Do we need to know the height of the rear head wound?
Revised June 2001

    Just as with JFK's back wound, students of the assassination argue incessantly about the height of the entrance wound at the rear of his head. One group accepts that it is just above and to the right of the EOP, as reported by the three autopsy physicians and reproduced in the Warren Report. Another group claims that it is four inches higher, near the cowlick. They follow the reports of the HSCA and the Clark Panel, and Dr. John K. Lattimer's book Kennedy and Lincoln. Each group claims photographic evidence for its position. Interestingly, each group also contains conspiracists and nonconspiracists.
    As with the back wound, neither group is budging about the height of the head wound. Even though I have recently been persuaded that the high position is probably the correct one and that the autopsy physicians probably made a mistake, I became curious about whether this seemingly intractable problem could be worked around, that is, whether the height didn't really matter in getting to the right answer about the assassination. Here is the chain of logic that I constructed, which shows that the height of the entrance wound is not essential to understanding the assassination.

  1. The bullet entered somewhere in the rear of JFK's head.
  2. The bullet did not stay in his head.
  3. The bullet exited somewhere on the right side of his head.
  4. Two large fragments of one or two bullets, a tip and a base (Q2,3), were found in the front seat of the car.
  5. Two pieces of damage to the inside of the windshield area (chrome strip and windshield proper) were found.
  6. The lead fragments retrieved from JFK's brain (Q4,5) were tied compositionally to the front-seat bullet tip (Q2) by NAA.
  7. Q2 was tied to Oswald's rifle (C2766) by ballistics.
  8. Therefore the bullet that passed through JFK's head and whose fragments hit the windshield area came unambiguously from Oswald's rifle, and the location of the entrance and exit wounds must have allowed this.
  9. Therefore we don't need to know exactly where the bullet entered (or left) the head.

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