Head Shot: A Physicist Examines the Kennedy Assassination

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by G. Paul Chambers is aptly titled because the author hones in
on the fatal head shot and proves, through painstaking application
of the laws of physics, that the bullet must have come from the
right-front of Kennedy, specifically the Grassy Knoll. And Chambers
is aptly qualified to make such an assessment, having a Ph.D. in
Physics and Engineering and a career as an experimental physicist
with the US Navy. However, I wish he had done a similar analysis
of the other shots, which he doesn’t, and that was a letdown. However,
overall, Head Shot is an excellent treatise by an intellectual heavyweight.
Warren Commission apologists will be quite rattled by his book,
and I expect they will ignore it. I doubt any of them will want
to go mano-o-mano against G. Paul Chambers.

Even though
the narrow focus of the book was a little disappointing, I still
think it has many merits. He gives an excellent analysis of the
Warren Commission as to their methods and motives. He explains the
mindset and political group-think that guided and propelled them.
And it was based on the idea that unless they found Oswald guilty
as the lone assassin, the Soviets would be implicated, and World
War 3 would result. Then, 45 million Americans would die in a nuclear
holocaust. That is exactly what LBJ told Earl Warren. So, in order
to save the 45 million, they had to incriminate Oswald. And the
decision to incriminate Oswald was definitely made before they began
their investigation. From the start, they assigned a team of investigators
to identify Oswald’s motive for killing Kennedy. They hadn’t even
determined that he had done it yet!

Chambers points
out that everyone appointed to the Warren Commission was a lifelong
political hack. There were no physicists, no other scientists, no
weapons or ballistics experts, no forensic medicine experts or other
technical experts: just lawyers and politicians. And consider: Gerald
Ford arbitrarily changed the location of the back wound from the
back to the neck. He did it openly. And he justified doing it on
the grounds that he wasn’t lying but rather “clarifying.” Amazing!
He blatantly altered evidence! But, the fact that he could do it
— and apparently with the utter conviction that he was acting properly
— proves the extent to which American politics warps the mind and
corrupts the soul.

Chambers reviews
the attempts to duplicate Oswald’s alleged marksmanship. It has
never been done. Most shooters could not get off 3 shots in 5.6
seconds — at all — never mind hit any targets. Finally, the WC produced
a marksman who got the three shots off in 5 seconds, but he missed
all his targets and some by a wide margin. Also, he was given unlimited
time to set up the very first shot (a luxury Oswald did not have);
he was given stationary not moving targets (again, a luxury Oswald
did not have) and he was allowed to use metal shims to compensate
for the inaccuracies in the telescopic sight (again, a luxury Oswald
lacked). It was a grotesque fabrication — the sham of all shams.

Chambers reviews
the eyewitness testimony, and you’d be surprised how many people
identified the Grassy Knoll shooter by sight, sound, and the whir
of a bullet flying overhead. We’re talking about 50 people. Of course,
the Warren Commission ignored all of their testimony. Chambers covers
the allegations that Kennedy’s body was altered, citing Lifton’s
work and others, and including relevant photos. In his coverage
of the HSCA hearings, he focused mainly on the acoustical evidence
which pointed to a grassy knoll shooter. The House Subcommittee
concluded that there “probably” was a conspiracy, and they recommended
that the Justice Department pursue it, which of course never happened.
But as an aside, let’s examine why.

When the HSCA
released its findings and recommendations, the year was 1979, and
Jimmy Carter was President. Consider that he was the first President
who was not directly involved with the Kennedy assassination. LBJ,
without a doubt, managed the cover-up, but many researchers believe
he was directly involved in the assassination itself. I recommend
Money, and Power: How LBJ Killed JFK
by Barr McClellan,
who was a law partner of LBJ’s attorney, Ed Clark. Note that Barr
McClellan is also the father of Scott McClellan, the former Press
Secretary of George W. Bush. Amazing, isn't it, that W hired a man
to speak for him whose father accuses LBJ of murdering Kennedy?
It goes to show how callous American politics has become. Ah, it
was a long time ago, so who really cares, right? Also consider reading
The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination
by Phillip F. Nelson.

Following LBJ
was Nixon. I can’t present all the evidence linking Nixon to the
assassination, but I will point out that it’s widely believed that
the whole Watergate scandal stemmed from Nixon’s involvement in
the JFK assassination. At the time of the burglary, Nixon was way
ahead of McGovern in the polls. So why did he need to break into
Democratic headquarters? Certainly not to win the election, which
was firmly in the bag. It was because he was concerned about “that
Bay of Pigs thing” (code for the assassination) and what the Democrats
might do out of desperation. Read H.R. Haldeman’s The
Ends of Power
. Also, do an online search for Dirty Politics:
Nixon, Watergate, and the JFK Assassination by Mark Tracy.

Then came Gerald
Ford, who, as I said, blatantly falsified crucial evidence in the
Warren Report in order to support the Single Bullet Theory. And
then came Jimmy Carter who surely played no role in the assassination,
before or afterwards. So why didn’t he do something when the HSCA
recommended action? All I can surmise is that although Carter was
a Democrat like Kennedy, he was also a member of the Trilateral
Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, and he was keenly
aware that the Kennedy assassination was off-limits — to him or
any President. And, my own view is that the HSCA was really just
Warren Commission II. They did their work and made their recommendations,
but it was all for show. They just wanted to quell the unrest and
throw the rabble-rousers a bone. Nobody in government wanted to
reveal the truth about Kennedyu2018s murder — not then and not now.
It’s not a matter of the guilt or innocence of any individuals.
The whole moral authority of the government is at stake, and that’s
what they’re trying to protect.

But returning
to Head Shot, the chapter addressing Vincent Bugliosi’s 2500-page
tome Reclaiming
was my favorite. Chambers' scientific rebuttals
to Bugliosi’s fallacious arguments are decisive. To my knowledge,
Bugliosi has not responded to any of these attacks, and I doubt
that he will. As a lawyer, he knows that sometimes silence is the
best rejoinder. But, it’s satisfying to know that Bugliosi can hardly
be comfortable in his own skin, having written the “last word” on
the assassination, self-described as “a book for the ages” only
to have it ripped to shreds by Chambers.

Although Chambers
accepts the body alteration hypothesis, he rejects, categorically,
the charge that the Zapruder film was altered. His arguments are
based on the technological limits that existed at the time and on
the timeline, and he says all anomalies can be accounted for. But,
he never accounts for them. For instance, there is the speed of
the limousine. Many witnesses said that it practically stopped during
the shooting, and some said that it did, in fact, stop. But you
don’t see anything close to that in the Zapruder film. Another odd
thing is that some of the bystanders seem to be looking in the wrong
direction — as if the limo hadn’t reached them yet when it had.
To review the anomalies in the Zapruder film, see
this video clip
. I don’t recall that Chambers addressed any
of these anomalies.

The climax
of the book is his analysis of the fatal head shot. He claims to
have figured out which weapon was used, a Winchester .220 Swift
rifle using small-caliber (.224) frangible bullet. He explains how
this rifle stacks up against the “hard math of momentum conservation”
when analyzing Kennedy’s head recoil in the Zapruder film. The math
is rather dizzying, but here is the conclusion:

“It doesn’t
matter if anyone saw or heard shots coming from the Grassy Knoll.
It doesn’t matter if anyone saw a shooter in this location or not.
Application of the incontrovertible Laws of Physics establishes
that the bullet came from the direction of this site. The angle
of recoil of Kennedy’s head was 45 degrees with respect to the axis
of the limousine body. The direction of the momentum of the incoming
round must have been the same angle — relative to the limousine
body. A bullet fired at an angle of 45 degrees to the limo axis
traces back to the infamous Grassy Knoll. That is where the fatal
head shot originated.”

Chambers is
less clear about the origin of the other shots. He thinks the throat
wound was an entrance wound, probably fired from the Grassy Knoll,
but perhaps from another forward location. He’s not sure how many
shots struck Connally or their origin. He accepts that one or more
shots were fired from the 6th floor window of the Book Depository,
but he did no ballistics analysis like that of Orlando Martin. And
one omission in Chambers work seems inexplicable to me: He concedes
that a bullet entered Kennedy’s back at a downward angle of 45 to
60 degrees (according to the autopsy doctors) but a 6th floor Depository
shooter would have been at an angle of only 17 degrees to the motorcade.
So, how does that compute? Doesn’t that rule out such a shooter?
Ballistics expert Orlando Martin says so, but Chambers does not
address it,

It seems that
Chambers considered his work finished in proving the origin of the
fatal head shot. It proved conspiracy, so the rest doesn’t matter
very much. That was my distinct impression of his attitude.

Finally, I
wish he would have defended Oswald more vigorously. He did state
that the negative paraffin test proved that Oswald did not fire
a rifle that day, and that such evidence is court-admissable. But
elsewhere, he seemed to equivocate, leaving open the very slight
possibility that Oswald was a shooter. That didn’t set well with
me. If you read JFK:
Analysis of a Shooting
by Orlando Martin and JFK
and the Unspeakable
by Jim Douglass, you will be completely
convinced of Oswald’s innocence. Of course, nobody knows what Oswald
knew. Nobody knows what his handlers told him. Maybe he did think
that something was going to go down that day. What he told Dallas
Police investigators has never been released; we have only his public
statements. But, if you read the above-mentioned books, you will
know beyond all doubt that Oswald did not kill Kennedy, nor did
he kill Officer Tippit. Oswald was just what he said he was: a patsy.

So, although
Head Shot is never going to be my favorite book on the assassination,
it is still a valuable and important work with some very unique
elements. G. Paul Chambers has made a lasting contribution to the
assassination literature.

Cinque [send him mail]
has worked as a chiropractor, nutritionist, and health spa operator.
He offers a free
weekly health newsletter

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