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« Big D | Main | Truth in a Lie: Forty Years After the 18½ Minute Gap »

11 December 2013


R Kirkpatrick

Mr Scearce's analysis is arguably supported by the Robert Croft photo of the president's limousine and passengers. It was taken across the street from Zapruder, at the time of frame Z160, according to Stephan Barber in "A New Look at the Zapruder Film." In the photograph Mrs Kennedy looks directly into Croft's camera. When I first saw this striking photo, I thought her face to be blank or frowning, a "microexpression" of her unhappiness at the ordeal of public political parading, which she was known to dislike. The Texas trip was the first of its kind she had attended in years. She had a smile riveted to her face most of the time in Dallas, no doubt to comply with her husband's wish that she be seen and admired by spectators. That required a lot of polite smiling to make it seem she was happy to be there, the unhappy lot of politicians' spouses. (In the limousine he had repeatedly told her not to wear dark glasses despite the harsh sunlight, that her face not be masked.)

The phony smile vanishes at Z160 in Croft's photo. Scearce's analysis prompts a look to the left side of the photo, showing Governor Connally's expression unmistakably as a frown. Unlike Mrs Kennedy, he was a political animal with every reason to be beaming in the company of the president of the United States.

In this "reading" of the photo, under the circumstances explained by Searce, the expressions on both Connally's and Mrs Kennedy's faces may express their unhappiness, not at parading, but that they are being shot at. Occulted by Mrs Kennedy is the president's profile; the visible part of his left cheek is clearly contracted. That may indicate the smile that Scearce suggests, but the Zapruder film is not clear enough to justify the observation. If the president is not smiling with relief that he has not been shot, the logical alternative is that, sharing the reaction of his wife and Connally at the rifle report, he was grimacing.

David Wimp

Rosemary Willis has been scrutinized to find evidence of an early shot. For some reason, they always ignore the Warren Commission testimony of her father Phil who said, in essence, that his startle reaction to the first shot made him snap the shutter on his famous slide five taken of the presidential limo. That should place the time of the first shot within a few tenths of a second at worst. The HSCA found the slide to have been taken at Zapruder frame 202. I checked this out and found that, due to fortuitous circumstances, this is an easy call and it is definitely Z202. This is more than three seconds after the author is trying to place the first shot. What I did not realize until not too long ago is that the two Willises together make a compelling argument for a first shot in the late 190's.
The slide is taken at frame Z202. In that frame Rosemary is still looking back about the same as she has been except that she has turned her head very slightly to her left. Z203 is badly blurred but in Z204 she has definitely turned her head back to her right. Her right foot comes down for the last time between frames Z198 and Z200 so in a space of no more than 1/3 of a second, Rosemary stops and looks back and her father takes the photo he said was the result of a startle reaction to the first shot. This is two seconds after Gerald Posner said Rosemary showed the shot occurred and more than three seconds after the current author. I think Rosemary stopped independently of the gunshot and did so because she was not going to run forever. She looked back because of the shot.


Secret Service agent in charge, Forrest Sorrels, who was riding in the car directly in front of the presidential limousine, said he was adamant that he heard two shots come from his direct right just as he passed the grassy knoll. When he heard they found a rifle and three shells in the TSBD, he thought he might have been mistaken about hearing the shots from his right. He let his gut instinct, as well as his training and experience with hearing gunfire, be overruled by the "evidence" that was found on the sixth floor.


This is quite a leap--using this video to state absolutely Oswald was the lone gunman from the TSBD 6th floor. Almost as ridiculous as the conviction just because the police and onlookers rushed up the grassy knoll therefore it is absolute proof there was a shooter behind the fence.
As a parent I tell my ten year old when we are in crowded public areas do not stray far and always stay where I can see you. Perhaps Rosemary did not want to keep running away from her father and mother? All you can really conclude from this video is that at Z200-Z205 she comes to a stop and then turns back sharply at around Z211. Was the rest of what she said on the record intentionally ignored . . . she saw a man behind the wall on the grassy knoll and that she witnessed someone pick up a piece of JFK's skull on the grass area to the left of the president's car? How does that happen if the shot comes from TSBD 6th floor from behind? Jackie reaching to the right rear of the trunk grabbing a piece of husband's skull pretty much clinches it ... blowout was out the back of the skull. You can't edit out that part of the film. Personally I see the shot from the parking lot up above the southern western knoll area; or a potential shot from the County Courts Building roof using a different missile than the 6.5 mm Carcano. Those two scenarios are much easier to swallow than the 6th floor of the TSBD.

Richard Reiman

After watching Mr. Holland's presentation in Kansas City I can only endorse his interpretation of the meaning of Rosemary Willis's reaction to the first shot, namely that she was reacting to a shot that happened three or more seconds earlier, so much earlier in fact that it occurred before Zapruder resumed shooting his camera.
Most interpretations of Willis's reaction seem to conclude that she turned to look back at the Depository building almost instantaneously after hearing the shot. If this were true, then Oswald would not have much more than the six seconds posited in the 1960s as the time frame of the three shots. But common sense suggests otherwise. We know that Willis was reacting to a loud noise (probably the shot), because she said so in the 1980s. It seems probable that she began running beside the presidential vehicle either before the first shot was fired or before it registered in people's attention. She might have decided to run beside the car before it even appeared on Elm Street, or she might have decided as the car was moving toward her position. Either way her decision to run predated the first shot.
Now do this thought experiment: If someone was concentrating on doing something, like traveling down a basketball court in order to sink a basket, and seconds before reaching a position to aim the ball, a frighteningly loud loud noise erupts in the stands. The player will hear the sound, wonder about it, but will he really stop completing the task that he is then at work in doing? No. Chances are he will continue as if the noise was nothing serious (a firecracker perhaps), so as not to disrupt his plan or purpose. After the mission has been completed (whether the basketball missed or was sunk), the player will then look to the stands to resolve the interesting question which could now be attended to: what is going on in the stands? I submit that this was probably the explanation for why Willis's reaction is thoroughly consistent with the theory that she was reacting to the first of three shots, but a shot that was much earlier than most writers (but not Holland) suggests. She heard the shot but unlike the Secret Service agents, who appear to be looking for evidence of the shot before Willis reacts, she was not going to stop her run to check it out until the car was no longer paralleling her running. She reacted late to something of interest (a loud report from behind), but not as interesting to the girl as running beside the Kennedy's for as long as she could.

Jim Bilenda

I agree that it's quite a reach to say that because of a longer shot sequence it proves Oswald as the lone assassin. The author is twisting the facts to fit a pre-conceived idea.

Michael Lee

You have convinced me that the shooting time was more than six seconds. However, in my opinion this does not imply that Oswald was a lone shooter. Regarding all other aspects of this composition, this is an incredibly well-written piece. The arrangement of ideas and the words chosen to represent those ideas are exemplary. Kudos to you, sir. I enjoyed the read very much.

Keith Geddes

If Oswald was such a capable shot, why would he hit suspended traffic lights? And if you accept a shot at frame 133, then there were 4 shots?

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