A Chiropractor Looks at the Zapruder Film

Recently by Ralph Cinque: Head Shot: A Physicist Examines the KennedyAssassination

This coming Tuesday, November 22, will be the 48th anniversary of the murder of President Kennedy. I hope that a lot will be said and written about it. And to the Occupy folks in Dallas, I really think they should move their occupation over to Dealey Plaza. Occupy Dealey Plaza because what happened in Dealey Plaza in 1963 has more to do with all that is wrong in America today than anything that ever happened on Wall Street.

I have been a student of the JFK assassination for a long time, and I have read a lot of books about it, most recently JFK: Analysis of a Shooting by Orlando Martin, who looked at it from his perspective as an expert on ballistics and firearms. Another was Head Shot: The Science Behind the JFK Assassination by G. Paul Chambers, who looked at it from his perspective as a physicist.

But now, to commemorate the assassination, I want to look at the Zapruder film from my perspective – as a chiropractor.

Note that there is a lot controversy, even among conspiracy buffs, about the proper interpretation of the Zapruder film. And, some analyses delve into very minute and arcane elements of it. But, I intend to skip the minutia and just look at the broad, basic elements of it. I mean the things that stand out to the naked eye upon one viewing. They really tell you all that you need to know to draw valid conclusions.

There is a convenient dividing point in the Zapruder film: the Stemmons freeway sign, which temporarily puts the limousine out of view. Before the limousine passes behind that sign, President Kennedy is waving and smiling at the crowd, and it appears that all is well. So, let's assume it is. And then, as soon as the limo emerges from behind the sign, his hands go up to his neck, and he is obviously in distress, and it is from having been shot. That's very clear. There is no other reason why his hands would go up like that. Something happened to his neck, and that something is that he got shot. It's not like he was snacking and starting choking on some food. Nobody is suggesting that. Everybody, on all sides of the debate, agrees that he is reacting to having been shot. To put a number on it, we are talking about frame 225 in the Zapruder film.

It will be helpful if you go to http://assassinationresearch.com/zfilm/ and bookmark it. It has every frame of the Zapruder film as stills. So go to that page and click on the box that says 225, and you'll see Kennedy's hands starting to go up. That is the first visible sign of his reaction to having been shot. You will notice also that Jackie is looking directly at him. She must have been aware that something was wrong.

Now continue viewing the successive stills, say, through 235. What you see is that he continues raising his hands up, and not just his hands, but also his arms. His elbows are out, so really, he is raising and lifting his entire upper extremity, on both sides. A lot of muscles have to be working in order to do that. Notice also that he is not leaning backward against the seatback. He is sitting upright and unsupported, or I should say, self-supported. If anything, he is leaning slightly forward. Whether his jacket is touching the back of the seat at all, I really can't tell, but what I can tell from his overall inclination, is that he is supporting his own weight. He is, as we say, "standing on his sit-bones" which refers to the ischial tuberosities. He is supporting his own weight against gravity. He is not leaning against anything.

And in that series from 225 to 235, look at his "head/neck relationship." It's good. Posturally speaking, it's very good. There are millions, and perhaps billions, of people who don't have that good a head/neck relationship even when they haven't been struck by a bullet. What I am referring to is the balance, symmetry, and coordination between his head and his neck, and it's very good.

Realize that the head does not sit squarely on the neck like a pumpkin on a pole. It doesn't just plop there like a heavy weight compressing the spine. There is a very small pivot point between the head and neck (the atlanto-occipital junction) and two-thirds of the weight of the head is forward of that small articulation, and only one-third is behind it. So, with optimal functioning, there is a natural forward inclination of the head in relation to the neck. And, it's very important because it takes the weight of the head off the spine, allowing the neck to lengthen, and it also fosters mobility. Through proper muscular balance, the head is suspended – freely – in front of the neck in a fluid, mobile, and coordinated way. That is what is called a good head/neck relationship, and that is what you see in Kennedy.

But, many people have a faulty head/neck relationship, and it because, over time, they become contracted and shortened and tightened, and they habitually pull their head back and lock it onto the neck – effectively freezing the whole mechanism. But again, Kennedy was doing very well in that respect – even in the midst of everything that was happening to him. Through it all, he was maintaining excellent head/neck coordination.

Now, how does that relate to the official story? Well, the official story is that Kennedy was shot in the back of the neck with a big, fat, high-powered bullet that went coursing through his neck from back to front, exiting his body right below his Adam's apple, and turning his body into a veritable donut. Keep in mind that having your body traversed by a bullet is always a dangerous thing, but some places are more dangerous than others, depending on what's there. The neck is a very bad place for it to happen. Obviously, a bullet going through your head or your heart would be worse because that would kill you instantly. But, the neck is probably the third worst place for it to happen. And that's because of what's there. You've got the spinal cord there. And considering how central the shot was, I don't see how it could have missed the spinal cord.

The bullet, allegedly, exited the front of his neck right in the center – dead center. And it, allegedly, (according to Arlen Specter and Gerald Ford) entered the back of his neck a little to the right of center. There is controversy about that, and there is solid evidence, including photographic evidence, that the back entry wound was much lower. But for now, we are going with the official story, which is that the bullet entered the back of his neck and exited the front of his neck.

So, it was a very central course, and we know what is in the center of the neck: the spinal cord. And the course must have been central because if it had been lateral, there are major blood vessels there, the carotid arteries and the jugular veins, and if any of them had been hit, he would have lost blood pressure to his brain and collapsed right away from circulatory failure. There is no way he would have remained sitting and supporting his weight – never mind with above-average postural balance and neuromuscular integrity. No, his major blood vessels were definitely not ruptured, which means that the bullet would have had to have gone down the middle and cut through the spinal cord.

So, with such an injury, how was he able to continue to sit there? We all know what happened to Christopher Reeve when he fell off a horse and broke his neck and severed his spinal cord. He immediately, instantly lost consciousness, and he would have died very soon thereafter if not for rapid and heroic medical and surgical intervention.

And let's consider that such a bullet would also have demolished Kennedy's voice box. Nellie Connally, the wife of Governor Connally, who was riding with her husband in the jump seat in front of the Kennedys, told the Warren Commission that after being shot, JFK said "My God! I'm hit!" Could he have said that if he was injured in the way reported?

Keep in mind that the fatal head shot didn't come until much later: Zapruder frame 313. You can see it plain as day: a big red explosion at his right temple. But, from 225 to 312, Kennedy goes on sitting there and supporting his weight and staying in rather good postural balance. He leans towards Jackie some, but hey, he was hurting, and she was his wife. That's what people do when they're hurt; they seek comfort from someone they know. And he is also leaning more forward; you could say that he is slumping some. But still, his head/neck relationship isn't bad. There is still good continuity there. His head is leading, and his body is following, which is how it should be. No way has this guy had a bullet pass clear through his neck. No way, no how, no chance. It isn't even debatable.

I'll tell you what: if there is pathologist or neurologist or any other kind of qualified doctor who wants to make the case that Kennedy's actions and responses, what we can see on the Zapruder film, particularly his neuromuscular responses and his postural performance, after being shot are consistent with having had a 6.5 mm full-metal, jacketed, military round traverse his neck from back to front, I'll post it on my website. That I would like to read.

Remember that when Arlen Specter came up with the Single Bullet Theory, the public had not yet seen the Zapruder film. And, there was no intention of making it public. But, it eventually came out, and the first television showing was in 1975. But, that was twelve years after the assassination. Would they have ever tried to claim the single bullet theory if the Zapruder film had been widely shown immediately? I don't see how. Until the fatal head shot which blew his brains out, Kennedy looks too good. He functions too well. His body, his whole organism, is working too well. Nothing was cut between his head and his neck. All the channels of communication were working. That's obvious. He would have been incapacitated, but he wasn't.

Have you any idea how ridiculous, how totally ludicrous and whacky it is to suggest that Kennedy could go on sitting there, breathing, talking, supporting his weight, maintaining his balance, his blood pressure, his muscle control, and even his posture, with a bullet hole tunneled through his neck from back to front? It is insane.

But now, let's look at Connally because he was part of the Single Bullet Theory as well. Supposedly, the bullet that exited Kennedy's neck impacted Connally and went right through his rib cage and out his chest, and at the speed it was travelling, it would have been virtually simultaneous. We should see Connally reacting at the same moment as Kennedy.

Go back to Zapruder 225. Kennedy is raising his hands, so he has been hit, and Connally is turning a little to the right. Connally said that he turned to the right not because he was hit but because he had heard the sound of gunfire which seemed to come from behind his right shoulder. So, he turned to check it out, and that's all that was going on with him at the time. That's what he claimed, and that's how it appears.

The bullet that went through Connally was a powerful blast. Consider that after traversing him, it, allegedly, still had enough energy left to strike his wrist and demolish his radius, which is a thick, heavy bone, a veritable club. So, we would expect a force like that to impact him in a big and noticeable way.

So for Connally, we are looking for two things: a reaction in his face, and a reaction of his body.

As I view 225 to 235, Connally turns to his right and then turns back to center, but there is no sign of any disturbance in him. In his face, he doesn't seem to be acting out, but I admit that I can't see his face that well. So, I have to rely primarily on the movement of his body, and there is nothing irregular about it. There is nothing startling. There is no break. He does not seem to have been impacted by anything.

But then, there is a break. But, first note that he is holding the blue Stetson hat the whole time. Would a man who was already blasted through his chest on the right side continue to hold his hat in his right hand?

Now compare 234 to 236. I am skipping 235 just for the sake of clarity, but you can look at that too if you want. But, what you see in 236 is that Connally is suddenly twisting to the right; his left shoulder is pinched, raised; his right shoulder is depressed. He is turning to the right, and he is also laterally bending to the right. He is getting gnarled up. This is happening very fast. Each frame of the Zapruder film covers just 1/18 of a second, but the frames start changing distinctly from one frame to the next.

I downloaded frame 236 and then enlarged it. And when you do that, you can see that there is a change in the countenance of Connally's face. His mouth is open; he looks startled. Posturally, this is a man who is under extreme tension. He is really a mess posturally at this point. The balance, the equilibrium in his shoulders is completely lost. He looks agitated, discombobulated, flurried. It is in stark contrast to the preceding frames.

From that point on, he is moving rapidly. Each succeeding frame, 237, 238, 239, show him continuing to turn and twist. He keeps turning until he is facing the car door. He has turned 90 degrees by this point. And clearly, he is preoccupied with himself; he is not focused on Kennedy. By 255, he has passed the horizontal axis, and he may be able to see Kennedy. And it looks like has his left hand on top of the door, helping to support himself. He keeps turning around, and by 271, he appears to be looking at Kennedy. And, he looks at Kennedy for a good long while. Click through it frame by frame and you'll see.

But, about 290, Connally starts turning back around from whence he came. And at the same time, he starts leaning backwards, like he's having trouble sitting up. It's like he is falling into his wife, and he is falling into his wife. Take a close look at the frames after 290. He is falling into Nellie with a pained look on his face. That's another break. To me, that indicates when a separate bullet impacted his wrist.

By 300, he is leaning back into her markedly, and his mouth is wide open. And if you can't see it clearly, you can tell that his mouth is open by the tractioning of his cheeks. At this point, he is totally absorbed with what is happening to himself and not to Kennedy. Frame 304 is a very clear shot. You can see that his mouth is open. He is in pain. He is probably audibly moaning and crying. Nellie is pulling him in close. At this point, Connally seems more incapacitated than Kennedy.

Then, the head shot hits Kennedy at exactly frame 313 with a big explosion at his right temple, and he goes back and to the left – not just his head, but his whole body. And he goes limp. He is totally out of it. And from then on, in the still frames, Connally and his wife are very much blurred, and I suspect it's because the limo speeded away. Many reported that prior to the head shot, the limousine slowed to a crawl. Some said it came to a complete stop. But after the fatal head shot, it accelerated immediately and rapidly. It looks like Connally and his wife are ducking down as best they can. Then there is a long sequence involving Jackie's trek across the limo and the Secret Service agent going to her aid, which put the Connallys completely out of view. And after that, the limo is speeding away so rapidly and at great enough distance that there is no discerning anything about the Connallys.

So, what do we make of all this? First, note that Connally's chief thoracic surgeon, Dr. Robert Shaw, said that it was mostly likely frame 236 in which Connally first reacted to being hit. Here is his exact testimony from the Warren Report:

Mr. SPECTER – Dr. Shaw, have you had an opportunity today here in the Commission building to view the movies which we referred to as the Zapruder movies and the slides taken from these movies? Dr. SHAW – Yes. Mr. SPECTER – And what, if any, light did those movies shed on your evaluation and opinions on this matter with respect to the wounds of the Governor? Dr. SHAW – Well, my main interest was to try to place the time that the Governor was struck by the bullet which inflicted the wound in his chest. This meant trying to carefully examine the position of the Governor’s body in the car so that it would fall in line with what we knew the trajectory must be for this bullet coming from the point where it has been indicated it did come from. And in trying to place this actual frame that these frames are numbered when the Governor was hit, my opinion was that it was frame number, let’s see, I think it was No. 36. Mr. SPECTER – You mean, 236? Dr. SHAW – Yes, 236, give or take a frame or two. 235, 236, 237.

What's my take? Well, I couldn't agree with him more. 236 is where the break occurs. That is where Connally first reacts, facially and posturally, and it is a very sudden break.

So, if Dr. Shaw is right, that Connally did not react until 236, whereas Kennedy was clearly reacting already by 225, it is a definite disconnect. We really don't know when Kennedy began to react because he was concealed by the freeway sign until 225. But, he was definitely reacting as he emerged from behind the sign at 225.

So, that means that there is no way on God's green Earth that Kennedy and Connally were reacting to the same bullet – not at the speed it would have been travelling. For all practical purposes, it would have been instantaneous. That interval between 225 and 236 is proof-positive that they were hit at separate times by separate bullets.

What does this mean for the current status of the Kennedy assassination? It means that we are living in a bizarro world. Black is white; up is down; in is out. The official story has become so ludicrous, whacky, and incredulous, and the evidence against it has become so indomitable and overwhelming, that it borders on insanity to continue believing it. The Kennedy assassination has become the elephant in the room, the emperor with no clothes. And I predict that as time passes, the mainstream media will withdraw completely from defending it. They will only speak about it in general terms. They will get psychologists to address the sociology, that is, the patho-sociology, of the JFK truth movement – as they do with the 9/11 truth movement. But, they are not going to sit down and debate particulars with the likes of Mark Lane, Jim Marrs, Orlando Martin, James Douglass, Phillip Nelson, Paul Champers or other Kennedy researchers. "Shut up, and believe what you're told." That, in essence, will be all they'll have to say.