"JFK: INSIDE THE TARGET CAR"
Subject: "JFK: Inside The Target Car"
Date: 7/3/2009 1:35:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: David Von Pein
To: Gary Mack
I just felt like writing to you today to give you my support with regard to the
2008 Discovery Channel program that you were a part of "JFK: Inside The Target Car", which is a documentary, despite a few errors, that served its purpose very nicely (i.e., it demonstrated, via actual rifle tests, the direction from which the fatal head shot to President Kennedy must have come -- FROM BEHIND).
I've enjoyed reading some of the e-mails that you've been sending to various people in the last several days concerning "Inside The Target Car" (which have then been formatted into Internet messages), including the following very good excerpt culled from one such e-mail message:
"During production of 'JFK: Inside the Target Car' a year ago, I told the producer that the conspiracy buffs will either love me or hate me depending solely on what the tests revealed. Since the results proved the fatal shot came from behind and that JFK was not hit from the front, the buffs have resorted to trying to discredit me since they cannot criticize the science behind the experiment. Perhaps they expected me to phony the results? Such crazy rantings demonstrate to me who the nuts are, making it easy to differentiate between real researchers and everyone else." -- Gary Mack
I also wanted to remind you (in case you didn't know) that conspiracy theorist James DiEugenio was once again spouting his usual anti-Gary Mack and anti-"Target Car" nonsense on Len Osanic's "Black Op Radio" laughfest on July 2, 2009 [Click Here].
Near the end of the 7/2/09 Black Op program (as DiEugenio was winding down his interminably lengthy and meaningless critique of the "Inside The Target Car" program), DiEugenio issued a challenge to four people with whom Jim said he would like to have a debate about the "Target Car" documentary [and Jim also said he would debate any of these four "LNers" with respect to any of the material that DiEugenio has written in his multi-part review of Vince Bugliosi's book, "Reclaiming History"].
The four people Jim challenged are: John McAdams, Dave Reitzes, Gary Mack, and David Von Pein (that's me, even though host Len Osanic and DiEugenio seem to think that Reitzes and I are the very same person; and according to Osanic's comments on July 2nd, I guess I'm supposedly John McAdams in disguise too; that type of "alias" silliness never seems to end either).
As far as my own opinions about the "Target Car" program, I've pretty much laid out all of my thoughts in print form -- HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
And Mr. DiEugenio is beyond all mental help if he thinks he can debunk and undercut the logic (and truth) that resides in this excerpt from one of the above-linked Internet posts:
"The conspiracy nuts/retards act as if Gary Mack ALL BY HIMSELF is holding the "lone assassin" scenario together with his bare hands. As if Gary Mack...or ANY single person...needs to do ANYTHING at all in order to hold together the facts of the JFK assassination...with those facts being: Lee Harvey Oswald killed two people in Dallas on 11/22/63, and he almost certainly acted alone. (And so did Mr. Ruby.)
"Gary Mack could retire tomorrow and the "LN" scenario wouldn't crumble to bits. How could it? It's built on a bedrock of facts -- facts that Gary Mack HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH.
"As for the "JFK: Inside The Target Car" program -- it served its main purpose very well (despite Mr. DiEugenio's and Ms. [Milicent] Cranor's seemingly-endless efforts to rip the program to pieces with a million meaningless words of criticism).
"And that "main purpose" was to try and find out (via actual tests with various types of rifles) if President Kennedy could have been shot in the head with a gunshot that came from the FRONT of his automobile.
"And the answer to that question is a firm and undeniable "No", the President could not possibly have been shot in the head with a rifle bullet that came from anywhere in FRONT of his car.
"As the "Target Car" program amply demonstrated via actual tests, if a frontal shot had hit JFK in the head, his head would have probably either been completely blown off of his neck or would have resulted in obvious damage to the LEFT side of his head (if a lower-powered rifle like Oswald's Carcano had been used by a frontal gunman). ....
"The remainder of the "Target Car" program, other than the two "From The Knoll" tests, is not very important at all (in my opinion), because once it can be established that President Kennedy COULD NOT have been shot in the head from the FRONT (which is a fact that was definitely established, very firmly, in the "Target Car" program), then the math concerning the fatal head shot becomes pretty simple to perform....even for hardline conspiracy theorists. ....
"A secondary "purpose" that was accomplished during the...documentary was to see if Oswald's 6th-Floor gunshot to JFK's head could be duplicated within a reasonable degree of accuracy. And it was. ....
"But I'm sure that the conspiracy kooks of Planet Earth will continue to cry "FOUL" when examining every single test that has ever been done in trying to simulate the wounds of President Kennedy, including all of the Discovery Channel specials...[which all favor] the likelihood of a single assassin named Lee Oswald being able to perform his wicked deed of murder in 1963." -- DVP; June 22, 2009
As far as appearing as a guest on "Black Op Radio" in order to "debate" James DiEugenio's ridiculous and subjective (and flat-out loony) thoughts concerning the "Target Car" show [and Jim's nitpicking points regarding Vincent Bugliosi's book], I doubt the day will ever come when I'll actually have a desire to enter Mr. Osanic's playhouse of conspiracy-oriented silliness known as "Black Op Radio".
Mr. DiEugenio, however, seems to consider the Black Op "pigpen" his home away from home.*
* = I put "pigpen" in quotes there, because Jim D. called John McAdams' alt.assassination.jfk Internet newsgroup a "pigpen" on multiple occasions during the latter portions of his lengthy "Black Op Radio" appearance on July 2nd. So, I was merely reciprocating.
Evidently, according to Jim D., the "only place" that lone-assassin believers such as myself and Prof. McAdams and David A. Reitzes can go to promote our common-sense thoughts about Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt is to the "pigpen" that McAdams moderates at alt.assassination.jfk.
I guess DiEugenio doesn't realize that Mr. Reitzes and I (and probably Mr. McAdams too) have posted at several other JFK fora around the Internet over the years too.
I was a member of Debra Conway's JFK-Lancer forum for several years, up until July 28, 2005, which was the date when my posting privileges were suspended due to the fact that Ms. Conway got tired of having TWO different "LNers" posting a lot of lone-assassin facts on her forum at the same time.
Another lone-gunman believer had joined the forum just 11 days earlier and began posting a lot too. This became too much common sense for the conspiracy kooks at Lancer to bear, so we both got kicked out the Lancer door on the same day.
I've found that such restrictive anti-"LN" actions are commonplace around the Internet. In other words -- the conspiracy theorists want the whole field to themselves, and to hell with common sense and the actual EVIDENCE and the RAW FACTS of Lee Harvey Oswald's guilt.
With respect to debating Mr. DiEugenio on the subject of Vincent Bugliosi's book, that is something that I've already done (to a large extent) right here on the Internet during the last ten months, via a series of lengthy "Battling DiEugenio" posts that took me many, many hours to compose (plus a [multi]-part audio/video series I put together that amply destroys several of Mr. DiEugenio's absurd notions concerning the JFK assassination):
A couple of other things:
An additional hilarious (and stupendously silly) comment made by James DiEugenio on the 7/2/09 Black Op show was this one:
"If I ever met Hugh Aynesworth, I'd probably spit in his face. [He's] been dedicated to the [JFK assassination] cover-up from the day it happened."
That's hilarious, Jim. Hilarious.
DiEugenio also referred to Oswald's 19-year-old Book Depository co-worker, Buell Wesley Frazier, as a "suspicious character" during the July 2 Black Op program.
That's the kind of paranoid conspiracy theorist Mr. DiEugenio seems to be. Unbelievable.
Anyway, I just wanted to write to you and talk about the latest round of horse manure that surfaced on Osanic's conspiracy-laden radio show this week.
And a friendly piece of advice -- If you decide to take DiEugenio up on his "debate" offer, please don't forget to wear your wading boots and your gas mask -- because the bullshit that's dished out on "Black Op Radio" every week is at least a mile deep....and not exactly pleasant to sniff.
David Von Pein
Subject: "JFK: Inside The Target Car"
Date: 7/4/2009 8:37:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Gary Mack
To: David Von Pein
Thanks for your thoughts. The show's ["JFK: Inside The Target Car"] premise was quite simple: bullet goes in, matter comes out. We weren't trying to disprove anything. We merely tested the official story and the most likely second gunman theory. The results spoke eloquently.
As I mentioned in the show, IF there was a second gunman, he missed. There may still have been a conspiracy, but the man who killed President Kennedy fired from the TSBD window. Those who disagree are free to perform as many scientifically valid tests as their minds can envision.
As for why the test shots weren't fired in Dealey Plaza, there was no reason to do so. Such actions would be dangerous, pure exploitation and probably against the law, since the Plaza is a city park and a National Historic Landmark.
To minimize the horrific aspect of the test, we decided to have the brain matter and blood changed to unnatural colors; we also asked to have faces essentially featureless. I got JFK's hat size from the Kennedy Library and our Aussie scientists did the rest.
Michael Yardley's ammunition came from a collector who had Carcano rounds from the same lot as Oswald's, and his rifle was very close to the one Oswald bought from Klein's.
The TSBD distance, angle and elevation are well known, as is the Love Field weather bureau information I supplied for the wind speed and gusts recorded at 12:30pm just a few miles north of Dealey Plaza.
As a final check, I referred to the Muchmore film of the head shot, which shows Hill's and Moorman's coats blowing parallel to the limousine. That visual confirmation matched the weather bureau's records.
You may also wish to review the comments I made on the Discovery Channel's website (which have since been removed):
Q&A with Gary Mack:
November 17, 2008
JFK assassination expert, Gary Mack, served as a consultant for the Discovery show, "JFK: Inside the Target Car." Producer Tracy Staedter asked Gary five questions about his experience with the assassination and the making of the show.
1. The investigators involved with "JFK: Inside the Target Car" approached this decades' old controversy with an arsenal of experts, science and technology. What did they bring to the table that, in your 30-plus years of experience, you hadn't seen before?
GARY: The study offered the ability to examine the assassination in a new way, one that had never been done before. If we accurately recreated the physical aspects of the fatal shot to Kennedy’s head, we could observe whether the bullet’s effects match what appears in the Zapruder home movie of the shooting.
2. What was your favorite part of this experience?
GARY: The recreations in Dealey Plaza where the assassination actually happened, and those at a California gun range for our test shots. In Dallas, we had actors assuming the approximate positions of those in the presidential limousine. With Kennedy, however, we had to place our actor in the exact posture for both a suspected grassy knoll shot by a second gunman and the window shot from the former Texas School Book Depository.
3. Given the modern-day approach to this answering the controversial question, did you think that the investigators might find something new? Why or why not?
GARY: We had no idea what would happen and that’s what made the experience quite an adventure. We set up our targets and shooters as accurately as possible and stepped back to see and report on the results. We hoped our tests would be conclusive one way or another; the worst result, of course, would have been for the studies to have been inconclusive and, therefore, would not contribute to today’s knowledge of what really happened.
4. Even though the Discovery investigators used a slew of advanced technology and science, they still came up with the same results as the Warren Commission. What, in your opinion, does that say about the Warren Commission's tools as investigators?
GARY: The Warren Commission relied primarily upon trained FBI, Secret Service, Dallas Police and other investigators. Despite popular opinion and numerous revelations over the years of unanswered questions and unfollowed leads, no hard, unquestioned, evidence has surfaced showing anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy. It is fair to question, however, if he was working with others or whether he was the one firing. No test could answer those questions, of course.
5. Do you think that using more sophisticated techniques to draw essentially the same conclusion as the Warren Commission was a wasted use of technology? Why or why not?
GARY: Public opinion surveys have shown, starting that weekend in 1963, that most people do not believe only one man was responsible for the death of a president. What’s obvious in hindsight now is that government apparently believed most would accept the findings and move on to other concerns. That didn’t happen, so others, both private citizens and a second government investigation in the late 70s, delved further into the assassination. The result has been a blur of conflicting theories and opinions over the years that may or may not have any basis in fact. Oliver Stone’s “JFK” film popularized the “back and to the left” observation of the shooting that seemed to prove a second gunman fired from the front. Our test examined what crime scene investigators would have done in 1963 had they had been able to study the car before its evidence was disturbed. We also had the new ability to recreate a human head and fire actual bullets at it to observe the results. There could be no such study, and this program could not have been made, without high technology being able to duplicate the mass and density of a human head. We may have demonstrated a new way to analyze crime scenes and thus give law enforcement one very effective new tool!
Gary Mack Answers Blog Comments:
November 21, 2008
Gary Mack, curator at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, was asked by the producers to oversee the production and content of the Discovery Channel show, "JFK: Inside the Target Car." We asked for his personal comments about the program and answers to some of the questions following the premier broadcast. For brevity, the questions have been reworded:
QUESTION: Why didn’t your test include Kennedy being knocked back and to the left as seen in the film?
GARY MACK: That movement, which is so obvious in the Zapruder film, was a separate response. We only tested the initial effect of the bullet striking the skull and where the blood spatter went. For test-to-test consistency, it was important to have the heads mounted in the exact same position each time, so we mounted them on a rigid platform.
QUESTION: I noticed that Jackie Kennedy was not in the right position with regard to Kennedy in your Dealey Plaza test. [See photo below.]
GARY MACK: She wasn’t and we didn’t catch it at the time. At the moment of the fatal shot, Jackie’s head was in front of JFK, whereas our actor’s head was behind him. However, that error had no bearing on the purpose of the recreation in Dallas. The only actor who needed to be seated correctly was JFK, and he was perfectly placed. After all, we were only trying to show whether or not a sharpshooter could see his target -- Kennedy -- from the various locations.
QUESTION: You said you had four target skulls, but I only saw three of them being shot. What happened to the missing target?
GARY MACK: The “cutting room floor,” as they say, removed for time and clarity by Discovery. Their decision was reasonable, as there wasn’t enough time to include everything. The show’s producers and I very much wanted the scene to be shown; for that reason, it will be included in the DVD release of the show. .... For that shot, fired from behind, Michael missed the spot on the skull slightly, resulting in damage on the right side of the skull. Nevertheless, the blood spray pattern was very similar to the second attempt from our Depository window.
QUESTION: So what happened to the bullets you fired? Were they examined after the shots?
GARY MACK: Michael Yardley fired four times, but only one bullet was recovered. One bullet, of course, fragmented as it was designed to do. Two of the other three were never found. The two bullets fired from behind went through the target and continued through the mock limousine and struck the ground. One went off down the gun range and the other lodged under the tire of the wind machine. It was significantly deformed, but that could have happened when it struck the ground first.
QUESTION: So the bullets that hit the head did not fragment like Oswald’s did?
GARY MACK: No, and that was quite a surprise. Carcano bullets are military, metal jacketed bullets designed not to fragment upon impact. Oswald’s did, but ours did not. We do not know why that happened.
QUESTION: Why did you choose such odd colors for the brain interior?
GARY MACK: We did not want to use red, since that would have been rather gross to watch. And we couldn’t use a clear liquid since that wouldn’t show up on camera. For best visibility on television, we used bold colors that were easy to see. The HD version of the show has clearer images than the regular TV version.
QUESTION: Why did you use a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle for the grassy knoll shot? Wouldn’t a gunman there use something smaller or less noisy?
GARY MACK: As mentioned by our narrator, we could have used almost anything, since we were dealing with a hypothetical situation. We decided on an identical rifle to Oswald’s because, if he had been framed for the assassination (Oswald claimed he was “a patsy”), it seems likely that another gunman would use the same ammunition. If a different weapon were used, investigators would find that evidence and conclude there were two guns. A conspiracy to frame Oswald would want investigators to think there was only one gun.
QUESTION: How do you really know the wind was blowing straight at the car? I know you referenced the weather bureau data, but maybe the wind gusts came at an angle?
GARY MACK: A home movie by Marie Muchmore, taken from the other side of the street from Zapruder, shows the moment of the fatal head shot. Eyewitness Jean Hill appears near the limousine and her coat is blown directly to her right, thus indicating the precise direction of the wind at that moment in time.
QUESTION: I noticed that your depository shot severely damaged the top right of the target skull, but that’s not what happened to Kennedy. Why the difference?
GARY MACK: Although our test shot struck very, very close to the actual bullet entry hole, no such test can be absolutely exact. What’s more important is the effect of the bullet and whether or not the blood spatter matches the film of the actual shooting or not.
QUESTION: Why did you ignore the "magic bullet theory" that Kennedy and Connally were both wounded by one bullet?
GARY MACK: We tackled that theory in the third of four Unsolved History programs for the Discovery Channel. In that program, Beyond the Magic Bullet, the producers concluded that the "magic bullet" was possible, though the results may not have been as conclusive as the test in "JFK: Inside the Target Car."
Subject: "JFK: Inside The Target Car"
Date: 7/5/2009 3:38:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: David Von Pein
To: Gary Mack
Hi again Gary,
Thank you for your very (very) detailed return e-mail regarding the "Inside The Target Car" program. There's a lot of good and informative stuff in that Q&A.
I'm sure that the hardline conspiracy theorists, however, have already claimed that all of your answers are "not good enough", but that's to be expected from people who desperately want a conspiracy (and a Grassy Knoll gunman) in the JFK case.
David Von Pein
LINK TO ORIGINAL POST (JULY 5, 2009)
Posted By: David Von Pein