BY George Cassidy Payne |
Despite the mind numbing deluge of disinformation, the endless red herrings let loose in movies, articles, documentaries, TV specials, books, and internet blogs, a six decade long campaign of witness intimidation, distortion of testimony, and corruption of evidence, the public need not feel paralyzed by the legacy of the JFK assassination.
Our reason to hope all comes down to a series of incontrovertible facts discovered by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
- “The Zapruder film established a maximum time frame for the shooting of 5.6 seconds. In such a short span of time a lone assassin could have fired only three bullets. Since the government had already concluded that one bullet missed completely (with a fragment striking onlooker James Teague in the cheek) and a second bullet hit the President in the head and shattered his skull, that left a third “magic” bullet (Commission exhibit 399) to account for the remaining seven wounds in Kennedy and Connally.”
- There was a discovery of a fourth bullet. Tucked away in a footnote on page 286, Garrison asserted, “Years later two other important discoveries concerning the autopsy were made. The first was that during the autopsy Commander Humes apparently found an additional bullet that he never acknowledged in his report. On the contrary, he told the Commission he did not find any bullets…The discovery of a fourth bullet during the autopsy necessarily meant that more than one shooter hit the President. The second discovery came in 1972, when Cyril Wecht, an eminent pathologist and the coroner of Pittsburgh, Penn, obtained a court order allowing him to examine President Kennedy’s brain at the National Archives. An examination of the brain, which had been preserved in formalin, might have revealed from what direction, how many times, and what bullets had struck the president’s head. Unfortunately, Dr. Wecht could not perform such an examination. The President’s brain, it was explained to him, had disappeared.”
In 2017, a crucially important story emerged out of the State of Washington. According to Seattle’s Crosscut, “Former University of Washington physician and professor Dr. Donald Miller Jr. says that the late Malcolm Perry, the Dallas surgeon who tried to save Kennedy’s life in the Parkland Hospital operating table Nov. 22, 1963, questioned whether Lee Harvey Oswald fired all the bullets that struck Kennedy’s motorcade…Miller, who later worked and taught with Perry at the University of Washington School of Medicine in the 1970s, says Perry told him there were entry wounds from both behind and in front of Kennedy, contradicting what he told the Warren Commission under oath. Perry confided similar details to an Alaska doctor as well…”He took that to his grave,” Miller, a UW professor emeritus, says today. He claims that Perry, during conversation the two had in the late 70s, said he’d been pressured to change his story and agree with the government’s theory that all entry wounds came from behind the motorcade. Perry had moved to Seattle in 1974 with Dr. Tom Shires, Parkland Hospital’s Chief of Surgery, who became Chairman of Surgery, at the UW. Shires brought Perry and several other Parkland surgeons to the UW, including Dr. Jim Carrico, the first doctor to examine Kennedy in the ER.” (Records of Perry’s testimony and public comments, and Miller’s recollections of the private talk they had, are contained in the first batch of released JFK documents which came out in October, 2017.)
Rick Anderson’s Crosscut article went on to report that “Elmer Moore, a Secret Service agent who worked with the Warren Commission was later transferred to the service’s Seattle office, admitted he was ordered to pressure Perry to refute the two-gunman theory, according to a University of Washington graduate student who interviewed Moore and eventually testified at government hearings.”
So, in summary: the chief surgeon in Parkland Hospital, on the day Kennedy was rolled into his operating room, recanted his original testimony, claiming instead that he saw both exit and entrance wounds on Kennedy’s body. That testimony alone disproves the single gunman theory. Couple Perry’s confession with the charade at Bethesda Naval Hospital, the statements of Elmer Moore, and the discovery of a 4th bullet by Commander James J. Humes, MC, USN, on 22 November 1963, and the case becomes rock solid.
Now is the time to nail the coffin on the single gunman theory shut for good. Dr. Perry was not the only surgeon who saw Kennedy’s head before the conspirators had a chance to manipulate it and destroy it forever. Dallas surgeon Dr. Robert McClelland later drew a rudimentary sketch of the right side of Kennedy’s head and noted the entrance and exit wounds of the bullets. This became known when the sketch went up for auction. In the clearly illustrated drawing of his eyewitness account, the surgeon noted two different entrance wounds – one low in the neck and one at his hairline – which came from different directions. Furthermore, he noted that the fatal wound to the back of the President’s head was from a bullet exiting the skull rather than entering it.
What more is required to smash the lone gunman theory into shards of dusty glass? If only the government has a brain. I mean that literally. If only they had a brain to prove their case, but somehow it was stolen from one of the most secured facilities in the world. If only the government had the windshield to prove the angle of the bullets impact, but that windshield-and the rest of the limo- was flown out of Dallas that very night and rebuilt from scratch. If only they had the autopsy notes from the man who inspected Kennedy’s body after it was taken from the city where the crime occurred. Inexplicably, those notes were ordered to be burned in his fireplace.
 In 1979, The House Select Committee on Assassinations determined that there was probably a conspiracy to kill JFK, but the motives and individuals involved remained unknown. Even though it lacked the stamina to pursue the crime to its logical source, the HSCA could not ignore the acoustic, ballistic, and forensic evidence which leans heavily in the direction of 2, 3, possibly more shooters. Drop the physically absurd “magic bullet” scenario and as many as 10 shooters could have fired simultaneously.
George Cassidy Payne is a freelance writer, adjunct professor of philosophy at SUNY, and a social justice activist. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.