The bullet designated by the Warren Commission as Commission Exhibit 399 has already gained a notoriety, which assures it a place in history. This is so because the Commission itself attributed to this small missile, measuring little more than one inch in length and weighing less than one-half ounce, a performance upon which it rested its entire case against Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin of President John F. Kennedy.
The Commission contends that this bullet, after having been fired from the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from the sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, struck President Kennedy in the back at a point 5⅜ inches below the top of his coat collar, and 1¾ inches to the right of the center seam; that it then exited from his throat at the neck-tie knot; then struck Governor Connally in the back near his right armpit; tore through his chest fracturing his fifth rib, * exited from below his right nipple; pierced his right forearm causing multiple fractures of the wrist bones, and leaving many metal fragments; entered his left thigh depositing two more fragments (one of which remains in his femur to this date); and then spent by its labors either immediately or at Parkland Hospital, became dislodged from his thigh and was found, so the Commission tells us, on his stretcher. A heavy workload indeed, ‘for the Commission's small missile, but if its workload was heavy, its trajectory was fantastic.
In order to strike Governor Connally’s back at the point of his wound near the right armpit, the bullet, which would have been descending at an angle of approximately 20° if fired from the TSBD window, had to be deflected upward upon entering President Kennedy’s body in order to exit from his throat at ‘the neck-tie knot’; and then, while still retaining virtually all its original velocity, be deflected again, this time downward and in mid-air before entering Governor Connally's back. Our first task shall be to test this key hypothesis of the Commission’s; and to examine briefly the circumstances which caused it to rest its case on so vulnerable a proposition, despite overwhelming contrary evidence attested to by eye witnesses, Governor Connally himself, medical and ballistic testimony, the relative positions of the wounds, Newton's Laws of motion, photographic proof, the FBI report, and common sense...
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