The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
leet4A1
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

Conspiracy III: The Kennedy Assassination

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
JustCallMeTarzan
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,768 times Debate No: 8646
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

The proposition on offer is that John F. Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone and of his own volition.

*********************************************

An opening volley of popular contentions and their rebuttals:

1) There were multiple shooters/bullets.

Here's a couple shots that explain the Single Bullet theory:
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...
Both are CGI images based on the composite footage from film and still shots. The most significant piece of information on this point is that the seat that Kennedy sat in was higher than that of Connally, and Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy.

2) The Grassy Knoll & various persons there...

The Black Dog Man, the Umbrella Man, the mystery black couple, the three hobos... have all been shown to be benign. If My opponent wishes to bring these up, we shall do so, but they are all mini-debates unto themselves. The source of the Grassy Knoll speculation stems from the hole in the windshield of the car - a hole that was later demonstrated to have been created from the inside of the car going out.

3) Mr. Tague.

A bullet fragment from the nick in the curb lanced through his cheek after passing through Kennedy and out the front windshield of the car. Simple.

4) Oswald couldn't have gotten three shots off in the 6-8 second time frame he had.

First of all, the gun would only needed to be reloaded twice, since the first round would have already been chambered. A test by the FBI showed that the same rifle Oswald used could have been fired accurately three times in 4.5 seconds.

*************************************

Source (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...) and derivatives.

AFFIRMED.
leet4A1

Con

Many thanks to Tarzan for allowing me the opportunity to debate this interesting topic.

I am arguing that John F. Kennedy was not shot at by Lee Harvey Oswald alone on that day in 1963. I will address my opponent's arguments in turn:

"1) There were multiple shooters/bullets…."

Even if we are to accept that a single bullet could have or did act in this way (which is itself hotly contested), consider the following:
- Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connally, was sitting right next to her husband when he was shot. She is adamant that her husband was hit by a bullet separate from the two which hit Kennedy.
- 35 witnesses who were present at the shooting thought that shots were fired from in front of Kennedy (the infamous Grassy Knoll area), 56 witnesses claimed to hear shots from the book depository, while 5 witnesses heard shots from both directions. Is it more likely that they're all wrong, or that they're all right?
- Roy Kellerman, a Secret Service Agent, saw a 5-inch diameter hole in the back right-hand side of Kennedy's head. This was confirmed by Clint Hill, another Secret Service agent, who sheltered Kennedy's body on his way to the hospital. Robert McClelland, a doctor who personally saw to the head wound, used his experience to determine that it was an exit wound and that a second shooter from the front of the car delivered the fatal head shot.
- Former U.S. Marine snipers Craig Roberts and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock: "We reconstructed the whole thing: the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don't know how many times we tried it, but we couldn't duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did. Now if I can't do it, how in the world could a guy who was a non-qual on the rifle range and later only qualified 'marksman' do it?"

Now, it's easy to ignore any one of these facts in isolation, but when we consider that they are all separate accounts from separate people, it becomes very difficult indeed.

"2) The Grassy Knoll & various persons there...
3) Mr. Tague.
4) Oswald couldn't have gotten three shots off in the 6-8 second time frame he had."

I concede point 4 to my opponent, and will not pursue points 2 or 3 just yet.

Thanks to JCMT, I look forward to his rebuttal.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

I thank my opponent for a well-informed and on-topic rebuttal... I don't think I've debated Leet before, so it's my pleasure to start with such an academic topic.

On the case of the multiple shooters, let's examine each of the claims by my opponent:

>> "Nellie Connally, wife of Governor John Connally, was sitting right next to her husband when he was shot. She is adamant that her husband was hit by a bullet separate from the two which hit Kennedy."

Here is a clip of the original 16mm clip of Kennedy being shot (). Please note that this requires watching several times to catch all the nuances below. I myself watched various parts of it probably 2 dozen times or so...

The first shot, held to occur around frame 160-180 in the film above missed the motorcade entirely and would have skipped off the pavement. If you watch Connally's head during this time, he turns very quickly in his seat, as though looking for the source of the first shot. In fact, Connally himself said: "We had just made the turn, well, when I heard what I thought was a shot. I heard this noise which I immediately took to be a rifle shot. I instinctively turned to my right because the sound appeared to come from over my right shoulder..." [1]

Here are JFK and Connally starting at frame 138 in the Zapruder film, both looking around for the source of the missed first shot:

JFK - http://www.jfk-online.com...
Connally - http://www.jfk-online.com...

If you watch, Kennedy is waving to the crowd until he disappears from sight around frame 213. He emerges from the other side of the obstacle around frame 225, reaching for his throat. Jackie emerges a little before him, at frame 222, already looking at Kennedy. Between frames 226 and 230, you can see her shift focus to Connally, and then back to Kennedy. At frame 222, when Connally appears from behind the obstacle, notice he is turned towards the camera, and then between 222 and 226, straightens suddenly and begins to raise his arm. By frame 237, Connally is obviously clutching himself in pain and doubling over towards the camera.

When the third shot takes place at frame 315, Connally does not react in pain, but rather takes cover, holding his wife - leading to the conclusion that Kennedy and Connally were only hit by one common bullet.

[1] Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. IV, pp. 132-33

>> "35 witnesses who were present at the shooting thought that shots were fired from in front of Kennedy (the infamous Grassy Knoll area), 56 witnesses claimed to hear shots from the book depository, while 5 witnesses heard shots from both directions. Is it more likely that they're all wrong, or that they're all right?"

Three views of Dealey Plaza from different angles:

(http://bp1.blogger.com...+(Circa+1967).jpg)
(http://www.geocities.com...)
(http://www.dealey.org...) (taken in late 1963)

Note the tall, flat buildings on Houston St. in the second picture, and the large, flat, white one in the first and in the foreground of the second. Note also in the third picture the two semi-circular structures that flank the curves in the road (Zapruder filmed from the leftmost one of these two). Unseen, but still clear in the last picture is the underpass at the bottom of the picture, essentially a wide, flat, open echo chamber.

These structures would have produced unusual acoustic conditions. First, the flat surfaces of the buildings on Houston St. Second, the flat surface of the white building on Commerce St. Third, the semi-circular structures, and last, the underpass - all would have created unusual acoustic conditions. Shots sounding from the grassy knoll would have been amplified and redirected to some by their proximity to the underpass. To others, it would have been amplified and slightly distorted by the semi-circular structure. For example, the small semi-circular structure at my college seen here (http://students.millikin.edu...) is known as the "God Spot" for the way it amplifies people's voices when they stand near it.

Conclusion? They're all correct about what they heard - or more accurately, what they think they heard. They are simply mistaken in their conclusion about where the sound came from. (And neither conclusion would make them ALL right or ALL wrong - some would be correct either way...)

>> "Roy Kellerman, a Secret Service Agent, saw a 5-inch diameter hole in the back right-hand side of Kennedy's head. This was confirmed by Clint Hill, another Secret Service agent, who sheltered Kennedy's body on his way to the hospital. Robert McClelland, a doctor who personally saw to the head wound, used his experience to determine that it was an exit wound and that a second shooter from the front of the car delivered the fatal head shot."

The trajectory of the bullet did indeed leave an interesting exit wound. However, let's look at the scope of the wound:

(http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...) - A photo of Kennedy's head wound.
(http://students.millikin.edu...) - The same photo highlighted by me to show his hairline (red), nose ridge (blue) and right eye (green).

As you can see from this photo, the extent of the head wound is fairly great, and not entirely confined to the back right side of his head. Furthermore, the testimony of Dr. Robert McClelland reveals that he did not in fact judge the wound to be certainly an exit wound:

Mr. SPECTER - Then, at any time was he positioned in a way where you could have seen the back of his body?
Dr. McCLELLAND - No.

Mr. SPECTER - Based on the experience that you have described for us with gunshot wounds and your general medical experience, would you characterize the description of the wound that Dr. Perry gave you as being a wound of entrance or a wound of exit, or was the description which you got from Dr. Perry and Dr. Baxter and Dr. Carrico who were there before, equally consistent with whether or not it was a wound of entrance or a wound of exit, or how would you characterize it in your words?
Dr. McCLELLAND - I would say it would be EQUALLY CONSISTENT WITH EITHER TYPE OF WOUND, either an entrance or an exit type wound. It would be quite difficult to say--impossible.

As you can see - the testimony of Dr. McClelland reveals that he did not inspect the back of Kennedy's head for a wound, and revealed that, given the wound as described to him, he had no basis for asserting it to be an entrance or exit wound. Furthermore, the exit wound from the 1st shot that hit Kennedy (on his neck) had been cut open by the tracheotomy they gave him, so it would have been impossible for McClelland to judge that wound's character either (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...).

>> "Former U.S. Marine snipers Craig Roberts and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock: "We reconstructed the whole thing: the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don't know how many times we tried it, but we couldn't duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did. Now if I can't do it, how in the world could a guy who was a non-qual on the rifle range and later only qualified 'marksman' do it?""

This article (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...) states that the FBI did in fact successfully reconstruct the scenario, with shot times averaging around 6 seconds for several different people. Consider also that Oswald had a rest for his rifle (the window) and would have already chambered the first round, greatly lessening the time needed to accurately aim. Furthermore, my opponent has already conceded this point - "4) Oswald couldn't have gotten three shots off in the 6-8 second time frame he had." I concede point 4 to my opponent..."

I look forward to a rebuttal.
leet4A1

Con

Thanks Tarzan.

----
ACOUSTIC CONDITIONS

"Conclusion? They're all correct about what they heard - or more accurately, what they think they heard. They are simply mistaken in their conclusion about where the sound came from. (And neither conclusion would make them ALL right or ALL wrong - some would be correct either way...)"
----
I really don't think this is a plausible explanation at all. Considering bullets were only supposed to have come from one source (the book depository), it's very compelling to note that almost as many people heard bullets come from elsewhere. It is easy to shrug off eye-witness testimony, but consider if this wasn't Kennedy and there wasn't already a well-defined conspiracy theory. We have a few people who've been shot, and 96 eye-witnesses (well, ear-witnesses). The police, who have no idea how many shooters there were or where bullets came from, etc., ask the witnesses where they heard shots fired. They find that 35 of the witnesses heard bullets from Point A, 56 from Point B and 5 from both points. Why should we discount the testimony of 40 people who heard shots from Point A? Does my opponent have any evidence that this particular spot can produce immense ambiguity in what people sense?

----
EXIT/ENTRY WOUND?
----
After reading my opponent's source [http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...], I realize Dr. McClelland is uncertain either way about the nature of the wounds, so his testimony is useless. However, if we view the video my opponent provided in Round 2, is there any question that the fatal head shot came from the front of the vehicle (0:29)?

----
REENACTMENTS

"This article (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu......) states that the FBI did in fact successfully reconstruct the scenario, with shot times averaging around 6 seconds for several different people. Consider also that Oswald had a rest for his rifle (the window) and would have already chambered the first round, greatly lessening the time needed to accurately aim. Furthermore, my opponent has already conceded this point - "4) Oswald couldn't have gotten three shots off in the 6-8 second time frame he had." I concede point 4 to my opponent..."
----
I only conceded the time-limit, which leaves the former Marines unable to reconstruct the "angle, the range, the moving target, the obstacles, everything". The link my opponent provided does indeed provide details of a thorough reconstruction by the FBI, but this is the very reconstruction my sources were disputing as impossible.

Marine Sniper Craig Roberts: "First, I analyzed the scene as a sniper . . . I looked at the engagement angles. It was entirely wrong…Here, from what I could see, three problems arose that would influence my shots. First, the target was moving away at a drastic angle to the right from the window, meaning that I would have to position my body to compete with the wall and a set of vertical water pipes . . . This would be extremely difficult for a right-handed shooter. Second, I would have to be ready to fire exactly when the target emerged past some tree branches that obscured the kill zone. Finally, I would have to deal with two factors at the same time; the curve of the street, and the high-to-low angle formula—a law of physics Oswald would not have known."

Also, after doing a little more research, I have found that there were actually TEN objects struck by bullets. Can my opponent explain the information at the bottom of this page [http://www.strike-the-root.com...] regarding just how many objects were struck on that day?

"So let us count the OBJECTS STRUCK. (1) street (2) curb (3) manhole cover (4) JFK's back (5) JFK's throat (6) windshield (7) trim strip (8) street sign (9) Connelly (10) JFK's head. Additionally, we heard reports of a shot striking a curb along Elm, which was hastily covered up. Could Oswald--according to the Lone Assassin Theory--have struck all of these objects in six seconds? Not unless he was armed with an automatic rifle and a dozen bullets." [1]

Thanks to JCMT, I look forward to his rebuttal.

[1] - http://www.strike-the-root.com...
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

1) On the acoustic conditions of Dealey Plaza.

An interview with Marilyn Sitzman (found here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...) reveals some interesting things about the grassy knoll. Lets combine her testimony with some pictures of the plaza and the Zapruder film. Marilyn was standing next to Zapruder while he was filming - in other words, she was in the perfect spot to notice any sort of goings-on nearby.

Sitzman: And as far as the sound of the shots go, the first one, as I said, sounded like a firecracker, and the second one that I heard sounded the same, because I recall no difference whatsoever in them.

This shows that to someone ON THE GRASSY KNOLL, the shot that hit Kennedy's neck and the shot that hit his head sounded as though they came from the same place. The only other people Sitzman references as being in the area were a "colored couple" of about 18 and 21 eating their lunch. The people with their lunch smashed their coke bottle on the concrete there before leaving...

Sitzman: The pop bottle crashing was much louder than the shots were.

Furthermore, if you watch the Zapruder film (from Round 2), you can see that most of the people opposite the grassy knoll are standing in the area that the semi-circle points towards. In other words, most of the crowd is standing in a location where the reverberations of the echo in the semi-circle would increase the volume of the echo, making it appear as though the sounds came from there - a similar effect to that of a Whisper Dish.

2) On the nature of the headshot as an entry/exit wound...

My opponent concedes that McClelland's testimony either way is useless. However, watch these two videos below. The second is the better one, but the first is needed to show the direction the melon was shot from...

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...
http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu...

Both videos show a man shooting a melon with a rifle, and the melon recoiling TOWARD the shot. Furthermore, considering the nature of the neurological damage Kennedy would have sustained upon impact, it's completely impossible to accurately predict his motion - muscle impulses could have twitched his body completely unpredictably.

3) On the reconstruction of the shooting...

Your "expert" marine snipers must not be very good. Here is a view from the window where Oswald shot Kennedy:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com...

Now bear with me, because the combination of these next elements is a little complex. Using the combination of the Nix film (), both versions of the Zapruder film - wide () and cut (from round two), we can place the X from the street where Kennedy was killed into the picture above from Oswald's window, pictured by the inserted red dot:

http://students.millikin.edu...

Please note that this is the head shot that is placed in the picture, NOT the throat shot. Further confirmation of this placement can be seen by comparing this picture of the X on the street from Zapruder's filming location (http://www.cirrusimage.com...) with the Nix and wide angle Zapruder films above.

Let me ask the reader... is it really that hard to believe that someone could hit a slow-moving person from that far away with a scope?

Problems with the snipers' report:

>> "the target was moving away at a drastic angle to the right from the window, meaning that I would have to position my body to compete with the wall and a set of vertical water pipes..."

As you saw, the third shot would not have been any sort of positioning nightmare. And look at this picture taken moments after Kennedy was assassinated (http://www.jfk.org...). You see any pipes?

>> "Second, I would have to be ready to fire exactly when the target emerged past some tree branches that obscured the kill zone."

Oswald steadied his shot on the box in the above picture... did you see any obscuring tree branches there? And in this 11/23/63 photo of Dealey plaza, does it seem like the trees are "obscuring" (http://www.mackwhite.com...)?? It is only in modern pictures like this one (http://www.photohome.com...) that the vegetation around the building looks to be obscuring.

4) On the ten struck objects...

Let's use the list Heart provided from the last round: "OBJECTS STRUCK - (1) street (2) curb (3) manhole cover (4) JFK's back (5) JFK's throat (6) windshield (7) trim strip (8) street sign (9) Connelly (10) JFK's head."

Shot #1 - missed the car entirely. Struck the street, the curb, and even Mr. Tague's cheek with debris.
Numbers 1 & 2 down.

Shot #2 - the throat shot. Passed through Kennedy's back and neck, and then Connally.
Numbers 4, 5, and 9 down.

Shot #3 - the head shot. Passed through Kennedy's head.
Number 10 down.

Testimony of JW Foster regarding the manhole cover:

Mr. BALL - Make it deep enough to mark. The arrow marks the position that you believe you saw the mark on the pavement?
Mr. FOSTER - Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL - It was not on the manhole cover?
Mr. FOSTER - No, sir.

Pages 76-77 of the Warren Commission Report (http://books.google.com...) detail how the windshield and chrome strip were dented be fragments from the bullet that hit Kennedy's head.

That takes care of everything except the sign. I can't find any information regarding the sign, even in the source my opponent cites for the list above - it simply states, "An eighth shot strikes a sign along Elm. "The freeway sign, which had a bullet hole through it that came from the direction of the Grassy Knoll, quickly disappeared," said former sniper, Roberts."

Without a better source to base an investigation on, my best guess is that if this indeed happened, it was another bullet fragment, most likely from the first shot that missed the motorcade entirely. However, there are no holes in the signs evident in the Nix or Zapruder films (but still possible, given the film quality at the time). I'm afraid that without better sources, any speculation on either of our parts concerning the sign is mere conjecture.

***********************************************************

An excellent round. I look forward to another.

AFFIRMED.
leet4A1

Con

"An excellent round. I look forward to another."

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint my opponent, because I concede all points. This is the first time I've done this or even thought about doing it, but I suppose this is the problem with attempting to argue something you don't fully believe in. Every argument I could think to bring up in this round, even I can rebut, so I know my opponent could.

Also, I'm heading to New Zealand late tomorrow night and would have had to forfeit the final 2 rounds anyway. I may as well do it now and commend my opponent for an excellent debate.

I do apologize to Tarzan; I'm sure you wanted to go the full 5 rounds for this one. All argument points to PRO.
Debate Round No. 3
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Much thanks to Leet for a good debate - I really enjoyed learning about this event and delving beyond the available evidence to learn some new research techniques.

My thanks again.
leet4A1

Con

leet4A1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

Extend arguments/whatnot/whatever.

Vote me.
leet4A1

Con

leet4A1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
B & A: PRO
Conduct: PRO; due to forfeits.
S & G: Tied
Argument: PRO; very well written.
Sources: PRO; very good use of some interesting sources.
Posted by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
RFD: Pro
(1) Pro.
(2) Pro.
(3) Pro, no forfeit.
(4) Tied.
(5) Pro, but it was a very strong attempt on leet's part.
(6) Pro, for quality.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
'k... who voted straight 7 to Con after he conceded and forfeited two rounds??
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
"Let's use the list Heart provided from the last round..."

Should read:

"Let's use the list LEET provided..."

My apologies - it's late and I have a lot of debates going...
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
might as well - there are lots of little nitpicky things that can be investigated.
Posted by rougeagent21 7 years ago
rougeagent21
Interesting. Are five rounds necessary though?
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
I bet Geo will take all three of these debates.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
JustCallMeTarzanleet4A1Tied
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Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 7 years ago
Lexicaholic
JustCallMeTarzanleet4A1Tied
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Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 7 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
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Vote Placed by tribefan011 7 years ago
tribefan011
JustCallMeTarzanleet4A1Tied
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