PSC404, Spring 2001
Assignment 5, due Friday 23 February 2001
Warren Report App. X–XII; Back/shoulder wound
Read: Warren Commission Report Appendices X–XII, “The ten toughest issues,” “The back/shoulder wound.”
Answer these questions:
1. How do bullets pick up traceable markings as they are fired from a rifle?
2. To what extent were the bullets retrieved from Officer Tippit’s body traceable to Oswald’s Smith & Wesson revolver?
3. What is a paraffin test? What were the results of Lee Harvey Oswald’s paraffin tests? What conclusions can be drawn from these results?
4. How did the Army’s Edgewood Arsenal simulate Kennedy’s neck wound? How much velocity did the WCC/MC bullets lose in passing through the simulated neck? Was the bullet still stable when it emerged?
5. List the people whose reports of Oswald’s interrogations are given in Appendix XI. What were their official positions in Dallas, and why would they have participated in the interrogations?
6. List a few common features you found in their reports. Are they enough to provide a reasonable sense of how the interviews went?
7–9. Appendix XII contains something like 127 speculations on 10 broad
topics within the assassination, together with the Warren Commission’s answers
to them. They make fascinating reading as well as the perfect preparation for
our entering the world of conspiracy later.
Find nine of these speculations that you think are weak or incorrect. Using reasoning or actual evidence (some of which may have appeared after the Commission was dissolved), show how to counter or disprove each of the answers (i.e., how to demonstrate that an answer portrayed as conclusive is actually uncertain or wrong). As always, make your answers as objective and rigorous as possible. Try to distribute your responses over several topics. Don't just shoot from the hip—think carefully about each answer.
10. The issue of the height of Kennedy’s neck/back wound remains very contentious within the JFK community. Use what you already know about the physical evidence to try to decide whether this issue really matters to getting the right answer about the assassination. In other words, can it be worked around?
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