BOOK REVIEW:


CONSPIRACY OF ONE:
THE DEFINITIVE BOOK ON THE
KENNEDY ASSASSINATION



AUTHOR: JIM MOORE





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AUTHOR JIM MOORE HAS THE "LONE ASSASSIN" CONCLUSION CORRECT; BUT HIS "SBT" AND "FIRST-SHOT" DETAILS ARE HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE

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I really hate to bash a Lone-Assassin believer, but sometimes it becomes necessary, IMO. And in the case of LNer Jim Moore (who wrote a 217-page book on the JFK assassination, "Conspiracy Of One", published in 1990), unfortunately I feel the need to do so.

Mr. Moore, to his definite credit, has the bottom-line conclusion correct when he claims that Lee Harvey Oswald (alone) shot and killed President John F. Kennedy and Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit on November 22, 1963. But there are two points, in particular, in his book that I simply cannot reconcile in my own "LN" mind whatsoever.

One of these points is Moore's belief that the "Single-Bullet Theory" gunshot from Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle occurred at about frame number 235 of the famous Zapruder Film of the assassination.

Mr. Moore claims that President Kennedy was reacting to being lightly struck in the face by fragments of metal or concrete after Oswald's first shot missed the limousine and hit the pavement to the rear of the car. Moore's theory is exactly the same as another author (Jim Bishop; in "The Day Kennedy Was Shot"), who also postulated that Kennedy was reacting to being sprayed by flying concrete when we see JFK raising his arms in obvious distress just after frame 225 of the Z-Film. Moore believes that the bullet which pierced JFK's back and throat was actually fired by Oswald approximately ten Z-Film frames later.

That theory re. the SBT timeline is one that I just cannot believe at all, even if I were being forced at knifepoint to accept it. In order to believe Mr. Moore's odd SBT timeline as fact, we would have to believe that President Kennedy just happened (coincidentally) to place his hands near the exact same location on his body (his neck/throat) where a bullet would be making its exit less than one second later.

Which brings up a second problem with Moore's hypothesis -- HOW did that bullet get past JFK's hands if they were directly in front of the place where the missile would be exiting at Z235? Via the Z-Film, Kennedy's hands certainly appear to be IN THE WAY of any bullet that would be exiting his throat at Z235. And yet JFK's hands were obviously not struck by the passing bullet. Mr. Moore, on page 160, attempts to reconcile this problem with this passage:

"It's important to remember that at no time in frames 235 to 238 do either of Kennedy's hands cover his neck or throat."

I disagree. In Z235-Z238, it sure looks to me like John Kennedy's hands are most certainly covering the exact area of his throat where a bullet exited.*

* = Which, of course, makes perfect sense too (via a Z224 SBT bullet strike, which I believe is the correct Z-Film time-stamping of the event), since Kennedy would naturally be moving his hands toward the "pain point" on his neck where a bullet has just ripped through his windpipe. But, for some reason, Mr. Moore thinks the President's hands are completely clear of the bullet-exiting throat area.

To be completely fair to Jim Moore, it is somewhat difficult to tell on the Z-Film exactly where JFK's hands are located in relation to the neck wound during this time in question, so Mr. Moore could possibly be correct when he says Kennedy's hands aren't in direct line with the bullet's flight path. But it looks to me like JFK's left hand is dangling right where the bullet exited.

Moore's "Z235" SBT theory has a bunch of other problems too, with respect to the second wounded victim who was riding in the Presidential limousine on 11/22/63, Texas Governor John B. Connally.

Governor Connally, in my opinion, is positively reacting (involuntarily) to a bullet striking him during the Zapruder frames prior to when Mr. Moore claims he has been hit. And I've never understood WHY so many researchers fail to see and properly assess the obvious "Connally reactions" that can be viewed with ease on decent-quality copies of the Zapruder movie.



The Zapruder Film is telling us that Connally is being hit by gunfire at precisely frame #224. The Governor's right shoulder drops and moves forward noticeably at exactly Z224....the right side of Connally's suit jacket very clearly "bulges" outward (toward the center of his chest) at precisely Z224....JBC's mouth suddenly opens at Z225 and a startled/pained/distressed look comes across his face....both of his shoulders then rise and fall quickly (as if he's "flinching") starting at Z226....and a huge sign of a "hit" is the extremely-rapid "up then down" movement of Connally's right arm, which also begins at Z226, just two frames after the initial "moment of impact" frame at Z224.

Jim Moore thinks that all of these things going on with Connally (except the movement of JBC's jacket, which is ignored altogether by the book's author) were merely due to the Governor reacting to the SOUND of a shot that missed the whole car! (See Page 119 of "Conspiracy Of One".)

This is an astoundingly-inaccurate evaluation by Mr. Moore of the pre-Z235 JBC reactions, IMO. And it's particularly silly when additional attention is focused on that strange "arm raising" that Connally engaged in, starting at Z226 (the very same arm, by the way, which was attached to JBC's fractured wrist).

The "rising arm" is a very odd "unexplainable" if Governor Connally was NOT reacting to a bullet having just hit that very same arm (wrist).

Plus, author Moore also has the exact same "delayed reaction" type of problem via his "Z235" SBT timeline that he evidently thinks only exists via the Warren Commission's and House Select Committee's SBT chronologies. Because Moore has JFK and JBC undergoing the very same kind of two-second-long "delayed reaction" when it comes to each of them reacting to the first missed shot (with respect to BOTH victims' sudden arm movements that occur only AFTER Zapruder frame 225).

The WC and HSCA assumed that John Connally had suffered a delayed reaction to being shot during pre-Z225 frames of the Z-Film. But Moore doesn't buy the "2-second delay" on Connally's part if the SBT shot had actually occurred as early as Z190, per the HSCA analysis. (And I don't buy it either.)

But Mr. Moore has to believe in virtually the same kind of "delayed" reaction too (for both victims)....because, per Moore, he sees some kind of "reactions" on the Z-Film prior to Z235, but Moore thinks these are caused by a shot that missed the car (at Z-Frame #186), which is a shot that occurred some 2.68 seconds earlier than Moore's "SBT" frame at Z235!

Therefore, Mr. Moore seems to be advocating a "Two-Victim, In-Unison, Perfectly-Synchronized, Two-Second Delayed Reaction" on the part of both Kennedy and Connally (due only to reacting to a shot that missed them both, except for concrete fragments assumed to be striking JFK; but even there, Kennedy WAITS until Z226 to start jerking his arms upward toward his face, even though, per Moore, the President had been stung by fragments of concrete more than two full seconds earlier).

Sorry, Jim, but I cannot purchase that scenario. And I also don't think it's very likely (at all) that a missed shot could have hit Elm Street and then zoom across Dealey Plaza (at grass level after hitting the Elm pavement near the limo) and then strike the Main Street curb, resulting in bystander James Tague's minor cheek injury. This book claims that all of that stuff actually occurred via Oswald's first "missed" shot on 11/22/63. (Sounds to me as if Mr. Moore's first-shot missile might be a truly "Magic" bullet.)

Another question I have via Moore's (and Bishop's) theory is -- Why would concrete pieces hit Kennedy in the FACE if the missed shot struck the street to the REAR of the automobile (as Moore suggests did occur on page 198 of his book)? It doesn't add up.

A much better overall explanation to tighten these "reactions" up in a realistic manner is to endorse a "Z224" SBT timeline. At that Z-Film frame, everything fits perfectly. Just watch the film again and see if you don't agree.

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The second thing in this book that I cannot accept at all is Mr. Moore's explanation of why almost all of the witnesses at Parkland Hospital said they saw a large wound in the back of President Kennedy's head on November 22nd. To quote from page 180 of this book:

"...The explanation for this [head wound] discrepancy is so simple few will subscribe to it. The Parkland doctors all saw President Kennedy in only one position--face up. An exit wound across his forehead might have been labeled 'at the front of the skull', but a wound on the right side? Doctors would have seen the missing area 'at the rear of the skull', of course." -- Jim Moore

The above explanation is pure nonsense (even though I am an "LNer" myself). And, admittedly, this disagreement I have with Mr. Moore on this point doesn't do my own lone-assassin position any favors; but IMO it's just common sense.

Moore is telling his readers, in essence, that ALL of the many Parkland doctors and nurses actually did see the President's head wound on the "right side" of his head, but EACH ONE OF THEM was apparently stupid enough to somehow label the wound's location as being at the BACK part of the head. (And each of these Parkland persons would later demonstrate with their own hands where they thought the wound was located; with each person placing their hand on a REAR portion of their own head.)

It's just silly to think that ALL of these Parkland witnesses would somehow be disoriented enough to NOT know the "side" of the head from the "rear" of the head. And all just because JFK was lying flat on his back the whole time.

It seems to me that such a strange explanation would be akin to becoming confused about the location of a person's ear, just due to the fact the person is lying down. For example, why would anyone suddenly think an ear was located at the BACK of a person's head, rather than the "side" of the head?

Now, having gushed the above tirade regarding the head-wound variables and controversy, I'll now say this in favor of the "Single Assassin" point-of-view.....

I'll admit, I have no idea how to fully reconcile the many different witnesses who claimed to have seen a large exit wound in the rear of John F. Kennedy's head. But I do know that there is just as much HARD evidence (actually even more) that tends to refute those "Back Of The Head" witnesses. Evidence such as:

1.) The Zapruder Film, which shows no "BOH" wound at all; and shows, instead, an exit wound on the RIGHT SIDE of President Kennedy's head (above his right ear).

2.) The autopsy photographs and X-rays, which verify that the exit wound was chiefly "parietal" and "temporal" (i.e., "side" and "top" of the head), and not "occipital" (i.e., at the "rear" of the head).

3.) The official autopsy report (signed by all three autopsy physicians), which verifies that President Kennedy was shot only twice, with both shots coming from "above and behind" the victim.

4.) The unwavering testimony of all three of JFK's autopsy doctors (James Humes, J. Thornton Boswell, and Pierre Finck), testimony which confirms the "RIGHT SIDE-TOP" location of Kennedy's head (exit) wound.

The autopsy photographs and X-rays also verify the fact that there was only ONE single bullet hole of entry on the President's head. This is critically important, of course, because it (in essence) is telling any reasonable researcher that it really doesn't matter exactly WHERE on the head the larger (exit) wound was located....because the ONE lone wound of entry is verifying that ONLY ONE BULLET struck Mr. Kennedy's skull....and that bullet definitely came from behind JFK.

As I said, I cannot fully explain the strange "BOH" tale that has been told by so many Parkland (and Bethesda) people since 1963. But I'm certainly not willing to insult the basic intelligence of multiple professional medical technicians, doctors, and nurses by speculating that NONE of these people could tell the SIDE of a patient's head from the BACK of his cranium. That's just crazy, IMO.

If I were to hazard a guess as to why (and how) so many different observers could all see the same (wrong) thing re. JFK's head wound, I'd say it's possibly due to the fact that the massive amount of blood coming from the President's large wound on the right side of his head was pooling toward the BACK of his head while he was resting flat on his back on the hospital stretcher, creating the incorrect impression to the observers that the wound was located where the greatest amount of blood was seen.**

** = 2009 EDIT --- The above explanation is exactly the same as the one offered up by Dr. Michael Baden, who headed the HSCA's Forensic Pathology Panel in the late 1970s. Here's what Baden told "Reclaiming History" author Vincent Bugliosi in a telephone interview on January 8, 2000:

  • "The head exit wound was not in the parietal-occipital area, as the Parkland doctors said. They were wrong. That's why we have autopsies, photographs, and X-rays to determine things like this. Since the thick growth of hair on Kennedy's head hadn't been shaved at Parkland, there's no way for the doctors to have seen the margins of the wound in the skin of the scalp. All they saw was blood and brain tissue adhering to the hair. And that may have been mostly in the occipital area because he was lying on his back and gravity would push his hair, blood, and brain tissue backward, so many of them probably assumed the exit wound was in the back of the head. But clearly, from the autopsy X-rays and photographs and the observations of the autopsy surgeons, the exit wound and defect was not in the occipital area. There was no defect or wound to the rear of Kennedy's head other than the entrance wound in the upper right part of the head." -- Dr. Michael M. Baden; 01/08/2000

I think it's also possible (and, I admit, this is just a guess as well) that when Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy was "trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on" (as Mrs. Kennedy later said) during the high-speed ride to the hospital, it's quite possible that the loose piece of "hinged" scalp (which is a "flap" of skull/scalp that can be seen in the autopsy photos taken at Bethesda after the body was returned to Washington) was at least partially hiding the large hole at the right side of JFK's head when he was in the emergency room at Parkland.

This "flap" of loose scalp could then have dislodged itself from INSIDE the cratered wound on the right side of the head before the autopsy photos were taken on the night of November 22. The "flap", as seen in the photos, is not covering any portion of the right-side head wound, but instead is hinged "outward" from the wound.

Whether that "flap" was configured in that exact "outward" position at Parkland we can never know. But I think it's certainly a possibility that the "flap" could have been covering the large exit wound, especially in light of the fact that Jackie Kennedy, we know, was physically handling the President's head during the drive to Parkland, and also was "trying to hold his skull on".

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Another "Conspiracy Of One" drawback is the pitiful lack of photographs and/or illustrations. There is a small (and proverbial) section of "slick pages" in the center of the book, containing a few black-and-white photos (16 total pages); but these pictures are little more than perfunctory and peripheral in nature and were probably thrown into the center of the book as more-or-less an after-thought (possibly because the author felt he needed at least a few photos in a book about the JFK assassination, which, after all, was the most-photographed murder in history).

And since it was the most-photographed killing in the history of the world, any book that purports to be "definitive" re. the JFK case should, in my opinion, rely on many of those photos and motion-picture film frames to help tell the story. But Mr. Moore's volume is woefully lacking in such visual resources. There's not a single picture or graph or illustration within this publication (except for the 16-page photo spread in the middle of the book). And that's a shame.

I think it's also rather interesting to note that the author (Mr. Moore) rakes the "critics" (aka: the Conspiracy-loving Kooks) over hot coals because of their "blatant sensationalism" in choosing to publish some of the autopsy photos of President Kennedy in their pro-conspiracy books over the years, with Moore calling these authors a "tasteless mob".

But then Mr. Moore decides to publish three grisly frames from the Zapruder Film in the mini photo section within this book (including the "impact" Z-Film frame, Z313). And in addition to those three pictures, Moore also includes a photo of JFK's blood-stained shirt as well.

Those aren't specifically "autopsy" photographs shown in this book, true. But the inclusion of those four blood-filled pictures within this volume certainly are contrary to this statement made by Mr. Moore on page #178:

"I will not feed on the bloody frenzy they [the "tasteless mob"] have so successfully generated."

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A FINAL WORD:

Despite my numerous negative remarks about the contents of this book, it's my opinion, as mentioned earlier, that Mr. Moore most certainly arrived at the correct final conclusion (i.e., Lee Harvey Oswald did it and did it alone), and that is the most important thing in a true-crime publication of this nature.

But for someone who evidently, per this book's text, spent 23 years researching the JFK murder case, Jim Moore's fairly-thin 200-plus-page "Conspiracy Of One", which doesn't even contain an Index, falls quite a bit short of living up to the book's boastful subtitle -- "The Definitive Book On The Kennedy Assassination".

David Von Pein
December 2006
July 2009





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