JFK ASSASSINATION ARGUMENTS
(PART 900)


GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

If there was a shot fired at F160 [Zapruder Film Frame #160] that resulted in Connally's head snap, why didn't one SS agent in the follow-up car react to it? React as in turning to the source of the rifle sound. They're clearly in Zapruder frames right up till the limo is obscured by the street sign. A good three seconds after the supposed missed shot.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

That's a fair question, Glenn. And a good question. I have no answer to explain the lack of Secret Service reaction. We do know that the two agents on the right side of the SS car do turn toward the Book Depository by circa Z255 (via the Altgens picture [seen below]), but they might very well be reacting to the second shot at Z224.



But I think the key to the approximate timing of Lee Oswald's first (missed) shot is John Connally and his movements as seen in the Zapruder Film (plus his testimony). We know from Connally's account (which he never waffled or wavered on) that he heard the first shot--but was not HIT by that bullet. And we know that he turned to his RIGHT in a reaction to hearing that shot. And the only point in the Z-Film that can really FIT that "right turn" testimony that could equate to the first shot would be Governor Connally's right turn at about Z164. There is no other "right turn" by Connally on Elm Street that could possibly line up with him hearing that first gunshot.


GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

They [the SS agents] are clearly reacting to the bullet that hit JFK in Altgens' classic pic, which equates to Z 254 as you say - less than 2 secs after the back shot.

I was going [to] mention this pic in my last comment. Kellerman starts to react to this shot in the Z film at the exact same time, and has half turned by 260. He - a trained agent again - is not reacting to any sound before that.

Sorry, this theory is tenuous for me. I still think it was done in 5.6 secs.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

John Connally's testimony is the clincher (IMO) for the FIRST shot being the missed shot. Paraphrasing Governor Connally:

"I heard a shot that did not hit me. I turned to my right. I had time to think. I had time to react. Then I was hit. I then heard the third shot, which did not hit me."


GREG JAYNES SAID:

Did you read that article David Reitzes posted about witness accounts? If you hang your hat on Connally's account, it may contrast with those ideas which could at least undermine the idea of it being the best evidence.

I understand David Reitzes lines up with your ideas as do pretty much all the lone nutters and I'm the only one saying "Wait a minute, what about this?"

Assuming for the sake of argument we can discount Connally's recollection and chronology, looking at what's left of the evidence, this would work too.

1st shot 224

89 frames
4.86 seconds elapse

2nd shot 313

94 frames
4.97 seconds elapse

3rd shot 407

Either way, there was plenty of time. I just arbitrarily used 407. A late missed shot could obviously have come sooner than that.

I'm not trying to convince anyone this is what happened, only that it remains a possibility. In your opinion, the evidence for the early miss is best. IMO the evidence seems mighty weak if you discount Connally's account. And a rational argument can be made that his account could be wrong.

[...]

I have no doubt that Connally was absolutely certain about his account. It's just that of the hundreds of people in the Zapruder film, no one else visibly reacts to the sound of a rifle shot as is prescribed to Connally by the early miss scenario.

At the very least, the Secret Service guys should show some sign as they are on the alert for this very thing. As Glenn pointed out, in the Altgens picture they have definitely reacted to the sound of a shot, a shot which there is no question happened.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

John Connally's account of the shooting has the benefit of having the extra element of HIS BEING HIT by one of the bullets to help guide him through his account. And Mr. Connally was always certain the first sound he heard was a GUNSHOT--not a backfire or a firecracker. He took it to be a GUNSHOT. And he was NOT hit by that gunshot.

Now, wouldn't it be truly incredible if the sound Connally said he took immediately to be a RIFLE SHOT turned out to be something else, and then--just seconds later--an ACTUAL gunshot/bullet hit him in the back?

What are the odds?


CHRIS EDDY SAID:

I think the only argument against that, David, is the reported numerous motorcycle backfires.

I'm playing devil's advocate, I sit firmly in the circa frame 160 missed shot camp.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

True, Chris. But, again, Governor Connally said he immediately thought it was an ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT VIA RIFLE FIRE -- and coming from "OVER MY RIGHT SHOULDER". It all fits perfectly with a missed shot being fired BEFORE the "SBT" shot.

The odds that Connally would have thought a backfire (over his "right shoulder") was an assassination attempt--and then have an ACTUAL assassination attempt commence (from over his "right shoulder") two or three seconds later are odds that I think even Greg Jaynes would admit are mighty low indeed.


CHRIS EDDY SAID:

Watch for the movement of SA William McIntyre, who is riding on the left rear running board behind SA Clint Hill, in the frames circa 160. He lurches left as if to attempt to see around Clint Hill and appears to be looking down toward the road. The movement is unusual but very obvious.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Chris, that's not SA McIntyre doing the stooping and leaning and lurching in the Secret Service car around Z160 or so in the Zapruder Film. It's SA George Hickey in the back seat.


GREG JAYNES SAID:

This is a witness [John Connally] who was traumatized. Yet you are taking his account as the sole measure of clarity. I have given the example of Charles Brehm who was shot at Normandy and didn't even feel it. Indeed, John Connally did not know he had been shot thru the wrist and in the thigh until the next day when he questioned his bandages.

No doubt there were three shots, yet Connally told the Warren Commission he only heard two. I wonder if he didn't hear the shot that hit him but did not register the impact right away. Traumatized.



In his first interview from his hospital bed on November 27th [embedded above], he said,

"We heard a shot. I turned to my left. I was sitting on the jump seat. I turned to my left to look in the back seat. The president had slumped. He had said nothing. Almost simultaneously as I turned, I was hit. And ... I knew I had been hit badly. And ugh ... I said...I knew the president had been hit. I said, "My God they're going to kill us all." And then there was a third shot and the president was hit again. And we thought then very seriously. I had still regained conciousness but the president had slumped in Mrs. Kennedy's lap and when he was hit the second time, she said .... or or the first time ... it all happened in such a brief span. She said, "Oh my God. They have killed my husband"."

He said nothing here about looking to his right. This is not a clear account, yet his story firmed up later.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Regardless of WHICH way Governor Connally said he turned, there's one point that is crystal clear and undeniable from his testimony and interviews, and it never evolved to become clearer over time, and this is the key to knowing Shot #1 HAD to be the "missed shot"----

Connally remembers hearing that first shot THAT HE WAS NOT HIT BY.

How much more proof is needed to show that it cannot be Shot #3 that missed?

Regardless of being "traumatized" by his injuries or not, the things that happened to John Connally BEFORE he became "traumatized" are the things most important in trying to determine which shot missed.

I.E. (again paraphrasing Governor Connally),

"I heard a shot that I immediately took to be a rifle shot. I had time to think. I had time to react. Then I was hit."

Greg, do you really think Connally's status of potentially being "traumatized" by his injuries affected his memory concerning the things that occurred BEFORE that trauma began? If so, maybe you've just invented a new malady --- PRE-TRAUMATIC DISORIENTATION SYNDROME.


GREG JAYNES SAID:

David, I understand your point. However, see the posted interview above from Connally's hospital bed. Hear him say this in his own words:

"We heard a shot. I turned to my left. I was sitting on the jump seat. I turned to my left to look in the back seat. The president had slumped. He had said nothing. Almost simultaneously as I turned, I was hit. And ... I knew I had been hit badly."

------------------------------

If Connally saw the president slumped, then he has already been shot too. His description would indicate the president was hit first, then he was hit by a second bullet. But he wasn't. He was hit by the same bullet and does not seem to realize it. He thought he heard the shot that hit Kennedy. Then he thought he was hit next but did not hear the one that hit him (according to his Warren Commission testimony), and he counts the one that hit him as the second shot.

He says nothing here of looking to his right as he did in a later interview, which is the one Dale Myers used to make his case of the early miss by matching his words to movements in the Z film.

Then a few sentences later he [Connally] said,

"...when he was hit the second time, she said .... or or the first time ... it all happened in such a brief span."

------------------------------

In this phrase, he is not uttering a clear chronology.

If Connally is the keystone to the shooting sequence, then you must throw out the single bullet theory. At what point do you take his account of it and what point do you not?


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

John Connally almost certainly got the "he slumped" info from his wife. JBC himself never said he saw JFK "slump". He always maintained in all of his interviews after 11/27/63 that he DID NOT SEE Kennedy at all during the whole shooting (even though JBC looks directly into JFK's face shortly before the head shot; but in that instance, I'd wager that the "traumatized and doesn't remember" explanation would be correct).

But, once again, the key here is what Connally recalls PRIOR to being shot. He always said he heard a shot and THEN he was hit, which had to mean the second shot hit him, not the first.

More here.


CHRIS EDDY SAID:

I think we have to accept that the Governor's first recollection of events contradicts what he said in later interviews and testimonies.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

The only contradictory element in JBC's first account, as far as I can see, is the "I turned left" (vs. "right") contradiction. He did NOT say, however, that HE HIMSELF saw JFK slump in his November 27 interview. I'd bet the farm that he got that from Nellie.

In fact, just one look at the Zapruder Film pretty much proves that John Connally could not possibly have physically SEEN Kennedy "slump" at a point in time PRIOR to when Connally himself was hit. JBC isn't looking toward JFK at all at any pertinent time. (Unless some people want to believe that JBC quickly turned around--and then back around again--in the ONE SECOND when he was obscured by the freeway sign. And that's just silly...although Tony Marsh likes that theory. But Tony's a CT kook, of course.)


CHRIS EDDY SAID:

What's interesting is the right head turn is preceded by an equally quick LEFT head turn. He's looking right until 149, then left by 160 (factor the splice also), then right by 170.

Two half-second head turns - LEFT (from an original head position of looking right), THEN RIGHT - back to almost the original head position.

If that left head turn is what the Governor is recalling, then we have a first shot way prior to 160.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Yes, you're right, Chris. I too have recently picked up on the LEFT THEN RIGHT turns by John Connally in the Z-Film.


CHRIS EDDY SAID:

David, if you factor in the splices, it's around 8 frames. Equally as fast as the right head turn. I spotted it a long while ago. It never occurred to me that this possibly could be what the Governor recalled in the hospital bed.

As I said, IF this left turn is the initial response to the first muzzle blast, you can throw the circa 160 first shot hypothesis out the window.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Governor Connally's LEFT turn (just prior to his RIGHT turn) starts at about Z151. If this is a response to a shot, then I'd say we've got the first shot occurring at about Z145 or so. Not really THAT big a difference from "circa Z160". It would be less than one second earlier than 160.



Now it's just a matter of trying to figure out whether Connally's quick LEFT head snap is connected in any way with his following RIGHT head snap which starts at about Z164.

It could be that he just happened to look to his left at that time (i.e., it wasn't connected to hearing a gunshot), and then after turning left, he heard a shot, which caused him to snap his head back to the right.

But, yes, he DID say "I turned left" in his November 27 interview with Martin Agronsky. I've always maintained he got his directions mixed up, because he never ONCE repeated the "left turn" statement in any of his many later interviews (or in his Warren Commission testimony).

I, therefore, conclude that the LEFT head turn was not connected with JBC hearing the sound of Oswald's first rifle blast.

(Obligatory: IMHO & YMMV & FWIW.)


DAVID VON PEIN LATER SAID:

Another thought (again "FWIW") ---

It makes more sense to me for John Connally to have turned to his RIGHT (i.e., TOWARD the place where he thought the sound of the shot was coming from -- "from over my RIGHT shoulder") than it would be for him to snap his head to his LEFT in any attempt to LOOK BACK and try to determine either where the noise came from or in an effort to see President Kennedy in the back seat.

It just seems logical to me that if I had heard a sharp noise coming from back over my RIGHT shoulder, I probably would be drawn to the RIGHT and would likely have turned instinctively to my RIGHT in order to see what was happening to my RIGHT, which is where the sound was emanating from.

Others might disagree, of course. But this analysis seems logical to me. A turn to the LEFT would take him further AWAY from the source of the noise.


STEVE ROE SAID:

In reality, David, what are we talking about here? Just mere seconds. You have to figure in the "unexpected moment" of a rifle shot.

I agree with you, JBC was reacting to a shot at Z-224, without realizing what happened to him physically versus mentally.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Huh?

So, Steve, you think the first shot was NOT the missed shot (despite Connally's clear testimony of hearing the shot, having TIME to react, and then getting hit)?


STEVE ROE SAID:

In that video [below] and other videos, it's apparent to me that JBC is describing the "second shot". Whether he heard the first shot or not is a good question. But what he describes corresponds with the Z film. However, Nellie backs him up on her recollections.




DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

Also see this John Connally video from 1965:




STEVE ROE SAID:

David, at 6:40, (1965 interview) JBC describes what he calls a "third shot" and was not conscious of the 2nd shot that hit him.

So now we have conflicting personal testimony on his recollections. He has always maintained he was hit by a separate shot from the President. But he did lose consciousness. Did he remember everything as [it] really occurred?


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

But JBC was always crystal clear about HEARING the first shot but not being hit by it....and then after a few seconds passed, he was hit by another bullet. So he could not possibly have been HIT by Shot #1. I don't think that fact is even debatable.


STEVE ROE SAID:

Yep, simple logic. He heard the first shot, then he reacted to it. Then he was hit by the 2nd shot, then he heard the 3rd shot.

So yes, that would be entirely correct. I have to revisit his bedside interview to confirm.


STEVE ROE LATER SAID:

Thanks David....the light bulb just went off.

[Note -- I think Steve meant to imply here that the light bulb in his head has just been turned on, not off. :-)]


GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

That's what we're debating Steve, whether he was reacting to a first missed shot.

But I don't think we're going to agree, lol. Well, at least we agree on the shooter.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

How can anyone possibly think Connally was wrong about not being hit by Shot #1, a shot he clearly heard and immediately thought was a rifle shot? JBC's testimony in this regard is not debatable, IMO.


STEVE ROE SAID:

So where it gets murky is JBC saying he was hit by a separate shot. However, he admits he didn't see JFK when he turned and looked over his right shoulder. So he probably assumed JFK was already hit by the first bullet. And this would be reasonable because you never figure two people being hit by the same bullet. Then we are left with him saying he was hit as he was turning back to his left.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

If JBC never saw JFK, he is the WORST possible witness to rely on with respect to when JFK was hit. Again---that's not debatable either. He got the anti-SBT stuff from Nellie.

And watch Connally's 1967 interview [below]---he says the SBT is, indeed, a possibility (despite his wife's adamant opposition to it).




GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

That's the thing. Immediately after [Zapruder frame] 160 he never looks over his right shoulder. He just looks to the right quickly, his head stays there momentarily and that's it.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

But, Glenn, that's THE ONLY "right turn" that JBC can possibly be referring to with respect to the shot he HEARD but was NOT HIT BY. What other right turn fits that scenario? It can't be his drastic right turn in his seat way AFTER Z230. We know he's been HIT by then. But JBC says he turned to look into the back seat well BEFORE that time. So the Z164 right turn is the only one remaining for that to be.


STEVE ROE SAID:

Thanks David, your logic is solid. I never gave JBC's testimony much in depth thought. Now it's clear.


GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

David, there's a bit of contradiction here. You say it has to be the missed shot F160 because it was only shot he heard but was not hit by, and that he knew he had been hit by the second shot F224.

But he REACTS like someone [who] doesn't know they've been hit at F224. Ok, the cheeks puff, the lapel flips out, but that bullet absolutely tore right through him - nearly killed him - and he calmly turns and looks into the back seat to see if JFK is hurt.

His physical collapse to a wound of that magnitude is DELAYED for over 4 seconds. So that means, at least initially, he didn't know he had been hit.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

I disagree, Glenn, with your analysis regarding John Connally's movements after he was shot at circa Z224. I don't think he is "calmly" turning to look into the back seat. I think he's in the process of reacting to the bullet that has just struck him, and he's also in the process of uttering the statement he said he made after he was hit -- "My God, they're going to kill us all."

Are you actually suggesting that Connally has NOT been hit by a bullet when we see all the things happening to JBC between Z224 and around Z230 -- i.e., shoulders hunching, mouth opens, face gets kind of distorted, lapel flips up, hat flies up in the air?

For a good look at all of the individual things happening to Governor Connally during those frames (Z224-Z230), GO HERE.


DAVID VON PEIN LATER SAID:

Here's an alternative thought on the "slumped" remark made by John Connally in his bedside interview ---

I'm wondering if Connally could be referring to seeing JFK "slump" after Connally himself was hit, which is when JBC turns completely around in his seat.

It's true, however, that JBC always said in later interviews (and to the Warren Commission) that he never saw JFK at ANY time after the shooting started, but we can see in the Zapruder Film that Connally is practically staring right at Kennedy after JBC turns around in his seat. And Kennedy is certainly "slumping" at that moment.

So, in reality, there definitely IS a point in the Z-Film when John Connally could certainly have physically SEEN Kennedy in a "slumped" position. That theory doesn't fit with the timing as told by JBC in his bedside interview, however, where he claims that JFK had slumped PRIOR to the time JBC himself had been hit.

I'm also wondering if the pain-killers and other medications that JBC was on at the time of his bedside interview might have clouded and/or distorted his recollections at that time while he was in his hospital bed.

~shrug~

It's food for thought anyway.


GLENN WHEATCROFT SAID:

When was the first missed shot put forward? I remember it being late 90's, thirty years after the event.


DAVID VON PEIN SAID:

The notion that the first shot was a miss was certainly advanced long before the 1990s. Watch the CBS video at this link (and the same video has also been embedded on this page above).

In that video, Walter Cronkite, in 1967, talks about the first shot likely being the missed shot. Walter comes on after the interviews with John and Nellie Connally. And note JBC's firm stance about how he is certain that he was not hit by the first bullet.

David Von Pein
February 2015