Jfk Assassination Essay, Research Paper
The JFK Assassination:
Conspiracy or Single-gunman?
Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator of Germany during World War II, once said, “The bigger the
lie, the more people will believe it.” Although this may sound ludicrous, we can see many
example of this in the world’s history. One example would have to be the John Fitzgerald
Kennedy assassination. For over thirty years the people of the United States were led to
believe that a single gunman shot and killed Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, at
12:30 p.m… However, in this paper, I will dispute the ancient analization of the facts
that show a single gunman was involved, and try to show that a conspiracy must have been
According to the old facts regarding the case of the JFK assassination, Kennedy was killed
by a single gunman. On November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time),
Kennedy was riding in an open limousine through Dallas, Texas. At this time, Kennedy was
shot in the head and neck by a sniper. He was then taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital,
where he was pronounced dead. Later, police arrested Lee Harvey Oswald, a former U.S.
Marine, at a nearby theater. By the next morning, Oswald was booked for the murder of
President John F. Kennedy. Two days later, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas
nightclub owner, while he was being moved from the city to the county jail.
At a glance, the above story sounds as if this should be an open-and-shut case. After all,
according to the facts above, Oswald must have killed Kennedy. However, you must take a
deeper look into this case. Many people who witnessed the murder of John F. Kennedy
dispute the facts above, saying that they heard shots from places besides the book
depository, and other things that may contradict what is stated above. One of these
witnesses, Abraham Zapruder, captured the entire assassination on his Bell and Howell eight
millimeter movie camera. This movie, cleverly called the Zapruder Film, is the single best
piece of visual evidence in this case.
In order to more clearly understand the Zapruder Film, it is necessary to break it down
into frames. The particular Bell and Howell movie camera that Zapruder was using ran at
eighteen and three-hundredths (18.3) frames per second. When using this frame system, you
must remember that all shots were actually fired several frames before the number that is
assigned to them. For example, the fatal heard wound, called Z313, was probably fired at
Z310, since it took 2-3 frames at 18.3 frames per second for the bullet to reach the
victim. Also, you must remember that sound travels at about one thousand-one hundred
(1,100) feet per second, or a little over half as fast as the Mannlicher Carcano’s bullets.
When keeping this in mind, it is expected that witnesses heard the shot at some point
after the bullet passed. The following shows a break down of the frames of the Zapruder
- The Presidential limousine first comes into view at frame 133 (the starting point of this
timeline.) – The first shot at (or just before) Z187 would have passed through both
Governor Connally and the President.
Marino, 3 – The second shot, which passed above the limousine at Z284, missed the President and hit
the curb near witness James Tague. This caused his minor would.
- At Z313, the fatal shot occurs, which blew out major portions of the Presidents brain and
- A fourth shot occurred at Z323 (slightly 1/2 second after the fatal wound at Z313). Due
to the proximity of this report to the one at Z313, as well as it’s more distant origin,
most witnesses were unable to hear this shot.
Thus, the above is when the bullets hit either Kennedy or Connally, or passed through the
frames of the Zapruder film (in the case of the second shot).
Of the one-hundred seventy-eight (178) witnesses at Dealey Plaza, one-hundred thirty-two
(132) said that they hear exactly three shots. If Oswald was a single gunman, it would
have taken him at least 2.3 seconds to reload his Mannlicher Carcano rifle.
However, the general consensus of the witnesses is that they heard a single shot, followed
by silence, with the second and third shots bunched together. For example, Lee Bowers, one
of the witnesses, testified, “I heard three shots, one, then a slight pause, then two very
close together.” Also, Warren W. Taylor, a Secret Service agent, said, “As a matter of
course, I opened the door and prepared to get out of the car. In the instant that my left
foot touched the ground, I heard two more bangs and realized that they must be gun shots.”
Lastly, when Miss Willis, a witness, was asked if she heard any shots, she testified, “Yes;
I heard one. Then there was a little bit of time, and then there were two real fast bullets
together. When the first one hit, well, the President turned from waving to the people, and
he grabbed his throat, and he kind of slumped forward, and then I couldn’t tell where the
second shot went.” Thus, it would have been impossible for one gunman to fire a shot with
the Mannlicher Carcano rifle, reload, fire again, and fire again in a very short amount of
time in order to make the shots sound close together. Also, when the fatal shot hit
Kennedy, his head went back and to the left, implying that the bullet came from the front
and right, not from th
Although many people dispute the single bullet theory, this may be true. To understand
why, you must understand the trajectory of the bullet and the angles involved. The bullet,
if fired from the Texas School Book Depository, should have hit Kennedy at a 21 degree
angle, and, in fact, it did. (See the pictures on the subsequent pages.) Also, President
Kennedy was sitting nearly six inches above the level of Connally’s seat. Thus, when the
bullet left the President, it hit Connally, who was turned 15-20 degrees. When the bullet
hit Connally, the hole in his back was 5/8 inches wide by 1/4 inches high, or more than
twice as wide as tall. This means that the bullet was partially turned sideways when it
entered Connally’s back. Thus, the bullet must have hit something before it hit
Connally. Also, the bottom of the bullet that was found was broken open and was extruding
tiny particles of lead. X-rays taken at Parkland showed precisely that type of particle
embedded in the Governor’s wrist and thigh wounds. However, even if the single bullet
theory is true, it in no way lessens the fact that there were multiple gunmen, and
there was a conspiracy. (The “magic bullet” is thought to be bullet one on the Zapruder
Lastly, one has to consider what the biggest motives would be to kill the President. One
motive has to deal with President Kennedy trying to get out of Vietnam. This war was the
biggest business in America at the time. It brought in over eighty billion dollars a year.
Thus, since the President was trying to get out of the war, he would have been costing
business men a lot of money. Also, vice-president Johnson would have profited a lot
because he was the next to become president. Thus, people, including the vice-president,
had motives to kill the President.
As you can see, the killing of John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy. There is no way a single
gunman could have fired all the bullets that hit Kennedy and Connnally in that short period
of time. Also, since Kennedy’s head went back and to the left, the bullet must have been
fired from the front and right of Kennedy. This shows that there was another gunman, which
makes this a conspiracy. Someday, it would be nice if the truth is revealed about who
fired the bullets, and how many gunmen there actually were.
1. Harris, Robert. “The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: A Reassessment of
Original Testimony and Evidence.”
2. Harris, Robert. “The Single Bullet Theory: A Question of Probability.”
3. Newman, John. “Oswald and the CIA.” Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc. New York: 1995.
4. Summers, Anthony. “Conspiracy.” McGraw-Hill Book Company. New York: 1981.
5. “JFK” Directed by Oliver Stone. Warner Bros., Inc. 1991.