The subject of Warren Commissioner Gerald Ford "moving" the location of President Kennedy's back wound has come up quite a bit in the wake of Mr. Ford's death on December 26, 2006; with, of course, the conspiracy theorists of the world highlighting how Ford supposedly "moved" the wound for some conspiratorial or "cover-up" purposes.
But if CTers were to examine the WHOLE record of the JFK back wound (and the genesis of the Single-Bullet Theory), they'd realize that Ford's moving of the wound (on paper) actually tends to do the SBT more HARM than it does good!
I hadn't really realized that fact until just recently....with this fact coming to the forefront via some JFK Forum postings written by Jean Davison (the author of the 1983 book "Oswald's Game").
Why does the "Ford Move" do the SBT more harm than good, you ask?
Well, for starters, there's this photo of CE903 (showing Arlen Specter with a probe/rod being held up for the cameraman to photograph)....
....We can easily see that the metal rod does not indicate that JFK's back wound is in the "neck". It's definitely in the upper back; with an exit point JUST EXACTLY at the tie knot, perfectly matching the SBT's flight path.
This CE903 evidence is something that I had seen many times before; but I hadn't really thought about its significance too much. Most CTers, in their usual "Everything Must Be Faked/Phony" style, scoff at CE903, claiming it proves the SBT is "impossible", for some reason....which is obviously a kooky notion, because it proves no such thing.
In some recent postings at "The Education Forum", Jean Davison was highlighting the significance of CE903, and reminding everyone who would listen that the photo that is seen in CE903 actually does, indeed, visibly show the general path/trajectory of the SBT, just exactly how Specter (et al) purported it as happening.
And the CE903 photo is also is general agreement (location-wise) with the autopsy photo showing John F. Kennedy's back wound....
To quote Jean herself:
"Both Morningstar and Kurtz claim that the entry wound HAD to be raised to the "back of the neck" in order to make the Warren Commission's single bullet theory work. But the assertion isn't supported, it's simply a claim.
Furthermore, the claim is false, since there was no need to raise the wound into the nape of the neck. Here's the official WC illustration of the SBT, Commission Exhibit 903:
Whether one agrees with it or not, that IS the WC's trajectory for the single bullet, and as you can see, it doesn't require an entry in "the back of the neck".
I respectfully ask that you take another look at this issue. My question is still, what evidence is there that Ford made his revision in order to support the SBT?" -- Jean Davison; December 31, 2006
"To my knowledge, [nobody] has ever explained how moving the back wound up to THE NECK supports the SBT. Nobody CAN support it, because moving the entry to the neck would destroy the WC's SBT trajectory, not strengthen it.
Again I'll refer you to CE 903. Although Specter didn't drill a hole in the stand-in's body and drive the rod through it, had he done so, the entry would be in the upper back, not in the neck. There's a string on the wall above his hand that shows an angle of about 18 degrees -- that's the approximate angle measured by a surveyor during the re-enactment and the one the WC used for its SBT. If the rod is moved up to the neck, the bullet will exit well above the exit wound under JFK's Adam's apple. Or take a look at this photo of JFK.
Try drawing a line of c. 18 degrees backward from the knot in JFK's tie. Where does it come out? Upper back, right? The claim that Ford's change "strengthens" the WC's SBT is simply not true. If I haven't made my point by now, I give up." -- Jean Davison; January 2, 2007
Is it any wonder why I've always loved the woman named "Jean" who wrote the above common-sense-filled remarks regarding Gerald Ford and the Single-Bullet Theory?
David Von Pein
January 6, 2007
JEAN DAVISON SAID:
The downward trajectory of the bullet exiting below Kennedy's Adam's apple was approximately 18 degrees according to surveyors' calculations for the HSCA and WC. Going backward from the exit (at the knot in his tie), 18 degrees puts the entry somewhere in his upper back. Moving the entry up to the neck would make the bullet's angle too steep to have hit Connally where it did, imo. I think this can be seen in almost any side view of JFK:
The angle from nape of his neck to the tie knot looks closer to 45 degrees, imo. Where could that shot have come from, a helicopter?
Ford didn't need to move the back wound up. And in fact he didn't, since the phrase he revised put the wound on "his back at a point slightly above the shoulder." [Jean's emphasis.] It can't be above the shoulder and still be in the back. (Except maybe in conspiracyland where apparently anything is possible.)
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
And just one quick look at CE903 tells us that the WC did not "move" the wound up into Kennedy's "neck". Specter's pointer in CE903 places the wound just where the autopsy photo has it--in the upper back--which works perfectly for the SBT bullet, moving downward at an angle of 17.72 degrees, to exit right at the tie knot....
JEAN DAVISON SAID:
I've said repeatedly that the wound was in the upper back, below the shoulders. It doesn't matter where the Rydberg drawing put it, or where Ford put it, or where the hole in the jacket was. Kennedy wasn't wounded in any of those places. The entry wound is where it's shown in the autopsy photos, in his UPPER BACK.
PAT SPEER SAID:
So WHY did members of the Warren Commission's staff claim the wound was in the neck, after viewing photos proving it to have been in the back?
And WHY did the Johnson Justice Dept., after viewing the photos and knowing full well the wound was in the back, pressure the autopsy doctors into telling the media and the country they'd reviewed the autopsy photos and that this review had proved the wound was where it is shown in the Rydberg drawings, in the neck?
It's one thing to suspect Oswald acted alone, but it's another thing entirely to pretend there was no deliberate deception regarding the location of the back wound.
JEAN DAVISON SAID:
I don't "pretend," Pat, and I resent that implication.
I don't know what you're referring to that you're interpreting as "pressure," but that's your interpretation. I doubt that Ford, for one, knew the exact location of the back/neck wound. I think he recognized that the sentence as written couldn't possibly be right since there's nothing "in the back slightly above the shoulders." By definition, above the shoulders is "neck." Ford tried to correct it and made matters worse.
One thing I feel certain of is that there was no rational motive for anyone to "raise" the back wound. Moving it to the neck doesn't support the SBT, no matter what suspicion may tell you. An entry in the neck would destroy the SBT trajectory.
This reminds me of the old claim that Z frames 314 and 315 were reversed in the WC exhibits deliberately. "They" were trying to make the backward head movement disappear, some writers said. Except that the reversal did no such thing, and it was immediately obvious that the two frames were simply out of order.
Imo, it often seems that CTs don't allow for human error or Murphy's law or Hanlon's razor ("Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity [or incompetence].")
PAT SPEER SAID:
When you study the history of the back wound, Jean, it's 100% clear to anyone not named Pollyanna that a number of people, from Humes and Boswell to Specter and Lattimer, have lied about the back wound location.
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
What you call "lies", I would classify as merely semantics. And I truly believe that, too.
Because there was simply no reason for anyone to want to start telling a bunch of lies regarding the true location of John F. Kennedy's upper-back wound. And CE903, once again, proves my point here....
Exhibit 903, like it or not, does NOT show the wound of entry to be in the "neck" of JFK. It is positively in the UPPER BACK. And as such, any future references made by people such as Arlen Specter or Gerald Ford (or anyone else) to a wound in the "neck" are merely careless misstatements when attempting to describe the location of where the wound was. It's a semantics problem, in my opinion, and nothing more.
We see it over and over again in the Warren Commission volumes and in the Warren Report itself---references to a wound in the "neck" of President Kennedy....
"During the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital another bullet wound was observed near the base of the back of President Kennedy's neck..."
-- WR; Page 87
"The position of President Kennedy's car when he was struck in the neck..."
-- WR; Page 97
"A surveyor then placed his sighting equipment at the precise point of entry on the back of the President's neck..."
-- WR; Page 106
And it's fairly obvious that those references to "neck" in the Warren Report that I just cited above are references that were put on paper by the Commission AFTER the assassination reconstruction was performed in a Dallas garage on May 24, 1964, that resulted in Lyndal Shaneyfelt taking the picture seen in Commission Exhibit 903.
And since that photograph in CE903 does not indicate that there was a bullet wound of entrance in the "neck" of John Kennedy, where does that really leave any of the conspiracy theorists who want to still insist that the Warren Commission (and other people) "lied" about the true location of JFK's upper-back wound?
Do those conspiracists think Arlen Specter, et al, had a strong desire to look like idiots when they continued to refer to the "back" wound as a "neck" wound in various places within the WCR, even though Specter knows that CE903 is ALSO going to be part of the public record, which clearly shows the wound to be in the BACK of the JFK stand-in?
In other words, why would Specter (et al) lie when Commission Exhibit 903 proves forever and for always that there was absolutely NO NEED to lie about this matter at all?
It seems to me as if some of the people describing the location of that wound, including the person or persons who were responsible for writing the words we find on those three pages of the final Warren Commission Report that I quoted above, were in a bit of a quandary about how to precisely describe the part of the body where the bullet entered due to the fact that it entered at a place on JFK's body where the "neck" and the "back" are merging. So we sometimes got differing descriptions.
But it's pretty clear that even though CE903 is providing solid VISUAL confirmation that the bullet entered in the upper BACK of JFK, the people in charge of writing up the 888-page Warren Report still, for the most part, favored the use of the word "neck" instead. (Go figure.)
David Von Pein
December 7, 2014
JEAN DAVISON SAID:
In my opinion, Oswald was not only guilty, he was obviously guilty, but I wouldn't tell anyone, "One can only avoid that conclusion by refusing to look at the evidence." If you don't see it, you don't see it. I don't interpret the evidence the same way you do. When you end up with a large number of people "lying" for no apparent reason, that's a red flag, imo.
I'm no Pollyanna, I'm a Doubting Thomas. Can you show me a SBT trajectory of c. 18 degrees that works when the wound is raised to the neck -- specifically, a trajectory from the SN [Sniper's Nest] exiting at the tie knot and hitting Connally where it did? Without that, there's no motive for anyone to lie about the wound's location.
As I recall, Boswell told a Baltimore newspaper that the wound was where the autopsy measurements placed it: c. 5 1/2 inches below the mastoid process. Isn't that in the upper back?
I think a part of the confusion came from "semantics," as David suggests. The bullet entered the upper back but since the throat extends below the shoulders on the front of the body, the bullet also passed through and exited a part of the neck. It was a "back/neck wound," literally.
IMO, the "Pollyanna" view of the assassination is thinking that Kennedy was killed by his political enemies. This gives his death significance and makes it understandable. It suggests an orderly universe where things happen for a reason. But if you're stuck with believing as I do that the assassination was a senseless random event with JFK and LHO arriving on Elm St. on the same day entirely by chance, that's a very bleak view. Pollyanna would curl up and die.