The Political Death of the Magic Bullet Theory

Lost amid the rubble of yesterday’s primary elections was the final demise of a rare politician: one who fabricated an elaborate ruse to validate the sole existence of a lone gunman.  Long before Sen. Arlen Specter (R, er, D-PA) cast his lot in the political ring, he was an ambitious junior counsel assigned to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

When two of the three bullets fired from alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had already been accounted for (one hit a bystander standing under a nearby overpass while the other purportedly emanating from the Texas School Book Depository was the ‘kill shot’ that hit President Kennedy in the head), this ‘magic bullet’ then had to be responsible for the handful of wounds to both Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connelly, who was sitting directly in front of him.

Although Wikipedia does have a bit of a reputation among historians for being too overarching and lacking sufficient depth, for our current purposes it is the ideal distiller of two polarizing—pro and anti-conspiracy—camps.  It had this to say [my bold added] about the most controversial ‘theory’ in American history:

“The Single Bullet Theory (or Magic Bullet Theory, as it is commonly called by its critics) was introduced by the Warren Commission to explain how three shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald resulted in the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy. The theory, generally credited to Warren Commission staffer Arlen Specter (now a United States Senator from Pennsylvania), posits that a single bullet, known as ‘Warren Commission Exhibit 399’ (also known as ‘CE 399’), caused all of the non-fatal wounds in both President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally. (The fatal head wound to the President was caused by a bullet other than this so-called ‘Single Bullet’).

According to the single-bullet theory, a three-centimeter-long copper-jacketed lead-core 6.5-millimeter rifle bullet fired from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository passed through President Kennedy’s neck and Governor Connally’s chest and wrist and embedded itself in the Governor’s thigh. If so, this bullet traversed 15 layers of clothing, 7 layers of skin, and approximately 15 inches of tissue, struck a necktie knot, removed 4 inches of rib, and shattered a radius bone. The bullet was found on a gurney in the corridor at the Parkland Memorial Hospital, in Dallas, after the assassination. The Warren Commission found that this gurney was the one that had borne Governor Connally. This bullet became a key Commission exhibit, identified as CE 399. Its copper jacket was completely intact. While the bullet’s nose appeared normal, the tail was compressed laterally on one side.

Now besides the ludicrous—read: impossible—physics involved, let’s just think about the bullet itself.  I’m no munitions or forensics expert, but I very much doubt that a single bullet that was alleged to do that much damage—the case for a lone gunman and no conspiracy rests solely on that tenant—would be discovered barely affected, and conveniently (with no blood or flesh stains) lying on the governor’s stretcher in the hospital.

And for anyone who has ever seen the ghastly Zapruder film, the bullet that ultimately kills JFK—causing his head to violently go back and to the left—clearly had to come from in front of him to the right . . . where a grassy knoll with all sorts of prime sniper lairs lay.

On Politics

In other political fallout, this choice quote—“Yet millions of people live in the Washington area, and relatively few of us have adulterous relationships with married subordinates we have hired to assist us in broadcasts for Christian media outlets. That, and not this town’s ‘poisonous environment,’ is why Souder is resigning.”—is far too true not to reprint.

Although pundits will argue that President Barack Obama was hurt based on yesterday’s results (given that he had publicly backed both Specter and sitting Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, who is now headed to a runoff election in June), I would argue that Democrats as a party came out ahead.  They now have strong, battle-tested candidates ready for a tough general election, and—much more importantly—they held on to the late John Murtha’s seat in his über-conservative Pennsylvania congressional district, the only one in the nation to vote for John Kerry in 2004 but not back Barack Obama four years hence.

On Fantasy

And since this post has been saturated with such salaciousness, I will conclude with what I think to be some sage fantasy baseball advice.  Two sleeper outfielders (and potential stars)—one currently in the majors, the other just weeks away from making the Show—that could help you in all fantasy formats: Detroit’s Brennan Boesch and Florida’s Michael Stanton.

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