Which evidence is essential?
March 2001

    Given the huge mass of evidence in the JFK case, it is surprising that there have not been more attempts to rank it in importance. To be sure, many writers try this in a tentative, intuitive way, and scattered articles have tried it seriously with the physical evidence. But there seems to have been no serious, comprehensive attempt at it. The more I consider the JFK assassination and its morass of evidence, the more I think that its lack of organization is a major failing.
    I have been toying with this subject for several months. Recently I started to experiment with it in a small way, but exploring which pieces of evidence are not needed to get the right answer. Such evidence might be called "inessential." I began with an open mind, and first considered evidence in the medical area because this part of the assassination seems more confused than most. My very first entry dealt with whether we really needed to know the height of the back wound, a contentious topic of late. Briefly, one side agrees with the Warren Commission that Kennedy's back wound lay above the scapula, the so-called "high" position. The other side claims that the wound is actually inches lower, at the level of the holes in the shirt and jacket, and maybe even on the photos of the back. This location might be called the "low" position.
    The stakes of the discussion are high. The high position leads to a clear downward trajectory through the neck, and from there into Connally's back (the single-bullet theory, or SBT for short). The low position leads to thoughts of conspiracy. Since neither side seems willing to budge, I started wondering just how vital this piece of information is, and whether we couldn't work around it. My initial attempt confirmed that we didn't really need to know the height of the wound, because evidence downstream linked the bullet strongly to Oswald's rifle, which was fired from the sixth floor in the depository.
    Buoyed by this initial success, I started subjecting other pieces of evidence to the same approach. For a while I feared that because the physical evidence is so interlinked, everything would turn out to be inessential provided that the other pieces were present. (This is like saying that the tightness of the collection made every piece expendable as long as the rest was present.) But I soon learned that this view was false, and that certain pieces of evidence, even if only a few, are indispensable to understanding the JFK assassination.
    I am still at the beginning stages of this work. This introductory page and its linked pages will develop rapidly during spring 2001, for the topic they deal with is very important to understanding the assassination.

Do we need to know the height of the back wound?
    My first attempt at writing down the logic about needing to know a piece of evidence that is generally considered crucial. It appears here in the form that I submitted it to the moderated newsgroup alt.assassination.jfk, where it elicited several responses that could best be considered "in the old mold" of thinking. To see this very short essay, click here.

Do we need to know the height of the rear head wound?
    This is my second effort at determining which evidence is essential and which not. The simple train of logic shows that because the NAA connects the lead fragments from the head to Q2 from the front seat, and ballistics connects Q2 to C2766 (Oswald's rifle), the bullet from Oswald's rifle obviously passed through the head and into the area of the front seat. The rear entry to the head must therefore allow this, and we don't need to know anything more about its exact position. This powerful result is yet another manifestation of the power of the NAA data. To see the chain of logic, click here.

Do we need the Zapruder film?
    (To be developed. In the meantime, see "The Z-film hurt more than it helped.")

A summary table of essential and inessential evidence
    (To be developed.)