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Charlie Rose: “giving you a sense of history…”
31 January 2012
Douglas Brinkley, historian:
“So far I’ve bought into the Posner, Case Closed”
“The big question still remaining: `Why did Oswald do it?’”
“I believe Oswald could have made the shot.”
NOTE: Oswald could have “made the shot” if he’d owned the rifle, had been on the sixth floor of the Book Depository, had gotten graphite on his hands or cheeks by doing so, had bullets that matched those found in the bodies and limousine, had enough competence to aim the gun and correct for the scope, and could do better than all the Army weapons experts who tried with a repaired gun at an easier target who failed to hit it. Reality is such a hard taskmaster.
Then again, what shot could he have made from there? Maybe the one that went through Governor Connally’s chest or the one that missed and hit James Tague near the overpass.
He could not have made either shot the Warren Commission credits him with. The fatal head shot clearly comes from the front. The “single bullet” shot, if it had actually happened, would have caused a wound from JFK’s back through to his throat. Robert Cutler took the Warren Commissioners at their word and traced that wound at the angle they described and the other required angles that the wound information would allow. He took it backwards instead. It goes well below the sixth floor and well to the south of the Book Depository.
Oswald could not have made a shot through both Kennedy and Connally since there was not time time to shoot twice and the interval between those wounds is too long for one bullet, unless it suspended in mid-air. The angles are all wrong for one bullet as well, as are the angles and timing of the wounds to Connally’s wrist and thighs. Then there’s the problem of the windshield, but never mind.
Anyone COULD have made any number of shots. NOBODY could have fired three bullets from one location and killed Kennedy and caused the other damage and wounds that day in the limousine on Elm Street.
So is the historian’s standard of evidence and conviction not proof positive, proof logical or much less proof without reasonable doubt, but only proof of possibility ignoring all other evidence? Only if the one book you read is by Gerald Posner, who distorts all the evidence.
Who knows, maybe an ambivalent Oswald COULD have fired from two different and distant locations at almost the same instant (3.2 second intervals max). Maybe Oswald had help. Maybe two lone gunmen showed up at the same time and location with the intent to kill Kennedy as the Washington Post suggested long ago when acoustical evidence of a fourth shot that day convinced the House Select Committee on Assassinations that there was a “probable conspiracy” involved. After all, they noted, there is no proof the gunmen knew each other.
Then again, maybe Oswald didn’t fire a gun that day at either Kennedy or Tippit. Maybe Oswald was a patsy, just as he said he was, with no stress level in his voice. In fact, Oswald COULD have been framed for a crime he did not commit to protect a conspiracy of people who did all the shots and got away with it. I’m an historian too, so I’ll pick this one. At least there’s evidence for all of it. John Judge