Monday, 23 November 2009

Keep off the grass

Last night, oblivious to the anniversary, I found myself watching a documentary about the assassination of JFK. My first thoughts were along the lines of what can possibly be gained from any further ghoulish speculation. But, drawn by the topic’s perennial fascination and my usual Sunday night reluctance to go to bed, I continued to watch.

I like a good conspiracy theory and JFK is one of the best and, in comparison with Roswell, the Moon landings, and the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, relatively credible. But, having read (in that book by David Aaronovitch I think) that Lee Harvey Oswald had probably tried to shoot an army general a few weeks prior to JFK, I was firmly in the lone gunman camp. And for me the matter was well and truly settled by an exercise that I had initially thought pointless. The programme makers wheeled around Dealey Plaza a very sophisticated type of dummy as used by arms manufacturers to test their anti-personnel weapons. From each of the supposed vantage points a marksman weighed up the shot and dismissed all of them until he came to the notorious grassy knoll. Here the shot was good, so he took aim and fired. They were quite meticulous about getting the conditions right, they even had a wind machine blowing to replicate the crosswind that day. Anyway, the shot from the grassy knoll blew the dummy’s head to absolute smithereens. I’m confident that Kennedy’s head would have performed identically.


  1. Howdy!

    I watched the same one a few weeks back.

    I saw the outcome slightly differently though. The shot from the grassy knoll blew the head to smithereens, yes, but that isn't what happened in reality. What happened (and they just about replicated this) is that the shot from the back was enough to cause the damage it did to JFK's head.

    It's prompted me to re-evaluate the whole conspiracy lark...

  2. Hello Threelight!

    Like I say, I was already fairly sure that Oswald was a lone nut. I was just surprised that in all the years that the whole business has been pored over from every angle nobody had previously thought to demonstrate what a rifle shot from the grassy knoll would actually do.

    The gun man at the grassy knoll is such an enduring part of the conspiracy, I bet more Americans believe in him than do in the theory of evolution. And yet here it was pretty much demolished with this straightforward experiment. I was impressed, normally these documentaries are just a rehash of a load of things we've all heard a million times.