The Single-Bullet Theory
The single-bullet theory (SBT) is perhaps the most
contentious issue in the entire JFK assassination. Developed straightforwardly
by Arlen Specter and others during the Warren Commission's investigation, it
proposes that the bodies of Kennedy and Connally were wounded by the same
bullet, the infamous CE 399, or "stretcher bullet," that was fired
from the sixth floor of the depository by Oswald. The SBT is so
important because if true, it removes the need for a second shooter from the
rear to account for the fact that Kennedy and Connally responded to their body hits in less than
the minimum refiring time of 2.3 seconds. In effect, the SBT substitutes a delayed
reaction by Connally for a second shooter. An idea of the ire of the critical
community toward the SBT can be seen in the fact that it was used as a litmus
test for joining COPA—you were supposed to
renounce the SBT before you could join. (COPA never enforced this ban, however,
for they needed the $25 annual dues too much.)
The longstanding fulminations over the SBT by its deniers have obscured the fact that it has always been strongly supported by hard evidence and proper reasoning. (See "A logical approach to the single-bullet theory" below.) Furthermore, it turns out that the SBT was a mere hairs-breadth away from being proven all along—we just didn't realize it. We know that because we have just shown how to prove it scientifically, by adding just one piece of evidence to the mix. All that is needed is to combine the elemental evidence from NAA with ballistics and the basic geometry of Dealey Plaza. (See "The Scientific SBT" below.) Now that the question has been settled, it is time to replace the weak expression "SBT" with the proper "DBH" (double-body hit).
A vast amount has been written on the SBT over the years, nearly all of it wrong. I have assembled some representative thoughts on the subject, and will add to the collection as time permits.
Arguments in favor of the SBT
Was the "pristine
bullet" really pristine?
As you might guess from the title, CE 399 was far from pristine. It was bent laterally and distorted at its base, enough so that lead was squeezed out the base like toothpaste out a tube. WC critics don't show the cross-section of the base of the bullet, which is so distorted that it required, in the words of Dr. John Lattimer, "viselike forces." The bullet is anything but pristine, and to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest.
The line of damage through the neck
A nifty little diagram from Dr. John K. Lattimer's 1980 book Kennedy and Lincoln that shows how the several wounds and areas of damage to JFK's neck/throat all fall alone a line that slopes downward toward the throat. Although it is not necessary to know this in order to prove the SBT scientifically, it surely makes one feel more comfortable with the result.
A logical approach to the
A brief discussion that shows how, as of spring 2001, the SBT could be strongly supported by the available evidence but not proven.
The Scientific SBT
This little essay shows how the SBT can be established scientifically from only the NAA, the ballistics, and the geometry of Dealey Plaza. Supersedes "A logical approach to the single-bullet theory."
Arguments against the SBT
Jim Garrison on the SBT
The part of Garrison's dramatic closing monologue that mocks the SBT, as expressed in Oliver Stone's JFK. Garrison/Stone got it wrong because they took their cues from WC critics who were not dealing with all the evidence of the bullet and its path.
Michael T. Griffith's "Ten Reasons I Reject
The Single-Bullet Theory," 2000
As the title suggests, Mr. Griffith offers ten reasons he considers sufficient for rejecting the single-bullet theory. The original can be found on his website, at http://ourworld.cs.com/_ht_a/mikegriffith1/id156.htm . Note that Mr. Griffith does not write "Ten Reasons The Single-Bullet Theory Is False," because he is citing evidence much weaker than disproof. "He" is "rejecting"; "evidence" is not "disproving."
Michael T. Griffith's "The Shifting Sands
of the Single-Bullet Theory," 2001
Mr. Griffith here presents several arguments why he feels the SBT cannot possibly be true. The original can be found on his website, at http://ourworld.cs.com/_ht_a/mikegriffith1/id156.htm .
Barbara Junkkarinen on the witness evidence for an early separate hit to JFK (ca. Z190)
Andrew Mason's objections to the SBT
Mr. Mason bases his objections to the SBT mostly on the strong testimony of Governor and Mrs. Connally that the governor was hit by the second shot, which Mason believes came at Z 273, and secondarily on matters of trajectories and condition of the bullet. He proposes that witnesses on the scene should be considered more seriously than experts after the fact.