to be done the investigation duties were split into different sections (Such as establishing Lee Harvey Oswald's background and Possible motives to a separate section establishing the basic facts of the case such as the sequence of shots).
Well, Arlen Specter was one of those assigned to the role of establishing key facts of the case and determining the most plausible shooting sequence given the available evidence. Assigned alongside him was attorney Francis W. H. Adams who ultimately was a "no-show" for the most part leaving the work to Specter alone. Due to Adams being, for the most part, absent one of the most vital areas of the entire Warren Commission was left up to one single man - Arlen Spector. He alone it would seem was responsible for providing us with the basic facts of the case, such as the sequence of shots for which we have the Single Bullet Theory. Again, quite an obvious flaw with-in the Commissions investigations.
Upon when the time came for live testing of the theory, at which point I believe the theory was barely more than a mere idea still, It was around mid-March of 1964. This was due to the on-going Jack Ruby trial which was taking place at this time. Ruby's legal rights weren't to be "compromised" thus the commission waited out it's investigation duties until the trial was to end on the 14th of March, 1964. As the commission was on a deadline they were now racing the clock making thing's even harder than they already were.
A problem also arose with the current investigations as it was still commonly believed Connolly was struck with a separate bullet to JFK, which was the conclusion of a previous FBI investigation, but upon anlysis of the the famous Zapruder film, which can be seen below, it was found that it was running at 18.3 frames per second. This is important as the very latest that Oswald, or the 6th floor shooter, would've got off the shot was at Zapruder frame 224/225 as we can see JFK quite clearly reacting to a shot, and the earliest show could've been at frame 207 as the shooter’s view from frame 166 and 207 was blocked by a large Oak tree outside the Texas schoolbook depository. But another problem arose....
It was also shown and proven that Governor Connolly, situated directly in front of Kennedy and according to the earliest FBI sources was struck with a different bullet to the 2 which was known to have struck Kennedy in the back and head, that he was struck no later than Zapruder frame 243 at an absolute maximum as he can be observed moving in such a way which would make a shot from the TSDB matching his known wounds impossible beyond this point.
Live fire testing also proved that a shooter using a Mannlicher Carcano bolt rifle could not have fired any faster than approximately 2.3 seconds (Expert times – Oswald was certainly no expert) and there is now an impossible timeline for the shooter to match. As the assumption was that Oswald was the single shooter it was seemingly here than the idea of a single bullet causing the damage to both men became that little bit more than a theory - the only possible theory for one shooter which is all the commission had to work with as only 3 gun shells were found in the snipers nest. More shots would mean a shot from another gun which would mean another shooter which would mean a conspiracy had taken place and that was simply out of the question.
The goal of the commission was to dispel rumours, have one voice explaining away all the uncertainties and calm down those who feared a larger plot was taking place.. such as a Cuban or Soviet plot which many feared for example.
It's also worth pointing out again that it was seemingly accepted at first that 3 shots were fired but 2 of them struck JFK (back and head) while the other struck Governor Connelly in the back and created the damage to his wrist and thigh. But with the very public emergence of James Tague, the other injured man in Dealey Plaza, it became very clear, to the commission, that at least 1 shot missed the presidential limousine altogether, instead striking a pavement near the overpass where Mr. Tague was stood. But as there were wounds to Kennedy and also Connolly and 2 of the injuries are already accounted for we’re left with a single bullet and a time limit which doesn’t allow for a second shot from the same rifle thus the only conclusion can be, assuming there is one shooter, is that this one bullet caused all the damage seen to both men.
Red marker: Probably location of the first shot from the TSDB.
Blue Marker: Location of James Tague
Anyway, despite many criticisms, even from high ranking members of the warren commission, and even from President Johnson himself, it's the accepted theory on what really happened to JFK and Governor Connolly in November of 1963, and how it happened exactly, and It's the theory that researchers are left to either debunk or defend. In posting this thread I’m here to ask the members of ATS what their opinion is on this quite fascinating theory.
Thanks and here's my own personal look at the series of wounds sustained and my opinion on whether the Commission was correct in their conclusions.
The Back Wound____________________________________
This part of the case, determining where the back wound of JFK was situated, is key to this theory. If it's too low or even too high, then it and it alone could debunk the single bullet theory as the theory goes onto state that this bullet passed through Kennedy's throat and then went onto further strike Connolly sat directly in front.
It's also very important to find the exact location so we can prove that the shot either hit the neck or struck the back – a key factor. And then from there the neck wound can be discussed. So first off we should establish exactly where this wound struck but that in itself can be difficult..
The Warren Commission claim it struck at the "base of the neck" such as seen in Exhibit 385, going onto exit through the throat just below the Adams apple:
Another drawing produces this result which is once again showing a strike to the neck and then throat:
The WC place the wound nearer the neck line while the HSCA investigation, a investigation head by Jim Garrison in the late 70's, about 2 inches lower than this. They also believe the SBT was in fact correct, but to make it work they position the victim in a completely illogical position as seen here:
This is flat-out wrong. Here's frame 226 of the Zapruder film, we can see Kennedy is quite clearly not in the position shown by the HSCA and there's no indication he was ever in this position behind the Stemmons freeway sign also:
Of course It's not the clearest image to see but it's still quite obvious to make out, at a point where JFK had just been struck he is not in the position the HSCA show him in.
Is the commission correct though, was JFK struck at the base of the neck? Hmm, maybe. But I think we have to consider the other possibility - he was struck much lower down as highlighted in his own autopsy report:
Of course some claim this report was wrote up too quickly and the drawing is not to scale, but his own deth certificate seems to suggest he was struck in around the same area. In fact It even goes into a bit more detail into the exact location. Here it is for further reading:
In the official death certificate the placement of the wound also lays around the area of Kennedy's third thoracic vertebra which to be exact would be around this area:
Upon looking at JFK's shirt we seem to once again find a mark at around this area, not around the neckline:
If all of this is true though, and Kennedy really was struck in the back as opposed to the neck - as the wound to the throat was just below the Adams apple and the shot came from a higher trajectory making the wound to the back of the president automatically higher than the throat wound - then this point could debunk this entire theory. It also would appear that multiple sources pointed towards the third thoracic vertebrae below the shoulder line.