Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Resources for Understanding the Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Websites, Books, and Documentaries #JFK, #JFKassassination

Do a search at on "JFK Assassination" and a flood of conspiracy titles quickly unravel down your video screen.

Many books have been written about the JFK murder, and probably 90% of them advance conspiracy theories, many of which are completely absurd.  JFK assassination literature is similar to tabloids sold in the grocery store:  reasonable and responsible stories don't sell.  "Elvis dating Bigfoot on a UFO" sells.  "Oswald Killed Kennedy and Acted Alone" doesn't.  Not sexy.  Not exciting.  Reality is just so boring.

Nevertheless, the responsible literature on the JFK assassination all come to the same conclusion:  Oswald did kill Kennedy, and he did indeed act alone.  Below I list the best of these resources.  Commentary descriptions are taken from Amazon.

1.  The JFK/Kennedy Assassination Homepage, by Professor John McAdams.  This is without a doubt the best online resource for responsible study of the assassination.  It contains photos, texts, illustrations and links, and refutes every major conspiracy theory.

2.  JFK Facts. making sense of JFK's assassination after 50 years. This website contains a mix of both pro and anti conspiracy authors.

3.  The National Archives, Warren Commission Records and Report.  

4.  The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

5.  Live EarthCam at Dealey Plaza.  See a live video cam of Oswald's view from the Sniper's Lair.  This is a live video of Elm Street as viewed from the Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository.  Does this look like a difficult shot to you?

6.  Oswald Is Guilty Holds the position that Oswald was solely guilty of the murder of John F. Kennedy, and gives a point by point argument to that effect.

7.  The Assassination of John F. Kennedy:  A Lone-Gunman Viewpoint.  Many articles, photos and links related to the assassination, from an anti-conspiracy writer.

8.  DVP's JFK Archives.  A collection of articles, photos, videos and Warren Commission documents about the assassination.

1.  Four Days In November:  The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi.
Amazon Description:
Four Days in November is an extraordinarily exciting, precise, and definitive narrative of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald. It is drawn from Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a huge and historic account of the event and all the conspiracy theories it spawned, by Vincent Bugliosi, famed prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter. For general readers, the carefully documented account presented in Four Days is utterly persuasive: Oswald did it and he acted alone.
2.  Reclaiming History:  The Asssassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi.  This is a more comprehensive account from which "Four Days In November" was derived.
Amazon Description:
There have been hundreds of books about the assassination, but there has never been a book that covers the entire case, including addressing every piece of evidence and each and every conspiracy theory, and the facts, or alleged facts, on which they are based. In this monumental work, the author has raised scholarship on the assassination to a new and final level, one that far surpasses all other books on the subject. It adds resonance, depth, and closure to the admirable work of the Warren Commission.
Reclaiming History is a narrative compendium of fact, forensic evidence, reexamination of key witnesses, and common sense. Every detail and nuance is accounted for, every conspiracy theory revealed as a fraud on the American public. Bugliosi's irresistible logic, command of the evidence, and ability to draw startling inferences shed fresh light on this American nightmare. At last it all makes sense. 32 pages of illustrations.
3.  Case Closed, by Gerald Posner.  This is the first really good refutation of the conspiracy theorists.  It was released in 1993.
Amazon Description:
The assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, continues to inspire interest ranging from well-meaning speculation to bizarre conspiracy theories and controversial filmmaking. But in this landmark book, reissued with a new afterword for the 40th anniversary of the assassination, Gerald Posner examines all of the available evidence and reaches the only possible conclusion: Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. There was no second gunman on the grassy knoll. The CIA was not involved. And although more than four million pages of documents have been released since Posner first made his case, they have served only to corroborate his findings. Case Closed remains the classic account against which all books about JFK’s death must be measured.
4.  A Conspiracy of One, by Jim Moore.  This is one of the very first rebuttals of the conspiracy theorists (and the first one I read).  It is not as comprehensive as the first three books listed, but is worth the read.  Moore was a researcher who was determined to root out the conspiracy and discover the true perpetrators.  However, the more he learned, the more he came to the conclusion that Oswald did it and acted alone.

Documentaries:  There are many documentaries, including some that are absurd, which seems to be a trait of conspiracy theorists.  Here are the best that I have seen:

1.  Beyond Conspiracy, History Channel. Uses 3D graphic models, including a digital reconstruction of Dealey Plaza and the JFK limousine.  

2.  Beyond the Magic Bullet, History Channel.  Reconstructs the shooting of Kennedy using the same height and angle of Oswald in the Sniper's Lair.  Uses a rifle identical to that used by Lee Harvey Oswald, as well as bullets from the same batch that he fired at Kennedy, as well as gelatin and animal tissue to simulate a human body.  Shows how Oswald's shots traveled and tumbled, and how they made the wounds on Kennedy and Connally.  

3.  CBS Test of the Mannlicher Carcano Rifle, 1967.  CBS had 11 shooters test the Oswald rifle (using identical rifles, not the original) by shooting at a moving target at the same distances that JFK was from Oswald.  Here's a description of that test from Wikipedia:
CBS conducted a firing test in 1967 at the H. P. White Ballistics Laboratory located in Street, Maryland. For the test 11 marksmen from diverse backgrounds were invited to participate: 3 Maryland State Troopers, 1 weapons engineer, 1 sporting goods dealer, 1 sportsman, 1 ballistics technician, 1 ex-paratrooper, and 3 H. P. White employees. CBS provided several Carcano rifles for the test. Oswald's rifle was not used in this test. The targets were color-coded orange for head/shoulder silhouette and blue for a near miss. The results of the CBS test were as follows: 7 of 11 shooters were able to fire three rounds under 5.6 seconds (64%). Of those 7 shooters, 6 hit the orange target once (86%), and 5 hit the orange target twice (71%). Out of 60 rounds fired, 25 hit the orange (42%), 21 hit the blue portion of the target (35%), and there were 14 misses on the target (23%).
One volunteer was unable to operate his rifle effectively so the following statistics are based on the 10 remaining shooters. The average time of all 10 was 5.64 seconds. The mode was 5.55 seconds and the mean was 5.70 seconds. The average for the top five shooters was 5.12 seconds, and for the bottom five shooters 6.16 seconds. There was a high occurrence of jamming during the test. On average the rifles jammed after 6 rounds. The most rounds fired without jamming were 14, 11, 10 in a row. The least was 0 (back to back).
The first shooter to lead off the experiment was Al Sherman, Maryland State Trooper. The record of his effort: 5.0 sec: 2 orange, 1 blue / 6.0 sec: 2 orange, 1 blue / NT (jam at 3rd cartridge)/ 5.2 sec: 1 orange, 2 low / 5.0 sec: 1 orange, 2 blue. Sherman was able to fire 8 rounds before his rifle jammed. Of all shooters, the fastest times were: 4.1 sec, 4.3 sec, 4.9 sec, 5.0 sec. The best accuracy was 3 orange in 5.2 seconds. The rifles were oiled and allowed to cool down between shooters. CBS reporter Dan Rather attended this experiment.
During the investigation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1976–1978), the lead attorneys for the Committee, Robert Blakey and Gary Cornwell, were allowed to use WC-139 at an FBI firing range. The attorneys wanted to see how fast the bolt action could be operated. Blakey was able to fire two rounds in 1.5 seconds and Cornwell fired two rounds in 1.2 seconds. This was an experiment to test a possible theory that Oswald in his excitement may have pointed and fired, as opposed to aimed and fired. Some critics of the Warren Commission had claimed it was impossible to fire a Carcano rifle in less than 2.3 seconds. Both the CBS and HSCA tests proved conclusively this claim is not accurate.[67]
4.  JFK Assassination:  Father & Son Probe the Single Bullet Theory - Another video proving once again that the second bullet (the so called "Magic Bullet") did indeed strike both Kennedy and Connally.  Shows how the bullet "yawed" (began tumbling end over end) after exiting Kennedy's throat, hitting Connally at an oblique angle.  [The bullet did not disintegrate like the third bullet in the fatal head shot, because its velocity was slowed by the soft tissue of Kennedy's neck.]

Essays and Articles 

1. Killing Conspiracy by Fred Kaplan of Slate.  Kaplan describes his disillusionment with the conspiracy theorists when he realized how badly they were distorting the facts.  He rebuts the Grassy Knoll head shot theory and the "Magic Bullet" theory.  All of this is old news, but he adds to the discussion by describing the factors that motivate conspiracy theories:
The Appeal of Conspiracies - Conspiracy theories thrive—about every big event in history—for several reasons. First, there’s a natural human instinct to fantasize about the hidden. As my Slate colleague Ron Rosenbaum (who’s plumbed these depths as immersively as anyone) put it in his brilliant collection, The Secret Parts of Fortune, “The search for the hidden hand, the hidden springs, the hidden handshake behind history attracts a certain kind of glory seeker, Ancient Mariner, mad scholar, Wandering Jew.”Second, there is comfort in this search for unseen mainsprings. If horrible events can be traced to a cabal of evildoers who control the world from behind a vast curtain, that’s, in one sense, less scary than the idea that some horrible things happen at random or as a result of a lone nebbish, a nobody. The existence of a secret cabal means that there’s some sort of order in the world; a catastrophic fluke suggests there’s a vast crevice of chaos, the essence of dread.
As the old adage has it, “Big doors sometimes swing on little hinges.” John F. Kennedy’s murder was a big door—had he lived, the subsequent decades might have looked very different—and Lee Harvey Oswald was a preposterously small hinge. The dissonance is wildly disorienting. It makes for a neater fit, a more intelligible universe, to believe that a consequential figure like John Kennedy was taken down by an equally consequential entity, like the CIA, the Mafia, the Soviets, Castro … take your pick.
2.  JFK - Casualty of the Cold War, by James Piereson.  This article describes how the left tried to tie the assassination to "right wing extremism."  However, the author provides plenty of facts that prove a communist murdered JFK, possibly because the assassin felt he was protecting the life of Fidel Castro.  [I personally do not believe political motivations were Oswald's primary motive.  I believe he simply wanted to be noticed, to be famous, to show off for his estranged wife, and to express his hatred for America.]

I may add to these lists as additional resources become known. 


Stogie said...

Item 1 on your list of webpages is excellent! I've now linked that page in my post for Friday, November 22.

I was only 11 years old that day in 1963. Nevertheless, my memories of that day remain vivid.

Stogie said...

AOW, yes, I really like the JFK page, it is a treasure of information.

Franklin Griffin said...

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and consider this story for the news. Endorsements, President George H.W. Bush,
Dr. Howard, Jones professor at the University of Alabama, George Wallace,and country
legend George Jones. Please visit my website for the full story.
2nd edition Hardback was published 2/25/2013, and the 2nd. edition paper back was published 11/29/2012.
You can order through my website, or through my publisher Governor John Malcom Patterson of Alabama
wrote the foreword . I was in Dallas when Lee Harvey Oswald murdered officer J.DTippit,and witnessed
Lee Harvey leaving the Murder sene.

Thank you
Frank Griffin