Why are so many people running up the Grassy Knoll in the above photograph, which was taken just a few minutes after President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas' Dealey Plaza? Click HERE, HERE, and HERE for some of my thoughts on the matter.
As most people know, eyewitness and earwitness testimony is very
often the least dependable type of evidence to rely on with respect to
relating it to a particular crime that has been committed. And that
rule of thumb must also apply to the assassination of President
John F. Kennedy as well.
With respect to the earwitnesses who heard the gunfire resound through
Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963 (the day when JFK
was murdered by a single rifleman, Lee Harvey Oswald), there can be no
question that there were varied accounts of exactly where in that
park-like Plaza the gunshots had come from.
Many witnesses thought the shots had come from the now-famous
"Grassy Knoll" area in front of the President's limousine; while even a
larger percentage of witnesses heard shots from the direction of the
Texas School Book Depository Building to the rear of the car (a building
from where Mr. Oswald was physically seen firing a rifle at the President,
and a building wherein Oswald's own rifle was discovered 52 minutes
after President Kennedy's assassination).
So, which of the earwitnesses are right and who among them is wrong?
Or, are ALL of these witnesses to be considered "correct" in a sense,
in that shots were fired from both the front and the rear of Kennedy's
The answer to that last question is an undeniable (and provable) -- No.
The reason, in my view, that both "camps" of earwitnesses ("front" vs.
"rear") cannot each be accurate when it comes to what they heard is due
to an often ignored, overlooked, or buried statistic concerning these
same earwitnesses -- i.e., the number of them who heard shots coming
from MORE THAN ONE DIRECTION.
I like to drag out the following pie charts from John McAdams' website
every now and then, just to remind conspiracy theorists of the tough
fight they've got when it comes to putting a lot of faith in the
Dealey Plaza witnesses who said they heard shots coming from the
Grassy Knoll area:
The above "Where Did The Shots Come From?" chart illustrates a very
interesting thing about the Dealey Plaza assassination earwitnesses
who fall into the "Grassy Knoll" section of the chart -- it clearly illustrates
that ALL OF THEM WERE WRONG.
How does it illustrate that?
Since everybody knows, even all conspiracy theorists of the world
(except perhaps David S. Lifton), that at least SOME of the gunshots
originated from the REAR of Kennedy's limousine during the
assassination (otherwise, how on Earth can anybody--including Lifton--
logically explain the UPPER-BACK ENTRY WOUNDS to both President
Kennedy and Governor Connally?), then the 33.7% of the 104 witnesses
that comprise the data used for the above McAdams pie chart are wrong
when they said that ALL of the shots they heard (regardless of the
exact number of shots) came from ONLY the Grassy Knoll.
Are we really supposed to believe that those "Knoll Only" witnesses
somehow managed to hear MULTIPLE gunshots coming from the area of
the Grassy Knoll (and virtually all of those witnesses certainly heard
more than just ONE shot fired; in fact, probably all of them heard
multiple shots), and yet at the same time ALL of the people making up
that 33.7% of Dealey witnesses, incredibly, didn't hear a single one of
the known gunshots that originated from the Book Depository, which
was to the REAR of President Kennedy's car?
The key statistic, in my opinion, in the above pie chart is the
"Two Directions" pie slice. Only 4.8% of those 104 witnesses (which
is a mere FIVE witnesses out of 104!) said they heard gunshots coming
from TWO distinct and separate locations in Dealey Plaza.
[NOTE -- John McAdams updated his charts in 2013, with the new info
revealing that even FEWER people--a total of only three (Sam Holland,
Paul Landis, and A.J. Millican)--fall into the "Two Directions" category.
Click HERE and HERE.]
That's incredibly significant, especially when we consider the type of
multi-gun scenarios placed on the assassination table by people like
Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone, and Robert Groden. Those conspiracy
theorists have conjured up scenarios which include a ridiculously
large number of shooters and gunshots -- with Garrison at one point in
1967 suggesting that "there were at least five or six shots fired at
the President from front and rear by at least four gunmen"! [Quoting
from Jim Garrison's October 1967 "Playboy" interview.]
And Oliver Stone put his nutsville "One Patsy" theory on the movie
screen, so it can be enjoyed and laughed at for all time--with Stone
thinking Oswald was being set up as a LONE PATSY even though Stone's
got THREE GUNMEN (and none of them Oswald, of course) and SIX gunshots
being fired at President Kennedy! Talk about wishful thinking!
And then there's Robert J. Groden, who thinks that as many as TEN
shots were fired at the President, coming from a whole host of
different locations in Dealey Plaza, both front and rear (see pages 20
through 40 of Groden's "The Killing Of A President" for more details
about Bob's overkill fantasy theory).
Here's what really happened with respect to those "Grassy Knoll"
witnesses (almost as assuredly as grass is green):
The 33% of "Knoll" earwitnesses quite obviously heard the ONLY shots
that were really fired in the Plaza on 11/22/63--which were the three
that came from Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle on the sixth floor of the
Book Depository--but the acoustics in the Plaza played some tricks on
those witnesses' ears, and they thought that ALL of the shots (from
the TSBD) had come from a point FURTHER WEST in Dealey Plaza, nearer
the Grassy Knoll.
But the KEY is that only FIVE out of 104 witnesses thought shots came
from MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS. And please note that there wasn't a single
witness in the Plaza (that I am aware of anyway) who said they thought
shots came from THREE different places, which is really what you would
expect at least A FEW of the witnesses to hear if Oliver Stone's
"triangulation of crossfire" THREE-SHOOTER assassination plot had
really taken place on November 22nd.
And even if you want to think John McAdams has deliberately chosen
only the witnesses who might help his "Lone Nut" conclusions in the
above pie chart, there are other very similar earwitness charts available
to study, such as the ones below:
The HSCA's witness tabulation reveals that a mere 4.0% of the
witnesses thought they heard shots coming from more than one location:
And Stewart Galanor, a conspiracy theorist(!), put together an
interesting "witness" study. Although Galanor inflates the number of
"Knoll" earwitnesses to a larger percentage than it probably is (as
did Josiah Thompson in his study), the key to his chart (once again)
is the amazingly low percentage of people who claimed to hear shots
coming from "TWO DIRECTIONS".
Galanor has a mere 4.6% of the witnesses occupying the "Two Directions"
section of this pie chart (and please note, again, there's not even a slice
of this pie reserved for "Three Directions" at all; so, once again, Oliver
Stone's three-gunmen theory seems to be having a difficult time taking
And Josiah Thompson, another conspiracy believer, only has 6.3% of the
witnesses falling into the "Two Directions" category:
Here's what John McAdams says on his website (source pages linked
"This "two locations" number is exceedingly important. There is
overwhelming evidence that at least some shots were fired from behind
the motorcade. Several witnesses saw a shooter, or at least a gun in
the sixth floor sniper's nest window. The medical evidence is clear
that both Kennedy and Connally were hit from behind (regardless of
whether either was also hit from the front). Once we understand that
at least some shots came from behind, it is hard to see how shots
could also have come from the Grassy Knoll without more witnesses
reporting shots from more than one direction. It begins to look like
some were confused about THE direction of the shots." -- John McAdams
Two witnesses who never varied in their "What Direction?" testimony
were two of the people who were actually riding in the same car as
assassination victim JFK -- John and Nellie Connally. They had
absolutely no doubt whatsoever that all of the gunshots they heard had
come from over their right shoulder (from the direction of the Book
Depository Building). Governor Connally, who was severely wounded and
nearly killed by one of Oswald's bullets in the attack, was particularly
adamant in his belief concerning the direction of the shots. Listen to
him say so here:
In my view, the best way to arrive at the probable truth regarding the
JFK murder is to add up the physical and circumstantial evidence
(including all witness accounts) and gauge what is most likely to be
And once the evidence is gathered together in one place, is it MORE
likely for several shots to have totally missed the car and all potential
victims, AND for virtually everybody in the surrounding vicinity to have
mistakenly identified just a SINGLE location as the source of the gunfire
when there had actually been two or more sources, AND for the vast
majority of these same witnesses to have all been in error when they
said to have heard only "three shots" fired; with less than 9% of all
witnesses actually hearing a number of gunshots (four or more) that
conspiracy theorists need to have fired in order to have a prayer at
debunking the One-Assassin conclusion reached by the Warren
-- Or: --
Is it MORE likely that only a single killer from behind JFK's car was
firing a gun in Dealey Plaza that day, with one of his shots missing
the car completely, while two bullets hit victims inside the vehicle?
The vast bulk of both the physical and the circumstantial evidence
revolving around the events of 11/22/63 leads in only one (irrevocable)
direction....and it's not toward "conspiracy". It's toward a single
killer on the sixth floor of the Book Depository....a killer by the name
of Lee Harvey Oswald with rifle #C2766 in his hands.
Given the totality of the ballistics, witness, and autopsy evidence, no
conclusion other than a "Lone Assassin" one is even possible. Evidence
1.) Oswald's rifle being found in the TSBD (on the "Death Floor").
2.) Oswald being physically seen aiming and firing a rifle from the
3.) Three bullet shells from Oswald's rifle being found in the TSBD.
4.) Two bullet fragments from Oswald's rifle being found in JFK's
5.) A huge majority of witnesses hearing exactly three shots fired.
6.) The official autopsy report verifying the fact that no frontal
shots hit JFK's body.
7.) The lack of ANY "non-Oswald" bullets being found anywhere within a
country mile of the assassination scene or Parkland Hospital.
8.) And the previously discussed very important statistic of LESS THAN
5% OF ALL WITNESSES HEARING SHOTS FROM MORE THAN JUST A SINGLE
And the "silenced weapons" argument is a silly one for conspiracists to
use to try and combat that low percentage of multi-location witnesses,
unless those same CTers wish to completely jettison their long-held belief
that some witnesses really DID hear some gunshots from the Knoll area.
Because what kind of brainless plotters would be "silencing" only SOME
of the frontal gunshots, but not others? That's just dumb.
Nearly ALL of the witnesses (90%+) agree that the number of shots did
not exceed three, with more than 75% of them agreeing that there were
exactly THREE shots fired (and that includes virtually every person who
was in a position to initially report the shooting to the world via television,
radio, and wire services; e.g., Jay Watson, Pierce Allman, Merriman Smith,
Jack Bell, Robert MacNeil, Jerry Haynes, Mal Couch, Jim Underwood,
And there's virtually no disagreement among the 200+ witnesses as to
the number of DIRECTIONS those three shots came from -- it was 1.
So we have a very large (almost unanimous) consensus on these two key
Number of shots -- 3.
Number of directions the shots came from -- 1.
And since we know beyond all possible doubt that multiple rifle shots
were being fired from the Texas School Book Depository (to the REAR of
JFK's limo), with the three shell casings from Oswald's Mannlicher-
Carcano rifle that were left on the floor of the TSBD's Sniper's Nest
confirming this fact beyond all possible doubt, then the math isn't
overly difficult beyond this point.
Now, let's see the conspiracy theorists try and tackle those above two
statistics and the above logic that resides in my last paragraph and
come up with a coherent theory about how it was somehow impossible for
Lee Harvey Oswald to have acted alone because of all those "Grassy
of evidence, I agree. But those two witness charts are pretty overwhelming
in the "THREE SHOTS OR FEWER" and "ONE DIRECTION" categories --
especially when we consider that the number of witnesses included in
these polls is a triple-digit number.
When sorting through all of the above, which of these things is more
likely to be true regarding the murder of John F. Kennedy? ----
A multi-gunmen conspiracy with four or more shots fired in Dallas'
A solo nutcase in the Book Depository killing the President with his
David Von Pein
April 11, 2006
April 20, 2010
April 22, 2010