Trajectory of a Lie

            By Milicent Cranor

Part I. The Palindrome
Part II. Neck and Torso X-Rays: Selectivity in Reporting
Part III. Big Lie About a Small Wound in Connally's Back


“A secret may be sometimes best kept by keeping the secret of its being a secret.  It is not many years since a State secret of the greatest importance was printed without being divulged, merely by sending it to the press like any other matter, and trusting to the mechanical habits of the persons employed.  They printed it piecemeal in ignorance of what it was about.”

From The Statesman,

by Sir Henry Taylor, 1836


View from the overpass, southwest corner of Dealey Plaza.  Taken by the author.


Part I.  The Palindrome

Two points make a line.  Two connected bullet wounds in a body make a line known as a trajectory.   The line can be extended backward to the general area of the shooter.   Thus, a line can accuse a man of murder.    But one wound must be clearly an entrance, the other, clearly an exit.  And the two must be connected.  All three conditions have to be present, or we have either no trajectory, or we have one that is reversible, depending on viewpoint.   A palindrome.   

A palindrome is a word, phrase or number that reads the same, backwards or forwards, e.g., “Able was I ere I saw Elba.”  The word comes from the Greek, palindromospalin (back again) + dromos (course).    Words used to describe the back and throat wounds of Kennedy read the same, backwards or forwards.   This is because both wounds have been described as entrances.   Supporters of the official position, however, insist the throat wound was an exit, pointing out that exits can resemble entrances.  If this is true, the converse must also be true:  entrances can resemble exits.   According to their own logic, then, either wound could be an exit or an entrance.  

The throat and back wounds were quite similar.   Commander James Humes, the pathologist in charge of the autopsy, said the back wound was  “sharply delineated… quite regular in its outline … margins were similar in all respects when viewed with the naked eye to the wound in the skull, which we feel incontrovertibly was a wound of entrance.” (2 WH 364)    Of the small throat wound, the Parkland doctors said it had “ no jagged edges or stellate lacerations”  (6 WH 3); “relatively smooth edges (6 WH 54); “rather clean.”  (3 WH 372)  In addition, the Parkland doctors described an abrasion collar  (7HSCA302; 6 WH 42) as well as other very specific particulars.   (Then one of them later said he could hardly see the wound at all, but that is another story.)

Advocates on both sides express opinions on these wounds based partly on appearance, but mostly on context – location of wounds relative to each other, position and posture of the victim relative to presumed position of shooter(s).  This is how it should be.   Context, unless it is manufactured, is always relevant, but it should never be confused with what it surrounds.    Ask for details that prove the wound was an exit, and you may get a lengthy description of Lee Harvey Oswald’s dysfunctional childhood or marriage.   Ask again about the wound itself, and you may be told it cannot be an entrance because the shooter was behind the victim.   Try again, and you will be told that four “exhaustive” official inquiries determined its nature:  the Warren Commission, which depended on a pathologist who said that, during the autopsy, he was unaware of anything abnormal in the throat other than the tracheotomy, (why we have no tissue samples of the bullet wound’s remains, or decent photos of it), the Clark Panel, a collection of forensics experts who had nothing to go on but photos of poor quality, the HSCA Medical Panel, which had nothing better, and the ARRB which turned up a great deal of evidence that contradicted the official conclusion, but reported almost none of it in its summaries to the press.

The Warren Commission

What did the pathologists say they concluded on the night of the autopsy, before they learned “later” about the bullet wound in the throat?   According to Humes’s testimony before the Warren Commission (confirmed by the other two pathologists), they thought a bullet had entered the JFK’s back (later revised to “neck”), proceeded on to bruise the top of the right lung, continued further to the front where it bruised the strap muscles on the right, and  stopped just inside the skin of the throat.   Then, during CPR, it reversed its entire path and fell out the same hole it entered. (2 WH 367, 368)    Humes said another possibility occurred to them that night:  the bullet may have gone down (carried by the circulation?) to the thigh or buttock.    

And that’s when we saw the contusion of the dome of the upper lobe of the right lung, and we wondered, where’s the bullet?    You know.   Should have called Dallas right then and there.    It would have saved me a lot of worry and grief for several hours, because x-rays hadn’t found it for us.   Like it could have been in his thigh or it could have been in his buttock.   It could have been any damn place.  We didn’t know where it went.   It was obvious after we talked to the doctors the next morning where it went.   It went out.   That’s why we couldn’t find it.   And we weren’t going to spend the rest of the night there, you know…  

So they believed the bullet went “any damn place” but out the throat?   In the front of the neck, just a few centimeters away from the back wound, a wide incision across the throat gaped at them, the kind of incision that is a prelude to an exploratory procedure, however minimal, that is nearly always made in the presence of a penetrating knife or bullet wound.   The very existence of such an incision shouts Trauma!  Such an incision gives the surgeon enough room to locate and repair any life-threatening damage to the vital structures inside, and this procedure is done even in the presence of a bad head trauma.   This wide incision allowed Malcolm Perry to see and later report on, among other things, the condition of the carotid arteries, which are spaced widely apart on either side of the neck, far from the middle, where a bullet either entered or exited JFK.   But Humes only referred to a tracheotomy incision, instead of an exploratory incision, so he was never questioned about how he could ignore the throat as a possible site for a bullet wound.   He also said they “weren’t going to spend the rest of the night there,” indicting they did not have time to determine the bullet path – yet they spent time on less relevant parts of the body:

Then we proceeded with the dissection of the lungs, heart and abdominal contents and so forth.   (ARRB, 1996, pp.112-3)

Note:   Kennedy was not shot in the abdomen.

Clark Panel Report

How did the Clark Panel deal with the throat wound?   From their report of 1968:

At the site of and above the tracheotomy incision in the front of the neck, there can be identified the upper half of the circumference of a circular cutaneous wound the appearance of which is characteristic of that of the exit wound of a bullet. (p.9)

Characteristic of an exit?  What was the basis for this conclusion?   A few photographs of very poor quality, none specifically identified, none taken at close range, none taken under magnification.   (Note: magnifying a photograph is not the same as photographing a wound under magnification.)

The Clark report is remarkable for its omissions.  Where is the requisite description of the quality of the photos, and the distance from which they were taken?   Where is the requisite list of details that distinguished this wound as an exit as opposed to an entrance?   Where is the standard disclaimer making clear the fact that no definite conclusion could be based on such a paucity of materials?    The Clark Report does not follow the principles as stated by the most prominent member of the  Panel, Alan R. Moritz, M.D.  From his article, “Classical Mistakes in Forensic Pathology,” American Journal of Clinical Pathology 1956; vol.26, p.1383. 

Although it would seem to be obvious that the location, dimensions, shape, depth, and special features of every wound should be described, such information is frequently inadequately recorded on protocols that are prepared by pathologists who perform only occasional medicolegal autopsies.  In the protocol of a medicolegal autopsy, it is better to describe 10 findings that prove to be of no significance than to omit one that might be critical…

The purpose of a protocol is twofold.  One is to record a sufficiently detailed, factual, and  noninterpretive (emphasis mine) description of the observed conditions, in order that a competent reader may form his own opinions in regard to the significance of the changes described.   Thus, a region of dark blue discoloration in the… may or may not be a bruise.  To refer to it as a contusion in the descriptive part of the protocol is to substitute an interpretation for a description, and this is as unwarranted as it may be misleading…

And this is exactly what the Clark Panel did with respect to the throat wound:  “substituted an interpretation for a description.”    The back wound got slightly better treatment, probably because the desired conclusion (bullet entrance) was not likely to be challenged:

  A well defined zone of discoloration of the edge of the back wound, most pronounced on its upper and outer margins, identifies it as having the characteristics of the entrance wound of a bullet.  The wound with its marginal abrasion measures approximately 7 mm in width by 10 mm in length.  The dimensions of this cutaneous wound are consistent with those of a wound produced by a bullet similar to that which constitutes exhibit CE 399.  (p.9)


As expected, neither the HSCA nor the ARRB turned up any new physical evidence that would document the nature of the throat wound, but both inquiries resulted in some very interesting revelations, few of which were publicized.  With respect to the throat wound, three principal players radically contradict the testimony of James Humes: they say that he indeed knew – during the autopsy – that Kennedy had sustained this wound.   If their statements are true, this means the pathologists failed to document (with descriptive words, proper photographs, tissue slides, etc.) a wound that they knew about, then lied about having known of it.

J. Thornton Boswell, M.D., the second pathologist:

Dr. Boswell said he remembered seeing "part of the perimeter of a bullet wound in the anterior neck." (HSCA, 1977, p.8, in ARRB MD 26)  (See Dr. Akin’s description of this perimeter, above.)

Did you reach the conclusion that there had been a transit wound through the neck during the course of the autopsy itself?    Oh, yes.   (ARRB 1996, p.34)

 Our conclusions had been that night and then reinforced the next day that it was a tracheostomy through a bullet wound.   (ARRB 1996, p.45)

John H. Ebersole, M.D., Acting Chief of Radiology

I must say these times are approximate but I would say in the range of ten to eleven p.m.  Dr. Humes had determined that a procedure had been carried out in the anterior neck covering the wound of exit ... (HSCA, 1978, p.20)

The taking of the X-rays again were stopped... once we had communication with Dallas and Dr. Humes had determined that there was a wound of exit in the lower neck anterior ...  once that fact had been established.. my part in the proceedings was finished.  (HSCA, 1978, pp.51-2)

John T. Stringer, Chief Photographer

At any time during the autopsy, did any of the doctors attempt to determine whether there were any bullet fragments in the anterior neck wound?


What did they do?

Well, they checked on the X-rays.  Did it by feel, or vision.

When you say ‘by feel,’ what do you mean?

By feeling, to see if there was anything sharp or –

So, the doctors’ fingers then would have been put into the tracheotomy wound, to attempt to determine whether any bullet fragments… ?  (ARRB, 1996, p.191)

(Many more revelations are described elsewhere in this report and others on this website.)

From the Forensics Literature

What is the appropriate interpretation of the details we have on the throat wound from Parkland?   What are the possibilities?   The answers may be found in the forensic medical literature, depending on the source.

The field of forensic medicine seems exceptionally contaminated by politics.  Local, petty politics, national politics, and global politics.    And the forensic literature is often colorful and cantankerous, as one curmudgeon denounces another.     But at least the sources of contention usually concern differences in interpretation of the same objective data.   On the other hand, objective data on the wounds of Kennedy and Connally are often falsely presented, their interpretation, forced and artificial.   Most of these papers on the assassination are stunning in their lack of scholarship and honesty, and should be considered infomercials.    But I have also seen at least one otherwise scholarly paper (on wounds in general) that falsely represented the facts in that case.   For these reasons, I always try to confirm contemporary statements on wounds with those written long ago, by authors who could not possibly have been influenced by the politics of the Kennedy assassination.  These authors wrote in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s about wounds created by weapons that could have been used on November 22, 1963.    What they describe is consistent with what is presented below.

GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M.Di Maio, published by CRC Press in 1999, contains a great deal of interesting material.  Here, one can find exquisite detail not found elsewhere.  On the other hand, the author sometimes omits relevant information.  Nevertheless, it is a very good source.  Note: Vincent Di Maio would not agree with the opinions expressed on this website; he firmly supports the official position on the assassination of Kennedy.   But, as far as I know, he has not seen the bodies of either Kennedy or Connally, nor has he seen any other evidence, aside from the autopsy photographs which are notably inferior.   Reproduced below are photos and comments, mostly from the Di Maio book, on four kinds of wounds that illustrate the palindromic nature of this case.

Entrances with Abrasion Rings

            The comments of two Parkland doctors may have indicated an abrasion ring around Kennedy’s throat. [6 WH 42; 7 HSCA 302]  The edges of the wound may or may not have been partially obscured by blood but, the edges that showed had damage (one referred to “bruises”).  The doctors ruled out any lacerations typical of an exit wound, so that was not the “damage” one of them referred to.  From pages 82 and 84 of Gunshot Wounds:

Most entrance wounds, no matter the range [by “range,” he means distance from weapon to target], are surrounded by a reddish, reddish-brown zone of abraded skin – the abrasion ring (Figure 4.16).  This is a rim of flattened, abraded epidermis, surrounding the entrance hole.

The abrasion ring occurs when the bullet abrades (“rubs raw”) the edges of the hole as it indents and pierces the skin.  

More detail from page 90:

Microscopic sections through a gunshot wound of entrance show a progressive increase in alteration of the epithelium and dermis as one proceeds from the periphery of the abrasion ring to the margin of the perforation.  The most peripheral margin of the abrasion ring shows a zone of compressed, deformed cells many of which show nuclear “streaming.”  As one proceeds centrally, there is loss of superficial cellular layers so that only the rete pegs remain adjacent to the perforation.7  Such epithelial changes occur in contact, near-contact, intermediate, and distant wounds.

The “rete pegs” he mentions are defined as inward projections of epidermis into dermis.  For even more detail, see Adelson, L.A.  A microscopic study of dermal gunshot wounds.  Am J Clin Pathol 1991; 35:393, reference 7 above.

Typical entrance wound with abrasion ring.    Page 84.

Reprinted, with permission, from GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M. Di Maio, CRC Press, 1999.  Copyright CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.

Entrances with No Abrasion Rings

Apparently Kennedy’s throat wound could have been an entrance even if it did not have an abrasion collar.   From pages 85 and 87 from Gunshot Wounds:

Occasionally an entrance wound will not have an abrasion ring observable either by naked eye or by dissecting microscope.  This can be due to the nature of the bullet or the location of the entrance wound.  Entrance wounds from centerfire rifle bullets and jacketed/semi-jacketed handgun bullets (usually of high velocity, e.g., the .357 magnum and 9-mm Parabellum) may not have abrasion rings…

In addition to the absence of an abrasion ring, wounds from high velocity centerfire rifle bullets may show small splits or tears radiating outward from the edges of the perforation (Figure 7.12)… Although micro-tears may be barely visible with the naked eye, they are readily apparent with the dissecting microscope.

Entrance wound with no abrasion ring.  At the top half of the image is a side view of the tunnel created by the bullet in the skin’s thickness.  Page 184.

Reprinted, with permission, from  GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M. Di Maio, CRC Press, 1999.  Copyright CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.

Exit Wounds that are Small  

The one thing about the throat wound that has not been controversial is its small size.   Could it still have been an exit?   Under what circumstances?     Di Maio gives only two reasons, explicitly, for the usual appearance of exit wounds, on page 92:

Exit wounds, whether they are the result of contact, intermediate, or distant firing, all have the same general characteristics.  They are typically larger and more irregular than entrance wounds…

The larger but more irregular nature of exit wounds is due to two factors.  First, the spin that stabilized the bullet in the air is not effective in tissue because of the greater density of the tissue.  Thus, as the missile travels through the body, its natural yaw is accentuated; it travels through enough tissue it will eventually tumble ending up traveling base first.  Second, the bullet may be deformed in its passage through the body.  Both factors result in the presentation of a larger area of bullet [the length] with resultant larger and more irregular exit wounds.   That deformation and tumbling of the reasons why the exit wound is usually larger and more irregular than the entrance was proved by a number of experiments in which steel balls were fired through animals at high velocities. 10 These balls were not deformed by the tissue and, because of their configuration, could not tumble.  The exit wounds produced were smaller than the entrances because the missiles had less energy at the time of exit compared to when they entered the body.

So there is an important third factor affecting wound size: velocity.    Here is a selection of representative results taken from a larger table that appeared in the article by F.W. Light, referenced by Dr. Di Maio.  

Diameter of steel sphere (mm)

Impact Velocity (fps)

Entrance (mm)

Exit (mm)

Length of Wound Track (cm)



20 x 13






10 x 2




6 x 4

5 x 3




15 x 7

7 x 3




13 x 8

4 x 1




11 x 8



A small ball makes a large hole if it goes fast enough, and a large ball makes a small hole if it goes slow enough.  

Adapted from Light, F.W. Gunshot wounds of entrance and exit in experimental animals.   J Trauma 1963; (March) 3(2):120-128, p.122

The ball used that was most similar in size to the Carcano bullet was 6.4 mm.    It is alleged that a Carcano bullet struck Kennedy in the back at an impact velocity of just under 2000 feet per second.  Unfortunately, none of the 6.4mm steel balls in the experiment struck at a comparable velocity.   The author did not record the exiting velocity.   


Kennedy’s back wound was about this size.   Was it an exit wound? Reprinted, with permission, from  GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M. Di Maio, CRC Press, 1999.  Copyright CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.

Entrances with Ragged Edges

            Besides their size, Light also described the condition of the wound’s edges,   “tattering,” as well as the similarity of entrance and exit wounds.     

The entrance wounds typically showed tattering of skin edges, and cratering and beveling of their margins.  Such changes produced a total superficial skin defect larger – at the higher velocities often much larger – than the actual hole through the skin.  This picture was not, however, distinctive or pathognomonic of entrance as opposed to exit wounds.  (Light, F.W. Gunshot wounds of entrance and exit in experimental animals.   J Trauma 1963; (March) 3(2):120-128)


Shored Exit Wounds

What sort of  wound would be created by an undeformed FMJ from a centerfire rifle, exiting straight out, without tumbling, at a fairly high velocity (1600-1800 fps)?    I could not find an explicit answer in the Di Maio book, but Larry Sturdivan, an Army wound expert consulted by the HSCA, told me in an email a few years ago that such a wound would be large with obvious lacerations radiating from the center (“stellate”).  He described an experiment anyone can perform to see how these lacerations are formed:  poke a finger through something flexible, such a cloth or saran wrap, and you will first see a “tenting effect,” a cone, with the tip of your finger at the small end.  Push forward and you tear a hole in the material, and the tear grows as you perforate the material.  Sturdivan said that Kennedy’s throat wound would have looked like a typical exit –  had it not been a “shored” wound.

The HSCA said the wound was small because it was held in place by the collar band,  a phenomenon known as “shoring.” (  7 HSCA ).   When a wound is “shored” or “buttressed,” it is held in place by some rigid material next to the skin.   The rigid material prevents the skin from the“tenting” and tearing described above.   

According to Vincent Di Maio, shored exit wounds have very wide abrasion collars:

In unusual circumstances, exit wounds will have abraded margins (Figure 4.24).  These are called shored exit wounds.  They are characterized by a broad, irregular band of abrasion of the skin around the exit.  In such wounds the skin is reinforced, or “shored,” by a firm surface at the instant the bullet exits.  Thus, individuals shot while lying on the floor, leaning against a wall, or sitting back in a chair may have shored exit wounds.  As it exits, the bullet everts the skin, with the everted margin impacting against the wall, floor, or back of a chair, thus being abraded or “rubbed raw.”  Shored exit wounds can also occur from tight supportive garments, such as girdles, brassieres, and belts…  Shored wounds have very wide, irregular abrasion collars and when dry may simulate contact wounds. (pp 94-95)

Reprinted, with permission, from  GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M. Di Maio, CRC Press, 1999.  Copyright CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.

Reprinted, with permission, from  GUNSHOT WOUNDS, Practical Aspects of Firearms, Ballistics, and Forensic Techniques, Second Edition,  by Vincent J.M. Di Maio, CRC Press, 1999.  Copyright CRC Press, Boca Ratan, Florida.

“Shored wounds have very wide, irregular abrasion collars and when dry may simulate contact wounds.” (pp 94-95)  Nothing like this was seen around Kennedy’s throat wound.

            Another excellent source of information on shored wounds can be found in an article by Josepina C. Aguilar, MD, “Shored gunshot wound of exit,” (Am J Foren Med Path 1983; 4(3):199-204).    

In contrast to the entrance wound, the supported exit wound shows a scalloped or punched-out abrasion collar and sharply contoured skin in between the radiating skin lacerations marginating the abrasion… 

In contrast to the shored exit with its “scalloped or punched-out abrasion collar,” the edges of Kennedy’s throat wound were not ragged and not punched outward, according To Whom It May Concern: Malcolm Perry, who explored Kennedy’s throat wound and performed the tracheotomy.  (3 WH 372)

Was crushed skin found on the inside of JFK’s shirt?  According to Aguilar, crushed skin is found on the shoring material.  (And when the shoring material is pulled away from the victim, skin tags that resemble a peeling sunburn are formed, another reason why abrasion caused by shoring is so obvious.)   The FBI presumably went over Kennedy’s shirt very carefully, looking for evidence of the bullet’s passage, including subtle evidence, such as traces of metal.   

            As documented above, entrance wounds need not have abrasion collars, nor must their edges be perfectly smooth.  These facts render irrelevant attempts by Malcolm Perry and others to discredit the specific observations about the throat wound by claiming it was covered up by blood.  (As will be shown in a later section, the Parkland doctors also tried to discredit their earlier comments about the head wound, using this same logic, and carrying it to an extreme degree.)   Here is a collection of those descriptive comments made by five doctors who saw the wound before it was cut through in the process of the tracheotomy:  Malcolm O. Perry, C. James Carrico,  Charles T. Baxter, Ronald Coy Jones, and Marion T. Jenkins.   I have also included a few informative comments by two other doctors who did not see the original wound, William Kemp Clark, and Eugene Akin.



The only people who saw this wound for sure were Dr. Carrico and myself, and some of the other doctors were quoted as saying something about the wound which actually they never said at all because they never saw it… (3 WH 377)

[NOTE:  Jones accompanied Perry to the ER (6 WH 52), and Baxter came immediately after, in time to see the wound (6 WH 54).  Marion Jenkins apparently also arrived early enough to see the wound.]

Blood obscured any detail about the edges (6 WH 9)

They [edges] were covered by blood (6 WH 9)

I did not, however, wipe the blood off and inspect the wound…(HSCA, 1/11/78, p.3)

“I didn’t even wipe the blood off on the right side, so I estimated it at five millimeters or so of exuding blood and I cut right through it, as Dr. Jones knows, so nobody else saw it after that.”  (ARRB 1998, p23)



lower anterior third in the midline (6 WH 9)

Second tracheal ring


approximately an inch and a half above the manubrium (6 WH 42)


immediately below the larynx (6 WH 3)


midline… just above suprasternal notch (manubrium)


at the point of his knot of his necktie (6 WH 28) [Clark did not see the wound before it was extended.]



roughly 5mm  (6 WH 9)

not unlike a rather large puncture wound   (6 WH 15)

4 to 6 millimeters in diameter  (7 HSCA 300)


4-5mm in widest diameter  (6 WH 42)


4-7 mm (6 WH 3)

5- to 8-mm in size  (3 WH 359)


probably no greater than a quarter of an inch (6 WH 53)




a  spherical wound  (sic) (6 WH 42)


rather round  (6 WH 3)


spherical (sic)  to oval  (6 WH 9)

Abrasion Collar


the edges were bruised  (7 HSCA 302)


4-5mm… the size of the wound is measured by the hole plus the damaged skin around the area (6 WH 42)



neither ragged nor were they punched out, but rather clean  (3 WH 372)


very minimal amount of disruption or interruption of the surrounding skin…  relatively smooth edges…small smooth wound    (6 WH 54)


no jagged edges or stellate lacerations  (6 WH 3)


did not appear to be a jagged wound  (6 WH 42)


not a clean wound, and by “clean” clearly demarcated, round punctate..


slightly ragged around the edges (6 WH 65)  [Akin did not see the wound before the tracheotomy, but he saw the remains of its divided perimeter.]

Location of Incision


in the second tracheal ring (6 WH 42)


Midline… below the level of the cricoid cartilage, about 1 to 1.5 cm in diameter.  The lower part of this had been cut across when I saw the wound. (6 WH 65)   [Note: this means that most of the perimeter was above the line of incision.]


·        The bullet wound in Kennedy’s throat was not acknowledged, not described, and not documented in any way by the pathologists during the autopsy.

·        Subsequent investigations could not possibly examine the documentation of the remains of the bullet wound in the throat  – there was none, other than a poor photograph, taken from too far away to show any detail. 

·        The Clark Panel was not guided by the scientific principles described by its most prominent member, Alan R. Moritz:  the Panel failed to “record a sufficiently detailed, factual, and  noninterpretive  description of the observed conditions [whatever details suggested the wound was ‘characteristic of an exit’ at the exclusion of an entrance], in order that a competent reader may form his own opinions in regard to the significance of the changes described.”   

·        Physicians who actually saw the wound gave several reasons for their interpretation of its nature:  an entrance wound.

·        Entrance wounds need not be perfectly smooth.

·        Entrance wounds need not have abrasion collars.

·        The size of entrance and exit wounds is affected by the bullet’s velocity.

·        Exit wounds can be small if the area of the bullet presented to the skin is also small – and if its exiting velocity is low.

·        Abrasion collars of exit wounds are much larger and, in other ways, are distinctly different from those of entrance wounds.

·        The known details about the back and throat wounds of John F. Kennedy suggest both could be either entrance or exit wounds.

·        The back wound could have been the exit of a bullet that entered the body through the throat.  Many researchers doubt this because no hole was reported in the trunk of the limousine; they believe such a trajectory would require the bullet to also penetrate the trunk.  This is not necessarily so: if the bullet had exited with very little energy – perhaps after traveling from afar – it would not have penetrated the trunk. 

·        The back wound could have been the entrance of a bullet (underpowered) that barely penetrated, then fell out, into oblivion.  (A bullet superficially penetrated the thigh of Governor John Connally, creating a round,10mm wound, and somehow leaving a small fragment 8mm beneath the skin.  This bullet had very little energy -- allegedly -- because it had already perforated Kennedy’s neck, then Connally’s chest and wrist.)

·        The abrasion collar on Kennedy’s throat wound was consistent with an entrance  – and most definitely not that of a shored exit.

·        There is no reported evidence that Kennedy’s shirt collar contained crushed skin.

·        If Kennedy’s throat wound were an exit, the bullet that created it could not have had sufficient velocity to perforate Governor John Connally’s chest and wrist.

·        If Kennedy’s throat wound was an entrance, it was a typical entrance.

Next: Part II. Neck and Torso X-Rays: Selectivity in Reporting

* Jenkins has made a number of false claims.   For example, during a discussion of  the head wound, he told Gerald Posner that “We were trying to save the President, and no one had time to examine the wounds.  As for the head wound, they couldn’t look at it earlier because I was standing with my body against it, and they would only have looked at my pants.”  (Case Closed, p.309)  In fact, the Chief of the Department of Neurosurgery, W.K. Clark donned rubber gloves to closely examine the damage to the skull as well as the brain.

© 2002 Milicent Cranor