(PART 59)



>>> "Vincent Bugliosi attempts to rewrite the record...by calling LHO a "good shot"." <<<


Oswald was a "good shot"--by Marine standards. And I'd say he was probably a "very good shot" by ordinary civilian standards.

How can there be any doubt of that fact? He fired a 212 in 1956 when he first joined the Marines, which made him a "sharpshooter". And he still qualified as a "marksman" with a score of 191 shortly before he left the Marine Corps.

Yes, a 191 isn't any great shakes for a Marine. But I think we can all agree that being classified as a "marksman" by the United States military is, indeed, a good deal better than most "average" Americans who fire guns as a hobby.

I know that Jim D. will bash me over the head for saying this -- but I agree with what John McAdams said on this point in the 2009 debate John had with Jim.


Oswald was a "gung-ho Marine" (Mr. McAdams' words) when he joined the Marine Corps in 1956. But by the time he was getting ready to leave the Corps in late 1959, Oswald's attitude toward the Marines had soured significantly. And I think even most conspiracists will agree with that point. And yet Oswald still fired a good-enough score in 1959 to at least qualify as a "marksman".

Yes, 1959 was four years before Oswald shot President Kennedy, and perhaps his shooting skills had, indeed, deteriorated even below "marksman" level by 11/22/63. But we really can never know all of the specifics about Oswald's abilities with a rifle as of November 1963. It's one of those forever "unanswerables".

But we DO know that Lee Oswald did make a fairly decent score of 212 on the rifle range in the Marines in 1956 (which is an average score for a Marine).

And we also know that the shooting in Dealey Plaza has Lee Oswald's signature (and evidence) all over it -- from the bullets, to the bullet shells, to the rifle with his prints on it, to a witness who positively IDed Oswald as the shooter, and right on down to the way Oswald behaved just after the assassination (and on November 21st too, which is very important).

Whether Oswald ever practiced with his Mannlicher-Carcano (a weapon that Jim DiEugenio apparently thinks was never in the hands of LHO at all in 1963) is something that we will likely never know for certain.

But if it really was Lee Oswald shooting at Garland Slack's target at the Sports Drome Rifle Range in November of 1963 (and I think it could possibly have been Oswald), then that seems to me to be one less argument that CTers can make about this case -- and that would be the argument that we frequently hear about how Oswald never practiced with his rifle before the assassination.

Final Thought ---

When examining Lee Harvey Oswald's test scores in the Marines, it's very difficult for me to believe that conspiracy theorists could possibly think that Oswald was a "poor" or "lousy" rifleman.

Does the United States Marine Corps have a habit of labelling their members "sharpshooters" or "marksmen" if they are really "lousy" at firing a gun? I hardly think so.

David Von Pein
September 2010