Welcome to Kenneth A. Rahn's Academic JFK Assassination
Site. It takes its "academic" name from the fact that it attempts to approach the
assassination in a way that is as scholarly, dignified, and rigorous as
possible. As with many other English words, "academic" has two levels
of meaning here. The narrow, obvious meaning refers to the way we can study the
assassination formally, as in my long-time course at the University of Rhode
Island. The second meaning is more general, and refers to the fact that academic
approaches are formalized versions of the intuitive ways we approach problems in
daily life. I believe that a careful study of the various formal and informal
ways that we approach problems in a variety of fields reveals a common core of
principles and steps that is surprisingly similar in diverse fields ranging from
science to history to law to law enforcement to buying your next car. It is this
approach that is described and used here.
But that is not how the JFK field has generally operated. Its "research community" remains mired in confusion because its members operate largely ad hoc—they feel their way along from point to point without a higher-level compass to guide them. They need to forget the relentless chase for details, take a few steps back, and think about what they are doing. They should learn the proper procedures for investigating a crime and operate that way. They should learn how to think critically and logically and vow never again to knowingly make an error in reasoning. They should educate themselves in the disciplines necessary to understand the physical evidence from the assassination, such as ballistics and traditional physics and chemistry. And most importantly, they should commit themselves to learning the truth, wherever it lies. The "debate" of the last 40 years has been a false one. The genuine issues were hijacked by critics who, knowingly or not, broke the rules of data-handling and thinking and dominated the debate by decibels and doggedness. In so doing, they misled the American public into thinking there was any sort of reasonable doubt about the assassination, which there most assuredly is not.
This site presents a great deal of material on all sides of the JFK assassination. I pride myself on offering original writings by researchers of every possible persuasion. The site is not neutral on the JFK assassination, however, for no one with critical faculties can study the assassination and remain neutral. This site shows that the proper investigative techniques lead inevitably to the strong conclusions that JFK was almost certainly killed by a lone gunman firing from the Texas School Book Depository, that he was almost certainly acting alone, and that he was almost certainly Lee Harvey Oswald. The authorities learned his identity within hours, and huge piles of evidence for his ability to accomplish it alone and against his having had any help were learned within weeks to months. There is no mystery here. Rather, the "doubts" that began to be voiced in the weeks after the assassination were invalid constructs of using evidence improperly. Eventually, this site will fully deconstruct the doubters and lay bare their flawed methods. That such invalid conclusions have existed, and perhaps even flourished, for nearly 40 years is a regrettable testament to the lack of critical-thinking skills in the American populace as a whole. Among the main goals of this site are to demonstrate this unfortunate fact and make available a simple, straightforward way to correct it.
If you are looking for a web site that flits around the margins of the JFK assassination, please go somewhere else. If you are looking for a site that seizes on inconsequential evidence and pretends it means something, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for a site that picks out one or two pieces of questionable evidence and claims that they prove conspiracy (or nonconspiracy), you will surely be disappointed. Instead, this site focuses on the most important pieces of evidence with the most important time-tested techniques, and shows that the assassination is a very simple thing to understand. It only becomes murky when you make it so by using flawed reasoning or weak evidence.
I am presently (May 2003) beginning to reorganize the site to clarify its message and make it more easily accessible. When finished, it will have roughly the following parts:
Until that time, please continue to use the major sections shown on the left.
My original interest in the assassination was in its scientific aspects, because that was what my background allowed me to approach best. I ultimately produced two monograph-length treatises, one on the neutron-activation (NAA) data from the bullets and fragments and the the other on the physics of JFK's movements after the killing head shot. The NAA monograph shows that the five lead fragments from the assassination are consistent with two and only two bullets, both fired from Oswald's rifle in the depository. The physics monograph shows that the quick forward movement of JFK's head is fully explained by a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet from the depository (and indeed requires such a bullet), and secondly that the following two-phase movement of JFK's head and torso to the rear requires a quick mechanical recoil (jet effect) followed by a longer, slower bodily recoil, most likely in the form of a stiffening of the back (neuromuscular reaction). These monographs are the two largest single items on this web site.
The goal of this web site is enlightenment through proper investigative procedures. I welcome any and all reactions from readers, and as time permits will post them for all to see. Feel free to submit comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.