RECONSTRUCTING THE STEPS OF
A PRESIDENTIAL ASSASSIN


Many JFK conspiracy theorists over the years seem to have fallen in
love with the general idea that President Kennedy's assassin (Lee
Harvey Oswald) could not have possibly shot Kennedy from a southeast
corner window on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository
Building and then travelled across the length of that 6th Floor, hiding
the rifle along the way, and then travelled down four flights of stairs
in time to be seen by Dallas policeman Marrion L. Baker (who saw Oswald
in the Depository's 2nd-Floor lunchroom approximately 90 seconds after
the assassination).

Conspiracy buffs like to occasionally drag the above argument out of
their stale closet in order to buttress the theory that has Oswald being
totally innocent of any wrong-doing on November 22nd, 1963 (the day
of President Kennedy's assassination).

Unfortunately for the CTers who embrace the silly notion that Oswald's
trip from the sixth to the second floor was impossible to accomplish
in the allotted timeframe, the verifiable evidence proves that those
conspiracy believers are 100% wrong when it comes to this aspect of the
assassination timeline. Because it was easily a doable trek for Oswald,
or anybody else with two legs who wasn't walking on crutches.

Here's why:

A.) Multiple re-creations were performed by the Warren Commission
during its nearly ten-month investigation into JFK's murder which
verify the fact that a trip from the "Sniper's Nest" window on the 6th
Floor of the Book Depository to the building's 2nd-Floor lunchroom
could be accomplished in less than 80 seconds (and without the person
doing the re-creation being the slightest bit out of breath upon
reaching his second-floor destination).

John J. Howlett, a Secret Service agent, twice re-enacted Lee Oswald's
probable post-shooting movements. It took Howlett 78 seconds on his
first attempt and 74 seconds on his second (which was done at a
slightly quicker pace, but not a "running" pace).*

These re-enactments also included taking the time for Howlett to hide a
rifle near the sixth-floor stairwell (which is where Oswald's rifle was
found less than an hour after the shooting on 11/22/63). And Agent
Howlett was not out of breath upon reaching the 2nd Floor on either of
the reconstructions.

"Howlett was not short-winded at the end of either test run." -- Quote from
the Warren Report (Page 152).

Hence....

B.) Lee Harvey Oswald (whose legs were not in plaster casts on 11/22/63
the last time I checked on that) could most certainly have traversed
the necessary distance in approximately that same amount of time.

The Warren Commission did re-creations of not only Oswald's probable
movements, but the Commission also performed two reconstructions of
the known movements of Dallas Police Officer Marrion Baker as well.

Baker was able to re-enact his November 22 movements in an average
of 82.5 seconds, covering two reconstructions. [Again see WCR, Pg. 152.]

It isn't clear from reading the Warren Report, however, whether the
re-enactments performed by Agent Howlett to simulate Oswald's
probable movements began after the first shot was fired from the
sixth-floor sniper's perch or after the third and final shot had been
fired. The re-enactments of Officer Baker's movements, according to
both the Warren Report and Baker's own testimony, began after Baker
heard the FIRST shot fired.

Critics, of course, might very well point to this possible discrepancy
and claim that the Warren Commission was deliberately falsifying
the re-creations in order to give Oswald (Howlett) a 7- or 8-second
"head start", thereby permitting Oswald/Howlett to reach the
second-floor lunchroom ahead of Officer Baker.

But even if we were to add 8 seconds onto the time of Agent
Howlett's reconstructions (with 8 seconds being the approximate
amount of time it took for Oswald to fire all three of his shots at
the President on 11/22/63), the timing of the Baker/Oswald
encounter on the Depository's second floor still works out quite
well--almost to the second, in fact, with Baker reaching the
second floor in an average of 82.5 seconds based on his two
re-creations, while Howlett (Oswald) would have taken an
average of 84 seconds to reach the second-floor lunchroom
(covering his two re-enactments via the adjusted longer time).

And if 8 seconds were to be added to Howlett's slowest re-enactment,
the one which had Howlett moving at only a "normal walking pace",
then Oswald (Howlett) would have reached the lunchroom on the
second floor in 86 seconds, which was still four seconds ahead of Baker's
slowest time of 90 seconds.

Plus, when some ordinary common sense is added to this topic about
the re-enactments of Lee Harvey Oswald's probable actions and
movements, it's fairly obvious that Oswald, who had just killed the
President from the sixth floor of the Book Depository, would have
almost certainly been moving a good deal faster than a "normal walk"
or a "fast walk", which are the paces utilized by Agent Howlett during
his two re-creations.

So, when adding in that extra little bit of common sense when evaluating
Lee Oswald's movements and his probable speed as he left the Sniper's Nest
on the sixth floor, the four re-creations done by both Howlett and Baker
for the Warren Commission fit very nicely with a scenario that has Oswald
firing three shots from the sixth floor at 12:30 PM on November 22 and
still being able to reach the second-floor lunchroom by 12:31:30 PM.

In addition:

We can also be confident that the two simulated re-enactments done by
Marrion Baker for the Warren Commission on March 20, 1964, resulted in
Baker reaching the second floor of the Book Depository FASTER than he
actually did on the day of the assassination in November 1963. This crucial
point comes out in Baker's own testimony in front of the Commission:

"We simulated the shots and by the time we got there, we did everything
that I did that day, and this would be the minimum, because I am sure
that...it took me a little longer [on 11/22/63]."
-- Marrion L. Baker; March 25, 1964 [3 H 252]

Many conspiracy theorists, of course, think the entire 888-page Warren
Report is full of nothing but lies and misrepresentations, so they probably
also are of the opinion that the re-creations performed by Howlett and
Baker are totally inaccurate as well.

But, IMO, there's no good enough reason to believe that the Warren
Commission deliberately lied about any of the facts in their final report.
Most conspiracy theorists would laugh right in my face at having uttered
that last pro-WC comment. But my response to such laughter would be
to say with glee: To hell with the conspiracy kooks!

I, myself, think it's about time for the assorted JFK Conspiracy Nuts
to either "cook or get off the stove"! That is to say -- the kooks who
cry "conspiracy" at the drop of a hat need to come up with a verifiable,
logical, workable, believable, reasonable, and (above all) COHERENT
conspiracy-slanted scenario to show once and for all -- shot-by-shot --
how John F. Kennedy was assassinated by more than one gunman in
Dealey Plaza on November the 22nd, 1963.

Then the CT-Kooks need to accomplish the daunting task of telling the
world (again in a believable, reasonable, and non-laughable fashion)
just how in the heck those amazing "plotters" who cooked up such a
multi-shooter assassination scheme were able to somehow get rid of
every last scrap of "non-Oswald" (i.e., non-Rifle #C2766) bullet
evidence so that only bullets and fragments and spent cartridges from
Lee Harvey Oswald's weapons were found and placed into the official
record of JFK's murder case (including the J.D. Tippit murder as well).

Yes, sometimes it is indeed kind of difficult to separate fact from
mere theory -- which is a big reason (IMO) why some of the crazy
things purported in Oliver Stone's theory-riddled motion picture "JFK"
have seemingly sprouted legs since that movie burst onto the national
scene in late 1991.

Many conspiracy theorists seem to possess the following attitude---

Well, you can't PROVE that Oswald didn't have some accomplices on
11/22/63, so I (as a conspiracy believer) get to believe any theory I
please, no matter how stupid it is -- such as the Oliver Stone
"3-Shooter, 6-Shot, 1-Patsy" theory, which has a trio of gunmen
firing at John Kennedy while at the SAME time these idiot plotters
were attempting to frame a LONE PATSY named Oswald for the death
of the President.

Can theories GET more lamebrained than that one? If so, please tell me
how?

The silliness of the widely-accepted "MULTI-GUN / ONE-PATSY" conspiracy
plot is something I've been harping on for years. But since it's been
shown to have likely happened by way of Oliver Stone's movie camera, I
guess a lot of people feel they should just simply roll over and bury
their common sense and accept such a wild theory as being the absolute
truth.

Well, no thanks. Such unverifiable speculation is not for me. I'm not
going to blindly accept the Stone/Garrison Patsy fantasy as fact.

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* It should also be noted that the House Select Committee on Assassinations,
in 1977, also performed a re-enactment of Lee Harvey Oswald's alleged movements, with the HSCA's test being done at a "running" pace. That particular test had "Oswald" travelling from the sixth-floor Sniper's Nest to the second floor of the Depository in just 46 seconds. [See HSCA Record 180-10115-10004, dated September 19, 1977, pages 11 and 12.]

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AN "LN" WRAP-UP:

The Lone-Assassin (Oswald) scenario makes infinitely more coherent
sense than any of the piecemeal, scattershot conspiracy theories that
have been splashed up against the wall in random, unconnected fashion
since 1963 -- including Oliver Stone's absurd theories that somehow
made it to the movie screen (with Mr. Stone getting a little added
help, of course, from the theories being placed on the Conspiracy Table
by Jim Garrison, Jim Marrs, and Robert Groden).

Conspiracy buffs can moan all they want about the Warren Commission's
lone-gunman conclusion, but those same conspiracists haven't yet come
up with any kind of verifiable multi-assassin "replacement" scenario
that comes even remotely close to undermining the WC's original 1964
conclusions -- especially when it comes to "replacing" the Commission's
fully-acceptable and almost-certain-to-be-accurate "Single-Bullet Theory".

In recent years, after seeing nothing from CTers that advances the notion
of conspiracy (other than mere unsupportable guesswork), I am now firmly
rooted in my opinion that all conspiracy theories relating to the assassination
of President John F. Kennedy should be flushed down the nearest porcelain
bowl.

David Von Pein
September 2006
September 2012