Sunday, November 22, 2009

Single Bullet Theory

The Single-Bullet Theory (or Magic-Bullet Theory, as it is commonly called by its critics) was introduced by the Warren Commission to explain how three shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald resulted in the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. The theory, generally credited to Warren Commission staffer Arlen Specter (now a U.S. Senator), posits that a single bullet, known as "Warren Commission Exhibit 399" (also known as "CE399"), caused all of the non-fatal wounds in both President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally. (The fatal head wound to the President was caused by a bullet other than this alleged "Single Bullet").

According to the single-bullet theory, a one-inch-long copper-jacketed lead-core 6.5-millimeter rifle bullet fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository passed through President Kennedy’s neck and Governor Connally’s chest and wrist and embedded itself in the Governor’s thigh. If so, this bullet traversed 15 layers of clothing, 7 layers of skin, and approximately 15 inches of tissue, struck a necktie knot, removed 4 inches of rib, and shattered a radius bone. The bullet that is supposed to have done all this damage was found on a stretcher in the corridor at the Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, after the assassination. The Warren Commission found that this stretcher was the one that had borne Governor Connally. This bullet became a key Commission exhibit, identified as CE399. Its copper jacket was completely intact. While the bullet's nose appeared normal, the tail was compressed laterally on one side.

In its conclusion, the Warren Commission found "persuasive evidence from the experts" that a single bullet caused the President's neck wound and all the wounds in Governor Connally. It acknowledged that there was a "difference of opinion" among members of the Commission "as to this probability", but stated that the theory was not essential to its conclusions and that all members had no doubt that all shots were fired from the sixth floor window of the Depository building.

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