A SIMPLE ACT OF MURDER:
NOVEMBER 22, 1963
AUTHOR: MARK FUHRMAN
YES, LEE HARVEY OSWALD MURDERED PRESIDENT
JOHN F. KENNEDY....BUT HE DIDN'T DO IT THIS WAY
Former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman, in his book "A Simple Act Of Murder" (published in early May 2006), most definitely has the bottom-line conclusion correct -- i.e., Lee Harvey Oswald, by himself, killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
But Mr. Fuhrman's analysis pertaining to the precise manner in which Oswald carried out the assassination of the President is something I cannot put any faith in -- at all. The author thinks that Oswald fired all of the shots at JFK that day in Dallas alright, but he doesn't believe in the "Single-Bullet Theory".
In lieu of the SBT, Fuhrman has decided (pretty much on his own it would seem, without much more than plain old guesswork being relied on here) that a bullet hit JFK at approx. frame number 186 of the famous Zapruder Film, with this bullet traversing the soft tissues of Kennedy's back and then somehow was deflected radically upward after having entered at a 24-degree downward angle from Oswald's sniper's perch on the 6th Floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building (even though we know, based on the autopsy report and the Warren Commission testimony of Dr. James Humes, that this bullet did not strike any hard or bony objects inside JFK's body).
Fuhrman then has this upward-deflected bullet exiting JFK's neck and completely missing the person sitting almost directly in front of him (Governor John Connally) and going on to cause the damage to the chrome strip at the front of the Presidential limousine.
Common sense alone is telling me that Mr. Fuhrman has it all wrong here. Why on Earth would that bullet, travelling downward at 24 degrees (given Fuhrman's early Z186 timing for this JFK hit, which, of course, is also just pretty much a wild guess) suddenly veer upward after hitting nothing but soft tissue in JFK's neck?
Is that scenario at all possible? I suppose the answer to that is, indeed, 'yes'. But given the physical evidence in the case (i.e., the total lack of damage in JFK's neck region that could account for such a major bullet deflection), is that scenario "probable"? I'd say the answer to that question is an undeniable 'no'.
The following two comments from this book are two of the biggest reasons to be more than a tad bit skeptical of Mr. Fuhrman's anti-SBT opinion:
"There is no visible indication that Connally has been shot until frame 237 [of the Zapruder Film]." -- Page 119
"If Kennedy and Connally were hit by the same bullet, their reactions would have been nearly simultaneous, or at least close enough to be indistinguishable from each other in time. Yet they were not even close." -- Page 162
"No visible indication"?
"Not even close"?
These are absolutely absurd comments being made by a former professional police detective. The above two quotes from Mr. Fuhrman, in fact, simply dumbfound me, and truly make me wonder which Z-Film Fuhrman was looking at! Because every copy of the film I've ever come across shows something quite different than Fuhrman's assertion that Connally shows "no visible indication" of being shot "until frame 237".
In the following Zapruder Film clips, Governor Connally's "reactions" to a bullet striking him at precisely Z224 are vividly noticeable):
One thing that struck me as very strange concerning Mr. Fuhrman's proposed shooting timeline (i.e., JFK being hit at Z186 and Connally hit with a separate bullet fired from the same Oswald gun at approx. Z231) is that Mr. Fuhrman COULD have still utilized a Z224 hit to Connally AND still could have proposed his unique anti-SBT/pro-LN stance at the same time.
He could have done so while relying on the HSCA's tests which concluded that Oswald's rifle could have been fired more quickly than the 2.3 seconds between shots deemed necessary by the Warren Commission.
But, it seems that Fuhrman wanted to rely on the earlier tests conducted by the FBI for the WC, which means that 42 Zapruder Film frames are required between shots while using Oswald's #C2766 Carcano weapon.
But, IMO, for anyone to simply ignore (or somehow not to be able to see) the obvious reactions exhibited by Governor Connally at Z224-Z230 (a point in time when Fuhrman is claiming that Connally is showing "no visible indication" of being hit by gunfire) demonstrates to me a staggering willful ignorance on the part of any such researcher with respect to what the Zapruder Film is really showing us in frames 224 to 230.
Mr. Fuhrman utilizes a few hand-drawn charts to illustrate what he believes to be the true bullet path of the missile that struck President Kennedy in the upper back. These not-very-impressive illustrations are also not very persuasive by any means, in my opinion.
Another thing that certainly does not enhance Mr. Fuhrman's general beliefs concerning the JFK case is his use of Dr. Cyril Wecht's wildly inaccurate trajectory chart that was originally used during the HSCA's investigation in the late 1970s to show what Wecht thought the true trajectory of the bullet was that went through President Kennedy's upper back and throat, in relation to the limousine.
Although, to be fair, even Fuhrman doesn't fully endorse Dr. Wecht's ridiculously-overstated right-to-left line of trajectory as shown in that laughable diagram linked above.
Fuhrman also seems to contradict himself in a few places in the book....at times stating that bullets will deflect and change directions after hitting a human target; but on other occasions (when it seems to suit a need to debunk the specifics of the SBT) the author appears to shy away from this policy, which is an argument that pretty much comprises his entire basis for disbelieving the SBT in the first place -- i.e., a bullet can change directions after striking even soft tissues inside a human body. (See pages 175 and 177 for examples of these contradictions.)
STUFF THAT MUST BE FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET IF FUHRMAN IS RIGHT .... AND IS IT TRULY LOGICAL TO DISMISS ALL OF THESE ITEMS?:
In order for a person to buy into and endorse Mr. Fuhrman's unique "Anti-SBT But Oswald Was Still The Lone Gunman" stance, there's a need to "explain away" or just dismiss out of hand all of the following pro-SBT items that fall neatly and perfectly in line with a "Single-Bullet Conclusion":
1.) Governor John B. Connally's [JBC] "distressed" reactions on the Zapruder Film at frames Z224 through approximately Z230 -- e.g., a look of pain or distress on JBC's face; Connally opens his mouth at precisely Z225 (his mouth had been closed at Z224); the abrupt and sudden elevation of Connally's right arm/hand starting at Z226 (the very arm which contains the wrist that was wounded during the shooting); the "lapel flip/bulge" at Z224; Connally's right shoulder is driven downward and forward at exactly Z224 (indicating, without question IMO, the initial force of the bullet as it first struck JBC's back); followed immediately by a distinct "rise" of both of JBC's shoulders (an involuntary reaction to the bullet strike, which is shoulder movement that is easily discernible in the second toggling clip from the Zapruder Film shown below):
If Connally wasn't hit until circa Z231, how can all of the above be accounted for in a "He Hasn't Been Shot Yet" manner?
2.) The seemingly-incredible coincidence of Connally being struck at the exact spot (or darn-near the exact location) on his back by a SEPARATE Oswald shot (as proposed by Mr. Fuhrman in his book) where JBC would have also been struck if the bullet exiting JFK's throat had continued on in a straight-line path in front of the President. Remarkable "SBT-like" wound placement, indeed, if Connally had been wounded by a distinctly-separate missile.
3.) The "oblong"/"keyhole-shaped" entry wound on Connally's back, even though (per Fuhrman's theory) JBC was shot by a different, unimpeded shot from the one which struck President Kennedy. "Tangential" entry? Okay. But if that's the case, why doesn't the wound on JFK's back exhibit this more-elongated "tangential" type of shape/appearance? JFK's back wound is fairly round, indicative of a bullet entering pretty much straight on, without striking anything first.
But in Connally's case, the same gun, fired from the same window just seconds later, is causing a wholly-different-looking wound on a man's back? Why? Why does this difference exist if both shots came from Oswald's Sniper's Nest, just seconds apart? It would seem to me, using basic common sense here, that the Connally wound should have been more "rounded" in nature in this instance than Kennedy's, because the angle from the gun to JBC's back had been LESSENED in those few seconds that elapsed between JFK's "hit" and John Connally's "hit".
4.) Where did the Kennedy bullet go (after it exited his throat)? The Discovery Channel did a remarkable "re-creation" of the SBT in 2004 (for the documentary program "Unsolved History: JFK--Beyond The Magic Bullet"), firing an Oswald-like 6.5mm bullet into two "mock" torsos (representing the wounded victims in the JFK assassination), with that test bullet behaving in a very similar manner to the way the Warren Commission in 1964 purported that Bullet CE399 had behaved as it tore through both JFK and JBC on 11/22/63 in Dallas' Dealey Plaza.
The Discovery Channel test bullet continued on a forward and DOWNWARD trajectory after exiting the simulated Kennedy body, and then continued into Connally's simulated back, just about at the very spot on the back where the real John Connally was hit by a bullet in '63.
So the big question concerning this "test" version of the shooting would be -- Why didn't that test bullet change directions dramatically and turn upwards to miss JBC's body entirely (as Mr. Fuhrman is theorizing occurred in Dallas)?
Obviously, I fully realize that any such "simulation" using surrogate torsos cannot be relied on 100% to mimic the precise way a bullet will behave after travelling through REAL human bodies. And these limitations must always be taken into account when evaluating such "re-creations" of a real-life event.
But, in a very real sense as well, Mr. Fuhrman is just taking wild guesses regarding the bullet paths. And the idea that a separate bullet transiting JFK's back and neck would have suddenly changed course from a 24-degree downward angle from Oswald's gun in the TSBD to a convenient anti-SBT-theory-confirming UPWARD angle upon leaving Kennedy's neck (after striking nothing hard at all in JFK's body, per the autopsists) is a theory I just cannot wrap my arms around in the slightest, especially in light of my #1 and #2 points I just made above.
5.) Why are JFK's hands where they are at Zapruder Frame #225 if he had been hit by a bullet some 2.13 seconds earlier (or 39 Z-Frames earlier, at Z186)?......
IMO, if Kennedy had been hit at Z186 (as Fuhrman contends), there's no way we're going to be seeing his hands and arms as LOW as they are as late as Z225 -- especially when you factor in how rapidly JFK's arms rise up toward the "pain point" near his neck/throat in just a matter of 3 or 4 Z-Frames following Z225. Would his reaction of jerking his arms up toward his throat REALLY have been delayed by more than two full seconds if he'd been hit at Z186? I'm doubting it.
6.) Explain how Kennedy suddenly GETS OUT OF OSWALD'S WAY, to allow Lee Harvey to shoot a separate bullet into the back of John Connally at circa Z231. In my view, this could not have occurred at that given time in the shooting timeline. Kennedy has not shifted his lateral position in his seat considerably (or at all) between Zapruder frames 224 and 231 (with Z224 being the frame where I, and many others as well, believe the "Single-Bullet Theory" shot is striking the two men).
At circa Z224, this is what Lee Harvey Oswald would be looking at through the four-power telescope of his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle:
The above image is a still frame from Dale K. Myers' 10-years-in-the-making computer animation project ("Secrets Of A Homicide: JFK Assassination"), and it is an image that is based in large part on the Zapruder Film itself. Via computer technology, Dale Myers' project has enabled us to leave Abraham Zapruder's pedestal so that we can therefore view the assassination from any number of locations within Dealey Plaza, including that of the Sniper's Nest in the Texas School Book Depository Building (from where Oswald fired his three shots that struck down President Kennedy and Governor Connally).
I have not seen Z-Frame #231 specifically via the same "Sniper's Nest Vantage Point", but given the Z-Film itself, and based on the circa Z224 image from Myers' animation above, I cannot envision Connally's back being exposed to Oswald's gun just seven Z-Frames later in order to accept a separate shot by Z231. Can anybody envision such a thing -- except perhaps Mark Fuhrman?
At best, Mr. Fuhrman is just guessing here. He has managed to magically move President Kennedy out of Oswald's way, in order for LHO to hit Connally with that second (separate) gunshot. Based on my observations of the Zapruder Film, I do not think that could have possibly occurred.
Plus -- At Z231, Mr. Connally does not appear to be in the proper place to accept a gunshot where he ultimately did accept it (far right part of his back, exiting beneath his right nipple). Watch the Z-Film a few times and compare Connally's position at Z224 to his posture at Z231. IMO, Connally is not turned far enough to his right at Z231 for Oswald to do the damage to Connally's body that was done to it.
7.) An explanation is needed to counter that of the FBI's Robert Frazier (who performed a great deal of work for the Warren Commission in 1964), which has Mr. Frazier telling the Commission that a bullet exiting Kennedy's throat could not have possibly struck the chrome strip at the front of the limousine (as Fuhrman speculates did happen), given the downward angle at which this bullet would have been exiting the throat.
Frazier also testified that if a bullet exiting Kennedy's throat (at an estimated speed of around 1,775 feet per second) had, in fact, somehow managed to strike the chrome strip that was damaged at the front part of the automobile, this damage would have been much more extensive, with the probable result of such a bullet strike being that the missile would have penetrated the chrome completely.
But the chrome was merely dented, not penetrated -- indicating, given the recovered bullet fragments in the front of the car -- that one of the two large fragments (which both came from Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all other guns) found in the front part of the limo had probably caused the chrome damage to the car's interior; with the other fragment likely causing the cracked windshield.
Fuhrman, however, chooses not to believe Robert Frazier regarding his professional opinion that a bullet exiting Kennedy's neck could NOT have caused that chrome damage. I guess Mr. Fuhrman feels it's much better in this instance to simply ignore the expert who actually examined the limousine and who testified under oath in front of the WC, and believe, instead, his own "Deflecting Bullet Theory" (DBT). To each his own, I suppose.
8.) An explanation is also needed to counter the medical experts who testified with respect to Governor Connally's wrist injury, which (per the Warren Commission) would have been much more extensive in nature if that bullet had not first been slowed down considerably by having struck another object (such as JFK's body) prior to striking Connally.
Mr. Fuhrman's explanations with respect to all eight of my points above are quite weak, in my opinion. And some of these important points are ignored altogether -- particularly #1 above, with Fuhrman not once attempting to explain the obvious signs of SOMETHING occurring to John B. Connally at Z-Frame #224 and the frames that immediately follow. These critical frames of the Zapruder Film are completely ignored by Mr. Fuhrman. And, IMO, that's just plain silly....and irresponsible (esp. for a former detective).
There is also this point to consider when evaluating the theory put forth in this book:
Given Mr. Fuhrman's "One Killer Named Oswald" scenario, WHY on Earth would the Warren Commission feel there was any NEED to start "inventing" theories (like the SBT) in the first place? Was that done to supposedly paint the already-guilty assassin as MORE guilty than he already was? That makes no sense. And Mr. Fuhrman doesn't really clear up this logical question in his book.
If Oswald was GUILTY (even without a "Single-Bullet Theory"), and all of the ballistics evidence plus other critical physical and circumstantial evidence is proving him guilty (and it is, even via Fuhrman's theories put forth in this publication) -- then there's no reason in the world for the Warren Commission (or anyone) to start making up theories out of thin air. That's just silly.
If the Warren Commission really thought the "3 shots & 3 hits" theory was the accurate one -- why wouldn't they just say so, instead of inventing the "SBT"? In other words -- why would the Commission think that the public would accept the Single-Bullet Theory MORE than the 3-hit scenario, if such a 3-hit theory IS really the way things occurred? Such a mindset just doesn't make sense to me.*
* = And the oft-used excuse proposed by conspiracy theorists, which has the Warren boys coming up with the SBT out of sheer necessity in order to reconcile the wounding of James Tague, is not a valid enough reason for inventing the SBT out of whole cloth.
Because the Warren Commission explicitly states (on Page 117 of the Warren Report) that the damage that was done to the curb on Main Street (and hence, Tague's slight cheek wound) could have been caused by a bullet fragment that exited JFK's head.
In other words, the Commission wasn't determined to have a "missed" shot as the ONLY conceivable source of Tague's injury and the Main St. curb damage. The Commission recognized the possibility that a head-shot fragment could have accounted for Tague's injury (just as Mr. Fuhrman believes).
Therefore, via such a shooting scenario, the SBT would still not be mandatory even if a person chooses to believe that the Commission was strictly on a "We Must Condemn Oswald As The Lone Assassin" mission.
The evidence of Oswald's guilt, if it's there to begin with (and it certainly is), is going to speak for itself. And it does. And it's telling any reasonable person looking at the totality of evidence in the JFK case that the Single-Bullet Theory is absolutely the most sound and logical conclusion to explain the wounding of President Kennedy and Governor Connally.
What I would classify as a basic fundamental error in judgment crops up on page 5 of this book, when Mr. Fuhrman claims "The Warren Commission had been established in order to squelch rumors about a possible conspiracy". That passage written by Fuhrman is completely opinion-based and, IMO, is not true at all. The Commission was established to investigate the circumstances surrounding JFK's murder; and to attempt to ascertain the truth to the best of the Commission's ability. Period. No more. No less.
Most Americans, of course, don't believe that however. Well, so be it. I do happen to believe it.
But if the Commission's main goal and desire had, indeed, been to "squelch rumors about a possible conspiracy" -- then why wouldn't the WC have simply signed-off on and rubber-stamped as "true and factual" the initial 5-volume FBI report concerning the assassination that came out on December 9, 1963? (An FBI report which did, btw, endorse a "3 Shots With 3 Hits" shooting scenario.)
But the WC did not rubber-stamp that report, deciding instead to conduct its own investigation in the nine-plus months that followed. That type of activity doesn't sound to me like the actions of a Presidential Commission which was composed of members who only had it in their minds to squelch conspiracy notions.
Despite the obvious weaknesses in Fuhrman's "Pro-LN But Anti-SBT" theory, there are some very good passages in the book, too, that deserve highlighting. Such as:
"There is no exculpatory evidence that outweighs the accumulated proof against him [Oswald]." -- Page 89
-- And: --
"A cloud hangs over [JFK's] murder and our nation because we refuse to accept what is so clearly the truth -- that his assassination was a simple act of murder, committed by a man [Lee Harvey Oswald] who left evidence proving his guilt. .... The case is solved." -- Page 217
Those two excerpts above are sentiments I firmly agree with....100%.
SOME "SIMPLE ACT" CLOSING THOUGHTS:
"A Simple Act Of Murder" contains no endnotes at all, and very few footnotes denoting sources of key pieces of information. And the index is remarkably tiny for a JFK assassination volume (only 3-plus pages in length).
Mark Fuhrman is right about a lot of stuff in this short 232-page publication; but without a decent-sized list of sources, the novice assassination researcher reading "A Simple Act Of Murder" is left to his own devices and research tools in order to verify these printed words.
The Single-Bullet Theory fits every last scrap of evidence that surrounds it....without a single question mark left over to merely "guess" about. Every bullet (numbering 1) is accounted for (CE399) via the SBT conclusion; every wound is accounted for; the tumbling bullet into Connally is accounted for; the lack of CE399 damage is accounted for by way of the slowing/tumbling bullet through 2 bodies; the slightly-downward angle through both bodies is accounted for; the "alignment" of the wounds on both bodies is also perfectly consistent with the SBT scenario; and every single nuance seen in the Zapruder Film is accounted for in a pro-SBT manner. Every one.
The same can hardly be said for ANY anti-SBT scenario that has been theorized since 1964.
Dale Myers has it right....and the Warren Commission had it right too in 1964....beyond all reasonable doubt, IMO.
Because if Mr. Fuhrman's scenario is correct, and Mr. Myers and the Warren Commission are both wrong....then such an anti-SBT theory would definitely win the award for -- "The Most Incredible Two-Bullet Shooting Scenario That Looks In Many, Many Ways As If It Could Be Just A ONE-Bullet Shooting Scenario The World Has Ever Encountered".
However, a big point in Mr. Fuhrman's favor, IMO, is the fact that he doesn't endorse some crazy multi-gun "Patsy" plot (which is the type of kooky theory that so many conspiracy people have placed their faith in since 1963).
But, overall, my feelings about the contents of "A Simple Act Of Murder" are more negative than positive. Because, to put it bluntly -- anyone who believes in Lee Harvey Oswald's lone guilt in the JFK murder, but who also disbelieves the Single-Bullet Theory, is akin to a person who believes he could walk outside in a heavy thunderstorm without an umbrella....and not get wet.
David Von Pein
THIS LINK includes a 5-minute video from CBS News, with CBS' Harry Smith interviewing author and former Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman on May 12, 2006.
Fuhrman's 2006 interview with Harry Smith focused on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Fuhrman's then-brand-new 232-page book about the assassination, entitled "A Simple Act Of Murder".
Fuhrman says some interesting things during this short interview, including a couple of strange things, such as when Mr. Fuhrman says that he has viewed the Zapruder Film "a thousand times".
But, evidently, in each of those 1,000 viewings he failed to take note of the several things that indicate a bullet hitting Texas Governor John Connally prior to frame #231 on the film. That is simply amazing (and, in my view, incredibly shortsighted on Mr. Fuhrman's behalf).
Fuhrman also tells us that his 2006 book is the very first book ever to show the autopsy photographs of the slain President Kennedy. But that statement is not accurate at all. Robert Groden's 1993 book "The Killing Of A President" has many of the graphic autopsy pictures in it. Plus, several other JFK books also include selected autopsy photos as well, which makes Mr. Fuhrman's "my book is the first" comment very odd indeed.
Mark Fuhrman, of course, became famous worldwide in 1994 and 1995 due to his involvement in the investigation and murder trial of O.J. Simpson. (An O.J.-related video series is linked below.)
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