The President is Dead: Why Conspiracy Theories About the Death of JFK Endure

November 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Over the years, numerous investigations have amassed evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin, and failed to find compelling proof that anyone else was involved. Yet the identity of the person who fired the fatal bullet is still a subject of debate among the public. In the run up to the anniversary, the internet has been rife with conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy’s death. Polls consistently show that conspiracist accounts of the JFK assassination are more widely believed than any other conspiracy theory – most surveys show that a majority of the US public suspects that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn’t acting alone. Why is it that this event, more than any other, captured the conspiracist imagination and refuses to let go? 

Evidence in favour of a conspiracy is a mixed bag, at best. Conspiracy theorists have accused dozens of individuals and organisations of being involved in an assassination plot, but a conspiracy has never been definitively proven. Yet there are enough ambiguities and apparent inconsistencies in what is disparagingly termed the ‘official story’ to allow conspiracist narratives to thrive on the periphery of genuine scholarship. This year alone, a handful of new books claim to reveal startling new evidence substantiating various conspiracy theories.

Regardless of what actually happened that day, research suggests that we might be psychologically predisposed to see conspiracies behind events like the Kennedy assassination. This is because of an unconscious mental rule of thumb called the proportionality bias. When the outcome of an event is significant, proportionally significant causes seem more plausible. When consequences are modest, more modest attributions are made. Psychologists have demonstrated the bias using a variety of experimental scenarios, from reports of disease outbreaks and tornadoes to plane crashes and crimes. The findings are consistent: we tend to infer big causes for extreme events and small causes for insignificant events. 

Few events are more momentous than the assassination of a nation’s leader. Explaining the death of President John F. Kennedy as the result of a lone, otherwise unremarkable individual violates the principle of proportionality. On the other hand, a theory alleging a vast, insidious conspiracy among a shadowy group of powerful figures might satisfy our unconscious desire for proportionality between cause and effect.

This idea was first put to the test in 1979, when researchers in the US created fake news stories reporting that the President of an unidentified nation had been shot at by an assassin. In one version of the story, the President was reported to have been fatally wounded. According to an alternative version of the story, however, the assassin’s bullet missed and the President escaped unscathed. People who read these scenarios were more likely to attribute the successful assassination to a conspiracy, while the unsuccessful assassination attempt was seen as the work of a lone gunman.

Three decades later, researchers in the UK repeated the experiment, finding the same pattern. But this time the researchers added two more scenarios. In one, the President was wounded by an assassin’s bullet, but miraculously survived. In another, the assassin’s bullet missed, yet shortly after the assassination attempt the President died of unrelated causes. In these new scenarios, the authors argued, the President’s fate is unrelated to the assassin’s skill or motives. Yet despite breaking the causal relationship between assassin and outcome, the proportionality bias still influenced people’s beliefs about the assassin. When the outcome was large in magnitude (the President died), the would-be assassin was judged likely to have been part of a conspiracy – even though he hadn’t caused the President’s death. When the outcome was minor (the President survived), the assassin was  more likely to be viewed as a lone gunman.

Most recently, researchers in the US crafted assassination scenarios in which the causal chain between assassin and outcome was even more far removed. Fake news reports were again created for the research, this time claiming that a British newspaper had criticised the recently assassinated President of an unnamed country, thereby inciting terrorist attacks against Britain. One version of the story had dire consequences, reporting that Britain had declared war against the country as a result of the attacks. In a second version, the consequences were minor: the British Prime Minister responded peacefully, thereby subduing the attacks. Thus, the consequences of the assassination were arbitrarily determined by the British Prime Minister’s reaction. Despite the absence of a direct causal link between the initial assassination and its ultimate consequences, people preferred a conspiratorial explanation for the assassination when the magnitude of the consequences was large.

One more experiment by the same researchers ditched the pretence of fictional Presidents, and instead explicitly concerned the assassination of JFK. People who took part in the study were told either that Kennedy’s death had prolonged the Vietnam war, resulting in thousands of additional casualties, or that the assassination had no effect on the war. As expected, when the consequences were said to have been more significant, people endorsed a conspiratorial explanation of Kennedy’s assassination more strongly. When people were told that the assassination had not affected the war, however, they were slightly less likely to accept the conspiracy theory – though it was still preferred by over half of the participants.

These experimental findings offer a potential explanation for the continued popularity of conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination. The event was so profound that the lone gunman account will always be unsatisfying. Conspiracy theories offer an explanation more intuitively befitting of such an extraordinary event. If the bullets had missed and Kennedy survived, conspiracy theories probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. Compare the assassination of JFK with the failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Few people doubt that John Hinckley Jr. was acting alone when he tried to kill Reagan, yet people who believe Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman are in the minority.

In reality, small causes can have large effects. Tiny pathogens cause pandemic disease outbreaks, one malfunctioning component can bring down an entire airplane, and a lone gunman can change the course of history. But these facts don’t fit with our intuitions. Instead, the proportionality bias imbues conspiracy theories with intuitive appeal which the ‘official’ explanations often lack. In this sense, conspiracism isn’t the result of a psychological defect or anomaly, but a byproduct of how our minds work normally. We’re all intuitive conspiracy theorists.

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About Rob Brotherton

Rob is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, and assistant editor of The Skeptic [www.skeptic.org.uk]. Follow Rob on Twitter: @rob_brotherton
This entry was posted in Biases & heuristics, Proportionality bias, World events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to The President is Dead: Why Conspiracy Theories About the Death of JFK Endure

  1. Ray says:

    Conspiracy theories serves one purpose the truth, how long must we be lied too Government keeps secrets from us why what right do they have to abuse our trust they are not Kings or Queens their there to do a Job and that is to serve us the Tax payer not keep secrets, secrets is the cause of mistrust. Hitler never died he just has a knew face and hides behind rich corporations the greedy elite, the parasites who infest the Government.

  2. hz says:

    I think you’re making this a lot more complicated than necessary. Why is it so hard for people to accept the Warren Commission findings? Easy: because the Magic Bullet theory is utterly ridiculous. When something like that is offered as truth, people get the sense they’re being lied to. And then they start making up their own explanations and accepting them as at least equally valid as what they’ve been told is true.

    As for this: “People who read these scenarios were more likely to attribute the successful assassination to a conspiracy, while the unsuccessful assassination attempt was seen as the work of a lone gunman.” Again, this is a perfectly reasonable conclusion. One would expect a lone actor to be much less likely to succeed at something so difficult as a political assassination than a coordinated effort by people with inside access. Thus, a failed attempt by a lone gunman would be the expected outcome. Success would indicate either extraordinary luck or a carefully planned and choreographed effort.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t some pathological component to conspiracy theory, just that these examples don’t provide evidence of it.

    • But they do, as the evidence shows. Lady Diana was accidentally killed because paparazzi hounded her driver through an underground pass. Yet because she is famous and liked people believed she was the victim of an assassination because she recently divorced. If she was just a relative unknown there would be no questions about it.

      It’s a common fact that people attribute large scale reasons to matters they themselves consider of importance. When people are dieing of cancer, it’s all in gods hands. When they lose their job and can’t afford to survive, it’s all fate. These are just variations on the same schema, but basically people refuse to accept evidence that points to minor occurrences being responsible for significant outcomes.

      The fact you say these examples don’t evidence the claim merely shows you have not read the research into the topic of attribution. Attribution is something everyone does when telling stories, or explaining things. The variations of attribution in psychological terms can be seen here: http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/a/attribution.htm

      and here:

      http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-attribution-bias.htm

      We all do it everyday when we judge stories or people without the facts, or complete evidence. We even do it when we have the full evidence or satisfactory evidence, if it goes against our beliefs or perceptions then our bias kicks in and we for our own attribution of the subject or thing.

      Conspiracy theorising, especially with topical events like JFK are prime examples.

      • hz says:

        Let me tighten up my statement a little bit then. Attribution bias may well be AN explanation for how we come to these conclusions, but there are lots of other ways a rational person might get there. Attribution bias is not necessarily THE explanation. The evidence points just as easily in other directions too.

        Same with proportionality bias. It may lead us to the uncritical assumption that a president could only be successfully assassinated by a vast conspiracy; we might just as easily arrive at that conclusion by a bit of “common sense,” for instance, that powerful leaders have powerful enemies, some of whom perhaps with sufficient motive and power to effect such a killing while avoiding detection. In the case of JFK, the “ambiguities and apparent inconsistencies” surrounding the event have led a great many people in esteemed positions, like the current Secretary of State, recently, or the Rockefeller Commission of the 1970s, to conclude that “what is disparagingly termed the ‘official story’” is an inadequate explanation. Are we going to state definitively that all these people arrived at their conclusions fallaciously and entirely via psychological predispositions? Or might they have reached their conclusions legitimately?

        “The fact you say these examples don’t evidence the claim merely shows you have not read the research into the topic of attribution.” I certainly haven’t read all of it, if that’s what you mean, but I’m familiar with the concept and have observed it in others and myself at times.

        The example of Diana is an interesting one for me personally, as I was never all that captivated by the event one way or the other. But due to rational ignorance–which I would argue plays at least an equal role in conspiracy theory as the biases under discussion–my overwhelming impression of her death, now that I come to examine it, is that it was “controversial.” I’ve never followed up on that impression as I don’t have the inclination to spend time researching what actually happened, lacking as I do any particular emotional investment.

      • “Are we going to state definitively that all these people arrived at their conclusions fallaciously and entirely via psychological predispositions? Or might they have reached their conclusions legitimately?”

        There is a difference between a conspiracy theory and a conspiracy for starters. So you have to first determine the validity of the evidence, if there is any that exists. If there is physical evidence and a data trail that leads to a plausible conclusion of conspiracy, then the whole psychological determination is irrelevant. However, that ordinarily being the rarest of scenarios when it comes to conspiracy theorising, we are typically left with a bunch of anecdotes and paranoia regarding an individual’s state of mind regarding hierarchical topics. It is in these cases, which are the majority, where we have to look at the psychological situations that surround the people making the claims. Are they using cognitive bias, poor reasoning, zero critical thinking ? If the answer to any of those is Yes, then it’s a safe bet that they are completely in error regarding their position. If somehow their position i proven true, it would not be down to their skill sets or claims making it so, so the reality would merely be a fluke.

      • hz says:

        “There is a difference between a conspiracy theory and a conspiracy for starters. So you have to first determine the validity of the evidence, if there is any that exists. If there is physical evidence and a data trail that leads to a plausible conclusion of conspiracy, then the whole psychological determination is irrelevant.”

        We’re back up against rational ignorance here, because a normal person with a life and things to get on with is only going to invest a certain amount of time examining the evidence before realizing the necessity of accepting some authority or authorities as a trusted source of information. If the usual authorities are promoting a story about a bullet that defies–insults–the laws of motion as we know them, doubt is an inevitable response.

        The question that prompted my original reply was “Why is it that this event, more than any other, captured the conspiracist imagination and refuses to let go?” The answer (“Are you kidding?”) lies in the lack of an acceptable explanation from mainstream authority. Consider this snippet from the Gallup Poll cited in the original article: “Three-quarters of Americans recently told Gallup that they think more than one man was involved in Kennedy’s assassination. Only 19% of Americans think it was the work of one individual. When asked who else might have been behind the assassination, no more than 37% of the public believes any single entity or individual was involved.”

        Think about that: almost half the respondents are unwilling to support the “official” story, yet they also have no alternative explanation. Simply put, people largely react to the official version of events with distrust. Is this distrust irrational? Is it more irrational than accepting a feat of marksmanship and ballistics that has never been successfully reproduced in all the attempts of the last 50 years to do so?

        And what of the other 19%? How many of them have carefully sifted and weighed the evidence in pursuit of the data trail and where it leads, as opposed to uncritically accepting what they read in the papers? How many are guilty of arguing from authority (and how is it possible in a case like this not to?)? Notice how finely this observation cuts both ways: “Are they using cognitive bias, poor reasoning, zero critical thinking ? If the answer to any of those is Yes, then it’s a safe bet that they are completely in error regarding their position.” What cognitive bias explains this?

        I understand that the JFK culture is a treasure trove of crazy ideas and people who seriously ought to have better things to do with their time, but it’s a poor example of irrational instinct driving popular reaction, simply because there is so much to rationally reject. What I have heard from people I trust who have deeply and critically researched this event is that there is no positive physical evidence to support the existence of a second shooter. Yet the evidence that does exist has significant if not severe shortcomings in supporting the single shooter theory as officially presented. There is no satisfactory answer, no certainty to be had in such a situation. I think that’s what the polling reflects in nearly half the population: a logical agnosticism, not a reflexive assumption that big events have to result from careful machination.

        Lady Di now…

      • “Is this distrust irrational?”

        Distrust of government is hardly something unique to the USA, it’s a fairly normal function of society in general. I don’t see how these numbers reflect anything but a normative. The fact we are discussing an assassination and it’s perpetrator is of little importance, the underlying doubt of authority societies share in common is fairly uniform. You can throw out a few numbers for a specific example, but if we are talking about distrust as a homogenous ideology, then large numbers should hardly be surprising.

        Show me a society that completely and uniformly trusts its authority figures, and I will show you ten for every one that don’t. This is something that is clearly a human characteristic, where we have a penchant to doubt and mistrust anyone who is in a superior position to ourselves. The whole JFK matter comes down to a combination of public notoriety, the admiration for the victim, and the above normal psychological condition of cultures.

        “What cognitive bias explains this?”

        Admiration for characters causes emotional attachment, the antithesis of this is the lack of admiration for the cold bureaucratic entity that is government itself. Bias in this respect is how well received JFK was, and therefore anything that puts him on a pedestal of superiority above the evil invisible hand. This is quite literally the fundamental working of the human psyche, the undercurrent and invisible decision making processes of individuals. Cognitive Bias is unavoidable unless one is completely aware one is doing it. Most people are simply not honest enough with themselves when forming opinions, making decisions, and analysing information. Therefore you can take your pick from any of the following, and in fact bundle any of them up into the decision making processes of every conspiracy theorist who uses emotions and beliefs to cloud their judgement of the facts.
        Confirmation bias
        Hindsight Bias,
        Belief Bias.

        “Is it more irrational than accepting a feat of marksmanship and ballistics that has never been successfully reproduced in all the attempts of the last 50 years to do so?”

        And there’s the problem, most people making judgements on this information simply aren’t qualified to understand. Let alone the fact that there is evidence that it is possible to shoot more than one shot from the position. These however are details, sidetracking the debate which I refuse to get into. If this is something you want to discuss, this is neither the place or the person to take it with.

        ” There is no satisfactory answer, no certainty to be had in such a situation. I think that’s what the polling reflects in nearly half the population: a logical agnosticism, not a reflexive assumption that big events have to result from careful machination.”

        And this is true, the vague details, or somewhat incoherent storyline reflects the reality of the World we live in. People have problems with dealing with this and tend to overcompensate for it with the use of Apophenia/Pareidolia, how often do you hear people who have incomplete information task you with the chore of ‘joining the dots’ or ‘read between the lines’ or ‘follow the money’ or whatever other cliche they have acquainted themselves with.
        It is in our very nature to explain complex scenarios as easily as possible, to attempt to explain that which has no answer is generally met with multiple and quite often juxtaposed opinions. We seek to answer even things which we can not fully rationalise, given that there are always anomalies, it seems fairly obvious that people will come to faulty conclusions. This is normal and can be seen throughout history, people are no more immune to this now than any other time.

        People are faulty machines riddled with bias, flaws and idiosyncratic behaviour. To assume that people are otherwise and are somehow above this, in particular those of us who are unaware and ill educated in the subject is where the mistakes are being made. People, in particular conspiracy theorists, are the element of society who use beliefs, biases, and human psychological artefacts to their fullest. It’s quite literally that simple.

      • hz says:

        I did not ask if distrust of authority is normal, I asked if it is irrational. Since you’ve spent so much time failing to answer that simple question, I’ll answer it myself: so long as there is an observable tendency for people to abuse power once obtained, there will be a rational and predictable general response to distrust those who hold power.

        As for my question, “What cognitive bias explains this?” you spent further time applying that question to the wrong group of people. I was asking about those who tend to uncritically accept–sometimes even strenuously defend–any given narrative of events, so long as it originates from a recognized authority or perceived societal consensus, not the people who find themselves unable to accept that narrative for any number of reasons.

        But the sweetest plum is this: “These however are details, sidetracking the debate which I refuse to get into. If this is something you want to discuss, this is neither the place or the person to take it with.”

        I can’t believe I have to explain this again. The “magic bullet” theory is simply an example of a highly questionable aspect of the Warren Commission report that is known to just about everybody familiar with the basic events surrounding the JFK assassination. I have used it to demonstrate the point that a perfectly reasonable and rational person can be unconvinced by the “single shooter theory” without succumbing to fatal logical fallacies. It doesn’t even matter if the popular understanding of the theory is 100% accurate; all that matters is that people understand that a bullet is required to behave highly improbably at best in order for the given explanation to work. “That bullet did what? There must be a better explanation.” To say that finding the single shooter theory unconvincing is conclusive evidence of faulty reasoning is tantamount to saying that rejecting the Old Testament of the Bible is proof of atheism. There are other weaknesses of the report that I might have used, but the magic bullet is probably the most famous and thus most convenient example to hand.

        “Most people are simply not honest enough with themselves when forming opinions, making decisions, and analysing information.”

        Yeah, tell me about it. Next time you want to “make a conspiritard bow down before you,”–are you twelve years old?–I suggest reading their arguments with both eyes open. Not that I’m a conspiracy promoter; I’m just an ordinary person with a brain and an internet trying to make a very very very simple point. Grow up a little, re-read the discussion a couple of times, and maybe you’ll grasp that point, whether you agree with it or not. For my part, I think I’ve probably wasted enough of my time here.

      • “I did not ask if distrust of authority is normal, I asked if it is irrational. Since you’ve spent so much time failing to answer that simple question, I’ll answer it myself:”

        Ego getting in the way of your clarity today ?
        Why ask a question you have an answer to already ?
        If you already have a suitable answer, and you expected the same from me to keep you happy, why bother to ask it in the first place. You could have saved yourself time and had a circle jerk with yourself and a mirror. Mind you that wouldn’t have served your ego since it would have to be visible to others.

        “so long as there is an observable tendency for people to abuse power once obtained, there will be a rational and predictable general response to distrust those who hold power.”

        And you assume this obvious answer was beyond my grasp or had never been noted ?
        This pre pubescent observation you provided is something given to people as a trite cliche, which is a common observance of human nature with power, the reaction of the holder of power, and the receiver of the sharp end of power. It’s neither a valuable observation, or an original one. Sun Tsu ‘the art of war’ written thousands of years ago makes note of the concepts of leadership, abuses of it,and the correct utilisation of it. Somehow you seem to think your trite self answered question adds value here ?
        I see no relevance of it to any part of the debate.

        “As for my question, “What cognitive bias explains this?” you spent further time applying that question to the wrong group of people.”

        No I didn’t, as I explained no one is above bias. That simple observation either doesn’t agree with your position, or you are looking for a debate where this is none.

        “Yeah, tell me about it. Next time you want to “make a conspiritard bow down before you,”–are you twelve years old?–I suggest reading their arguments with both eyes open. Not that I’m a conspiracy promoter; I’m just an ordinary person with a brain and an internet trying to make a very very very simple point. Grow up a little, re-read the discussion a couple of times, and maybe you’ll grasp that point, whether you agree with it or not. For my part, I think I’ve probably wasted enough of my time here.”

        Yes you old fool take your self opinionated superiority elsewhere. You have made no point at all actually, other than to suggest numbers point towards apathy, which is false. You are completely wrong, the apathy exists this undeniable. However, Robs points are validated in numerous other cases, research papers, poll. Yet you yourself jumped in both feet and utilised a strawman talking about pathological conditions where none were mentioned. You then had to take steps backwards to retract how foolish your opening post was.

        And you have the nerve to discuss ability to read, and being a 12 year old ?

        Have you stopped to look at what you wrote, or did you just type it out in a nerd rage ?

        Either way, you’ve said nothing of value here.

      • hz says:

        Woooow-how-how.

        “Ego getting in the way of your clarity today ?”
        “Have you stopped to look at what you wrote, or did you just type it out in a nerd rage ?”

        Maybe you’ll find some value in this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection There was a fella once by the name of Freud who coined the term and wrote extensively about it. I’m sure you’re an expert on this principle already, of course, being a self-anointed expert on everything else, and having quite clearly devoted your life and energy to embodying it at every opportunity.

        As for circle jerks, I decided to pull the plug when it became apparent that I was interrupting yours. Do feel free to continue delivering your pontifications on matters that nobody has asked you about. I’m sure it’s very entertaining for somebody out there.

      • Before you come back whining about not mentioning apathy and me strawmanning your position. I utilised the term apathy in substitution of your term ‘logical agnosticism’.

        Where you infer the results point towards people sitting on the fence regarding logical answers, reasoning, or even research. This is clearly false. You don’t just get to cherry pick two polls and form your own alternative conclusion, when there are already studies, papers and polls in place that back this up already in existence.

      • And lastly lets look at your ridiculously unthought out assertion that there must be ‘logical agnosticism’ regarding the statistics from the poll, where more than 3/4 appear to be ins support of a conspiracy theory.

        The fact you haven’t even been observant enough to see the obvious flaw shows how little thought you even put into your comments here.

        Agnosticism on any subject refers to the lack of belief either way, it requires no support for the pro or the con, and places the person smack in the middle. Agnosticism regarding the subject of JFK, particularly the concept ‘was there more than one shooter’ or ‘was there a government conspiracy’, would require the agnostic majority to be none supportive of the government conspiracy. If in fact the data represented an agnostic view of the subject then we would not see 3/4 of the poll population asserting a pro belief in conspiracy. We would in fact see 3/4 of the poll population assert ‘Do not know’. The population majority would neither be pro or con, and would assert that without the details and knowledge that they could not form a valid opinion. Should the data show the conspiracy or not then they would change their mind towards that view if it was beyond reasonable doubt.

        Of course this is not what the poll results suggest, they in fact suggest 3/4 pro conspiracy, which forces us to abandon your illogical notion that the public votes reflect any kind of agnosticism towards a single element of the JFK subject. This then of course forces us to question what exactly is it that forces s public to vote 3/4 pro conspiracy ?

        Your trite answer, ‘oh it’s not irrational to doubt your leaders’, I wonder how many seconds it took you to formulate that pearl of wisdom. In fact mistrust of government is of course true, but it doesn’t explain why people doubt their leaders enough to assert they are involved in a conspiracy to publicly execute their own president. This requires a lot more explaining, particularly in light that here is not a shred of evidence in support of this position. So there has to be more to the reasoning of the public vote than mere mistrust.
        One doesn’t go out and accuse someone of a crime of this magnitude for no reason. Therefore the rationale explained by social psychologists is far more explanative, and certainly points towards a plausible and valid explanation.

        Oh and please, drop the projection shpiel, you are the one doing all the bitching here. I am just dissecting your stupid claims, and replying to outright irrelevance of your replies.

        Also haven’t you already said you had wasted enough time here ?
        “For my part, I think I’ve probably wasted enough of my time here.”

        Either you are desperate to say more stupid things to discredit, or perhaps there’s more to why you can’t simply say something of relevance to the original post and have devolved into childish ad hominems ?

      • hz says:

        Despite unchecking the box to be notified of further responses to this thread once I realized that you were determined to lecture and insult (behind increasingly thin veils) rather than engage in discussion, I keep getting new notifications via email every time you have another one of your episodes. And, damn me, I keep reading them. That last spasm of yours was actually pretty funny. I couldn’t help pointing out the transparent manner in which you accuse me of sneakily committing acts that you yourself perform like a one-person Broadway interpretation of a Passion Play. Ego? Please. Straw-manning? Whining? Bitching? Childish ad hominems? Tell me another one. Nerd rage, though–that is just priceless. I’m going to have to remember that one; your last couple of missives positively seethe with venom, rage, and the typos and grammatical ambiguities that frequently attend disordered emotional states. The only really glaring fault left for you to accuse me of is delusions of grandeur–and for that there’s still time enough, I suppose.

        I did make a mistake at the outset, which I immediately owned and apologized to Rob for; and for your benefit I clarified my original point–which I have stood by from my first post to now–that one need not be demonstrating the biases mentioned in concluding that any given explanation for an event is incomplete, compromised, or just wrong. It’s astonishing, really, how that one little observation–which you still won’t acknowledge–has led us from that to this. Or, if you mean to say that it was just too trivial, too obvious for someone of your towering intellect to dignify, then precisely what the hell was all the rest of your blather and bombast about? You could have nipped the whole thing in the bud with a single, polite (or not, that probably would be asking too much) sentence, and saved both of us a lot of trouble.

        It’s tempting to pass along advice about how you can avoid future altercations with well-meaning strangers, how you might instead encourage and contribute to a cordial and meaningful debate; but in attempting to reply to an earlier post I clicked on the link to your charming little profile and realized that for all the veneer of psychological education, quotes, citations, and name dropping–Laotze, for chrissakes–you’re not here for that sort of thing. But honestly, with a name like “Conspiracykiller,” what else could anyone expect. That, btw, is not an ad hominem, just a passing observation of your very open declaration to the world that you have an axe to grind.

        With that, be well. I hope for the general sake of humanity that your interest in psychology is academic rather than professional.

      • You said:
        “I can’t believe I have to explain this again. The “magic bullet” theory is simply an example of a highly questionable aspect of the Warren Commission report that is known to just about everybody familiar with the basic events surrounding the JFK assassination. I have used it to demonstrate the point that a perfectly reasonable and rational person can be unconvinced by the “single shooter theory” without succumbing to fatal logical fallacies. It doesn’t even matter if the popular understanding of the theory is 100% accurate; all that matters is that people understand that a bullet is required to behave highly improbably at best in order for the given explanation to work. “That bullet did what? There must be a better explanation.” To say that finding the single shooter theory unconvincing is conclusive evidence of faulty reasoning is tantamount to saying that rejecting the Old Testament of the Bible is proof of atheism. There are other weaknesses of the report that I might have used, but the magic bullet is probably the most famous and thus most convenient example to hand.”

        “Figure 2. The real trajectory, plotted in accordance with the exact postures of Kennedy and Connally, was not significantly altered until the bullet was slightly deflected by Connally’s rib. (Images adapted from Posner 1993)”

        Taken from here: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/facts_and_fiction_in_the_kennedy_assassination/

        The single bullet theory is the most accurate and currently correct, especially in light of the seating position of the people in the vehicle, and the physical properties of the seating arrangement of the limousine. These details of course were overlooked and ignored by people of little knowledge. The seating positions of the limousine brought Connally into the LOS of the shooter, and in front of JFK from the perspective of the bullets trajectory. Of course the stupid diagram of the bullet doing s-curves and changing direction that god awful movie have given credence to a concept no one on the Warren commission believed to be true.

        “The Warren Commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination concluded that the reactions of Kennedy and Connally occurred too close together for two separate shots, even from the same gun, to have been responsible for their wounds. They almost seem to react at the same instant, in the enhanced version of the film seen by the commission. They concluded that one, single bullet caused the injuries to both the President and the Governor.

        This is where the “imagined experts” step in and say: “It must have been a really magical bullet in order to enter Kennedy from the back, exit from his throat, then make a turn and enter Connally’s back, exit from his chest, hit is right wrist, make another bend, and, finally, land in his left thigh!” How could a single bullet follow this zigzag route, seen in figure 1?

        Their conclusion is obvious: those injuries could not have been produced by just one bullet, so there had to be more than one shooter—further proof of a conspiracy.

        This conclusion, however, as logical as it may sound at first, does not take real facts into account. And it only works until you don’t look at Kennedy’s and Connally’s actual positions in the car. They were not one in front of the other; Kennedy was in a higher position in the back seat, and Connally was sitting lower, in the middle of the front seat of the car. So, in order to produce those injuries, the path shown in figure 2 is the real trajectory that a bullet had to follow, and, from the analysis performed by real experts, it turns out that there was only one position from which this bullet could be shot: the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.”

        http://www.csicop.org/si/show/facts_and_fiction_in_the_kennedy_assassination/

        All this points to the fact that people overlooked the real expert evidence, given the time the Warren commission convened. People opted for the conspiratorial two sooter option even though the evidence and facts were presented to debunk this claim the moment it was brought up. Why ?

        Why would people ignore some parts of the testimony in favour of the clearly controversial and incorrect ?

        Simple answer, they prefered it. Their beliefs, biases, predispositions, doubts, paranoia, distrust got the better of them and made them opt to ignore the presented evidence that categorically showed the single bullet theory to be the one and only correct one. People now go off faulty information and make a conclusion from it, not bothering to question if the claims are in fact correct. As long as the information agrees with their preconceived notions [confirmation bias] then they have no need to debunk their own beliefs by reading the fact that counter it. This has everything to do with cognitive bias, and popular culture. The conspiracy theory movie JFK helped to catalyse these false ideas into the mainstream public. The movie presented terrible misinformation as fact, and did a poor job of showing a balanced and factual view of what actually took place during the time of the shooting. Viewers of that movie looked on it as a piece of history being presented, ignoring that it was entertainment. It fed the beliefs of conspiratorial thinking, and to this day has done more damage for the actual factual integrity of the assassination than good.

        This is something that I should probably have addressed earlier while you were around, but none the less here it is.

    • Indeed – the authors of the original study considered the possibility that people preferred to attribute a successful assassination to a conspiracy simply because they expect a conspiracy to be more likely to succeed. That’s why the subsequent studies I describe broke the direct causal link between assassin and outcome – to rule out that confound. People were still more likely to attribute the assassin to a conspiracy even when their bullet missed (Leman & Cinnirella, 2007), or when the magnitude of the outcome had nothing to do with the assassination at all (LeBoeuf & Norton, 2012). So on the whole, and coupled with the wider literature, these examples do provide evidence that the proportionality bias can influence conspiracist attributions.

      However, I’m certainly not saying there’s anything “pathological” about this. Quite the opposite. We’re all susceptible to these biases.

      • hz says:

        “However, I’m certainly not saying there’s anything “pathological” about this. Quite the opposite. We’re all susceptible to these biases.” –Apologies, I had just read this essay following a link from an article in Salon which was much more pointed in its description of people who believe in alternate accounts of the JFK assassination. I may have even gotten unconscious reinforcement from the remarks about pathogens and disease in the last paragraph here. In general I would say there are far more “mays” and “mights” in your piece than registered with me on the first take. In that light I would agree that we might very well be psychologically predisposed toward conspiracy theories, including incidents in which a genuine conspiracy has taken place–that we may sometimes arrive at the correct conclusion through faulty reasoning. And of course, incorrect conclusions most of the rest of the time.

        What strikes me about the 2 recent studies is how it appears to reveal gaps in perception and processing of information. I’m reminded of the video with the guy dressed up like a gorilla on the basketball court. Did bias cause them to discard information clearly breaking the direct causal link you mention, at some point after having taken it in and processed it, simply because it didn’t fit or directly contradicted their expectations? Or did they filter it out at the time it was presented to them? Sorry, that question is a clumsy construction, and the studies themselves may contain the answers; if so please just point that out to me and I’ll chase it down later on my own.

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        As per killer guy’s post on the Magic Bullet:

        The New York Times (doctors claim front entry)
        Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963
        “Dr. Malcolm Perry, an attending surgeon, and Dr. Kemp Clark, chief of neurosurgery at Parkland Hospital, gave more details. Mr. Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the throat, just below the Adam’s apple, they said. This wound had the appearance of a bullet’s entry.”

        Oswald theorists have spent all their lives making this
        single bullet from before Zapruder frame 225 match the path of
        JFK’s throat wound and the back, wrist and leg wounds of
        Governor John Connally of Texas.
        Yet Governor Connally does not react from his various wounds
        until after frame 324, over 5 seconds later (18 fps).

        “I heard what I thought was a rifle shot [before frame 225] and
        immediately reacted by turning over my right shoulder…
        I was in the process of turning over to my left shoulder
        when I felt a blow in the middle of my back [frame 324]…
        the blow was in such force that it bent me over.”
        Governor Connally, on the History Channel
        describing that he was bent over when he was shot in the back.

        Take a look at the bullet in evidence; numbered: CE 399. This bullet supposedly caused 4 wounds in two people, and yet it has virtually zero deformation. There is more weight in lead fragments still in Connally’s body than is missing from the bullet in evidence.
        \\][//

    • artzy67 says:

      If you believe the seating positions put forth by the likes of Wecht, Stone, Garrison et al (that JBC was directly in front of JFK as in a normal car) then you are being misled. JBC was seated several inches lower and further inboard on a jump seat. Thus a straight-line trajectory of the bullet matched the forensics.

      Here’s the Croft photo of the limo taken just 3.9 seconds before the shot that hit both victims:

      “Anybody can get to me. All it would take is a nut with a sniper’s rifle in a tall building” — John F. Kennedy

    • JQP says:

      hz, I’ve read all yr comments on this page and I agree with you 100%. The JFK assassination is a poor example to illustrate proportionality bias. It’s disappointing that Rob never answered you. I just discovered this blog and I am excited to delve into it, but I think the authors should consider adding the JFK assassination to their list of things like MK ULTRA or COINTELPRO–examples of plots that actually happened. Rob seems not to know about things such as the conclusions of the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations.

  3. You say ‘a conspiracy has never been definitively proven’ but it might surprise some readers that the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations looked at JFK in the 70s and decided there was probably a conspiracy. That’s about as close to proving a conspiracy as you will ever get. At risk of being charged a pedant I’d take issue with your description of Oswald as an ‘otherwise unremarkable individual’. At the height of the Cold War heres a man who worked top secret U2 radar , defected to Russia, married a KGB colonel’s daughter, and defected back to the U.S. without incurring any charge of treason or espionage.

    • Eric Saunders says:

      Additionally, the House Select Committee established there was some kind of undetermined relationship between Oswald, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. Thus, the HSCA vindicated Garrison. Three of the investigators – Dan Hardway, Ed Lopez, and Gaeton Fonzi – all came to believe that there was a high level plot behind the guns of Dallas. Of course the propagandists who run this site would probably like to administer frontal lobotomies to these men for refusing to believe the Establishment’s version of that event.

  4. Mar says:

    You need not be an expert in forensic or other specialized fields of knowledge to see something wrong with the approach and findings of the Warren Commission. The deeper you observe details of Commission procedures and testimonies, the more likely you will find questions rather than answers to the mysteries this inquiry was meant to unravel. The further many experts have probed into the detail, the more evident it appears that there were inadequate assessments, coverups, and omissions by the Commission.
    Until governments genuinely turn over information that is still being withheld by the Secret Services 50 years after the event, is there no surprise that many people believe in conspiracy theories or mistrust those institutions that are meant to champion truth and justice.
    To focus on psychological tendencies rather than the meaningful attempts to get to the truth of matters such as JFK, can serve to trivialize what are important questions about the democracy we stand for.

    • Mar says:

      It is interesting how little information was gleaned about Oswald after the Warren Commission of Inquiry ended, given the extraordinary history of Oswald’s life and his
      many interesting links with underworld/political/secret service/military circles. His life was anything but ordinary – he even knew Jack Ruby. How is it that the Secret Service had so little input to report about Lee Harvey Oswald – given that he’d been implicated in the assassination of the President of The United States – no less. How could anyone have experienced the life journey of Lee Harvey Oswald yet prompt so little information from the Secret service in the Inquiry. What is it that is unfit for public consumption, that not even the death of a President could arouse from powers to be ? Why is such information still off limits ?

    • “To focus on psychological tendencies rather than the meaningful attempts to get to the truth of matters such as JFK, can serve to trivialize what are important questions about the democracy we stand for.”

      Are you implying that psychological explanations for people’s irrational reasoning and tendencies to believe in conspiratorial answers is trivial ? If so it would appear the one doing the trivialising here is you.

      What is interesting is not the JFK story and incident, after all JFK has long since gone and the world didn’t stop turning. No, what is interesting is how people won’t let the incident go away and constantly theorise what might have been, or what happened as if somehow by uncovering a small piece of data they will overturn the World as we know it.
      Even after JFK died the civil rights movement got what it wanted, man still went to the moon, everything JFK wanted came about, Vietnam ended, therefore the conspiratorial political assassination achieved nothing.

      In reality the JFK story is of no real value to the rest of the World other than a few Americans. Political assassinations are commonplace and are carried out by various people across the globe. They are not movie plots filled with excitement and significance, often they are a disgruntled member of society wanting to make a personal point.

      In reality if JFK was shown to be a US plot to subvert its own presidency due to disagreement on policies nothing would change. No one would be arrested, no one would do jail time and life would be the same the day after. There would be no one left alive to arrest for the incident, all you could do is say ‘Hey our paranoia was shown correct’ and the rest of society would have to concede that finally there was some evidence to support the claim.

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        “What is interesting is not the JFK story and incident, after all JFK has long since gone and the world didn’t stop turning. No, what is interesting is how people won’t let the incident go away and constantly theorise what might have been, or what happened as if somehow by uncovering a small piece of data they will overturn the World as we know it.”
        ~that killer-guy

        What is more interesting is when one understands the JFK assassination thoroughly, the conclusion must be {yes simply must be} that it was a coup d’etat. As such, those who took the reigns of power, the Military-Industrial-Complex, which Eisenhower had just warned about prior to Kennedy being sworn in as president, have retained that power and increased it following that event.

        This is not a “psychological issue” this is an issue of grasping the true nature and architecture of political power in the modern world.

        No “the world didn’t stop turning”, it kept turning in the evil direction that those who staged this coup d’etat desired… and it still turns in the wrong direction.

        For any here who still have the capacity to think for themselves I suggest looking into the work of Fletcher Prouty, who was intimately involved with the perpetrators and was sent out of country during the event in the hope that he wouldn’t smell the rat.

        Don’t try to provoke me killer-guy, I have had enough back and forth with your nasty bullshit on the last thread I spoke to here.

        \\][//

      • Try reading what I have said before calling me out. You will look less clown like.

      • Steve says:

        You have some patience!
        I try not to debate irrational people any more, but it’s difficult! They can never be “reasoned” out of an irrational position because they don’t recognise it as irrational! These people have a model of the world that is flawed, mostly educated on such matters by cinema or television fantasy.
        Anyone who claims any frontal shots in the JFK assassination simply doesn’t understand the science and probably never will; it’s counter-intuitive to that Hollywood-established “education”.
        The single bullet is so logical it shouldn’t be a subject of debate, but again thanks to Hollywood trying to rewrite history with the layman opinion of a director and shocking misrepresentation of the facts we have misinformation on a mass scale.
        Experts in ballistics always conclude the same and always will. They then become part of a greater “conspiracy”!
        The official conclusion will hold forever. Take comfort in that 🙂

  5. Reformed Conspiracist says:

    I find it fascinating when people write lines like “To focus on psychological tendencies rather than the meaningful attempts to get to the truth of matters such as JFK, can serve to trivialize what are important questions about the democracy we stand for.”

    What’s so fascinating is the seeming assumption by the author that all English-language websites and/or anything to do with JFK (or similar terrible events) must be American. The four authors of this site are all based at British universities (and are more than likely British) therefore they have no inherent stake in answering important questions about what ‘your’ democracy stands for. The assassination of JFK scarred the US psyche – it didn’t have anywhere near the same impact on that of the UK – it was a terrible event in a foreign country. (It had far less impact on the UK than the assassination of Franz Ferdinand – another terrible event in a foreign country.) British psychologists are going to focus on the psychological elements for pretty obvious reasons (they’re psychologists not historians) and are going to be doing it from a disinterested outsider point of view. This may perturb an American reader who has an emotional stake in the subject matter under review but is no different to an American academic studying the psychology of people in crisis events in Rwanda or Chile or, indeed, the UK.

    By necessity any focus on conspiracy theories will feature US examples primarily because the US seems to be a far more fertile place for conspiracies of all kinds. I wonder why that is.

    A previous comment mentions that “Distrust of government is hardly something unique to the USA, it’s a fairly normal function of society in general”. A recent BBC survey of attitudes to freedom across the world revealed that in China 76% of people felt free from Government Surveillance, in Russia it was 61%, in Indonesia it was 69% – lowest was the USA with only 35% feeling free from Government surveillance – this could be considered an indication of measure of trust in Govt. When it comes to a Free Press – 28% of Americans believe they don’t have a free press (only 42% believe they do have a free press) – this is the same as for Russia and Nigeria! So, why is it that people in repressive regimes like Russia and China feel more safe from their Government than in the Land Of The Free – even though it’s clearly not true? In China and Russia Govt. critics are blatantly murdered, not in the US. Why is there so much more distrust of Government in a country where everything is legislated to be transparent, where you vote for (seemingly) everything and every public office and where pretty much any viewpoint can be expressed openly? Why is the view in the land of 1st Ammendment rights as distrustful of the press as in Putin’s increasingly Totalitarian Russia – where journalists are routinely murdered and all press outlets that haven’t been taken over by the state have been shut down?

    Intriguingly, the people of most G7 countries believe they are free from surveillance (e.g. UK: 61%) and trust their media far more. So, this seems to be a uniquely American trend.

    Why do conspiracy theories and distrust seem to flourish in a land which has more genuine freedom than most people on this planet could ever dream?

    Is it something to do with the history and founding of the US? A legacy of distrust for sinister organisations (‘the other’) all plotting their infiltrations and subversions whether that’s Freemasons, Catholics, Communists, Atheists, foreign powers (most often Britain and France!), Intellectuals, and more recently Muslims, etc and this has now spilt over into a general distrust of all authorities and organisations? Who knows!

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Reformed Conspiracist has obviously swallowed the propaganda hook-line and sinker.

      Perhaps he has never read Bernays’ manifesto, PROPAGANDA. Perhaps he/she is comfortably ignorant of NSA? Perhaps gleefully proud that Amerika, “the land of the free” has the highest per capita incarceration rate of it’s population of any industrial nation on the planet. Or perhaps our brainwashed friend is unaware that the US military has attacked more nations in the 20th-21st century than any other. And perhaps the reformed one is unaware of all of the despotic legislation and executive orders since 9/11 that have effectively gutted the Bill of Rights, and given the US President the power to kill anyone on the planet {including} by drone strike by his own decree.

      And finally, surely this reformed “conspiracist” isn’t aware that the US condones torture, and still tries to hide the facts by redaction of it’s very own internal investigative reports.

      Or perhaps Reformed Conspiracist simply doesn’t care.
      \\][//

    • Steve says:

      Exactly … some arguments I use myself. People in democracies can’t handle it and put themselves in “jail”.

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  10. Scotty says:

    William Greer shot jfk. He was the driver and a ss agent for 18 years in 1963.

    • Refomed Conspiracist says:

      An amazingly talented man too: could compress time (‘was an SS agent for 18 years in 1963’ – there was surely only one year in 1963) and multi-task (find and produce a gun, turn round awkwardly in his seat without any of the passengers noticing or saying ‘hey, look where you’re going’, fire twice – incredibly accurately – and all while still driving perfectly). The only question is why did the Nazis, via their SS, wait nearly two decades for their revenge on the US? 😉

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Scotty,

      This kind of nonsense is what gives the “psychoanalysts” a toe in the door to frame all conspiracy researchers as tin hatted nuts.
      Oft times this is planted agitprop, wherein those such as ‘Scotty’ make ludicrous claims to purposely to make a subject sound insane. Moles such as James Fetzer are experts at this technique as a ‘Professional Conspiracy Theorist’.
      \\][//

  11. Mariano says:

    Most people who have a keen interest in the events of 1963-64, understand the shortcomings of the Warren Commission, the FBI, the CIA, the SS, and complicit military and government figures, and the failure to objectively investigate JFK’s assassination. Students of those events clearly note the systematic way in which evidence was contaminated, lost or withheld from scrutiny . Fifty years after the event, evidence and information continues to be held as classified with little or no prospect of being released. Is it any wonder that widespread mistrust of authority exists, with the added speculation of a number of conspiracy theories? A large percentage of those who have lost confidence in institutions of authority, do so with validity. The level of distrust is to a substantial extent measured, and the product of institutional fraud more than a characteristic of psychology.

    • Having a rational mistrust of authority based on supporting evidence is fine and a normal function. However, inventing claims to support a belief system such as conspiracy theorists do is clearly in the psychological domain.

  12. Refomed Conspiracist says:

    Aren’t ‘distrust of authority’ and ‘lost confidence’ processes created within the mind and therefore all a part of psychology – just as much as over-confidence in authority figures or excessive happiness are?

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Everything happens within the mind Refomed Conspiracist, this gives “psychologists” carte blanche to lord over any subject whatsoever, to frame any subject as its domain, and redefine all in it’s image.
      Not a bad trick. Aye?
      \\][//

  13. gman992 says:

    “Those who desperately want to believe that President Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy have my sympathy. I share their yearning. to employ what may seem like an off metaphor, there is an esthetic principle here. If you put six million dead Jews on one side of a scale and on the other side put the Nazi regime—the greatest gang of criminals ever to seize control of a modern state—you have a rough balance: greatest crime, greatest criminals. But if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn’t balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President’s death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something.

    A conspiracy would, of course do the job nicely.”

    William Manchester, historian, in a letter to the New York Times

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      “the Nazi regime—the greatest gang of criminals ever to seize control of a modern state”
      ~William Manchester

      Really? After all this time this sentence has resonance with lucid, thinking people?
      As I am writing this post on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945 by what is arguably the most vicious serial killer state the planet has yet known, I must take exception to such hyperbole.

      The names, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, begin a litany of war crimes committed by the victors of WWII, who have written the official narratives of history from that time, which are naught but sophist apologia.

      “Unfortunately, I have lived long enough to know that history is often not what actually happened but what is recorded as such.”~Secretary of War, Henry Stimson

      \\][//

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        BTW, I am in the US where it is still the 9th of August and only 7:50 PM here.
        \\][//

      • JQP says:

        Been reading the comments. You’ve just blown whatever credibility you might have had. You and Killer are two sides of the same coin.

  14. hybridrogue1 says:

    I have one simple question; does the author of this article actually believe the Warren Commission Report? Does he really think that Oswald shot Kennedy?

    The question is for the author of the article himself – not the killer-guy.

    Thanks, \\][//

  15. hybridrogue1 says:

    Well then if my first question is too hard, maybe Mr Brotherton can tell us; how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
    \\][//

    • Quite the assumption you’re making, likelihood is your question is probably not important enough to answer immediately.
      However, I have said to other impatient conspiratards who have passed through here before you, the blog managers probably haven’t even seen this question you posed.
      Now I know it might sound amazing to you, but some people actually have busy schedules and don’t have time to answer pointless questions from conspiracy theorists on the internet whenever they demand them.
      Perhaps you should go and do something else instead of making yourself look like a clown all day here and check back see if they have answered.

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        I’ll bet YOU don’t know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin either. Do you?
        Where is YOUR busy schedule turdtard? Don’t you do anything other than play gatekeeper to the woowoo farm here?
        \\][//

      • Ironic you are using the term ‘woo’ from one side of your mouth while spouting conspiracy theories from the other side. It won’t be lost on the critical thinkers out there who deal with cranks on the internet.

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        Okay killer guy,

        The question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin” was a heated Christian theological debate in the Middle Ages. The original author who posed this question revealed the meaning of it in manuscripts that were published posthumously, his answer being, “That’s not the point”

        If you don’t get it, I will spell it out for you, a pin has a head on one end and a point on the other. The author of the theological question was “pointing out”, that some issues are based on meaningless babble in arguing trivia.

        This is relevant for this site, where a theological debate is put forth in guise of “science”.

        Thus my observation that the topics here are The Conspiracy of Psychology Theories, rather than the stated heading.
        \\][//

      • Steve says:

        Indeed, many conspiracy theorists are obsessive in their pursuit of conflict. Impatience is common. They need to keep the engagement in a state of “rolling boil”.
        I think two categories of people engage in such lengthy debates; those who have little else and those who are retired with plenty of time. I’d love to see how they stack up into those two sets.

  16. hybridrogue1 says:

    I still get a kick out of you identifying with the term “critical thinkers” killer guy. You’re a hoot.
    \\][//

  17. hybridrogue1 says:

    The President is Dead: Why Conspiracy Theories About the Death of JFK Endure

    That is the title of this story, and the answer is really very simple:

    Because Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy by the military industrial complex. It was a coup d’etat. Anyone who doesn’t get that after what has happened from that date forward is a delusional fool. Explaining that to you coincidence theory yahoos is futile.
    Now ye shall reap what ye hath sown.
    \\][//

  18. jfktruth2014 says:

    Evidence in favor of two or more shooters is conclusive. WC supporters haven’t provided any evidence that a shot to the back of the head could have been possible because the films themselves clearly illustrate the President was shot at close range from the front. Yet, the countless ambiguities and inconsistencies don’t stop the government drones from claiming that a man clearly shot from the front was shot from the rear.

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Yes indeed jfktruth2014,

      These dumb fuckleberry hens on this propaganda site, don’t grasp that the curse, “conspiracy theorist” like the curse “antisemitic” has lost it’s potency in the era of broadly spread knowledge on the Internet.
      \\][//

      • Steve says:

        Two things …

        “… propaganda site …” … clearly shows the tendency to dismiss all non-compliant opinion as part of a wider “conspiracy”.

        “…. broadly spread knowledge on the Internet” … by which you mean mass of garbage authored by laymen that pops up with impunity and is seen as “fact”? The Internet side-steps peer-review.

    • Steve says:

      It’s a shame not a single ballistics expert would agree with you on that, but it’s the way it works in the movies so I guess you must be right.

      • hybridrogue1 says:

        “If the internal pressures are high enough, indirect skull fractures will combine to an ‘‘explosive’’ type of head injury [54] with comminuted fractures of the skull and laceration of the brain.”~Bernd Karger *

        Exactly what we see in the Zapruder film. His head nods forward a fraction of a second, as backspatter spews from the entrance wound, dissipating within a single frame. His head is then thrown back and to the left, and his body follows that momentum, falling to the left as well.

        * Forensic ballistics is the application of ballistics for forensic purposes. … doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-110-9_9, © Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008.
        \\][//

  19. 0jr says:

    follow thw money jfk shut the the fed and the first thing lbj did on the next day after the assasination was to reinstate the jew fed bank

  20. hybridrogue1 says:

    Josiah Thompson: The Untrue Fact by Sherry Fiester

    At this site, by going to the blog button pulls up a marvelous forensic analysis of the shot to JFK’s head seen in the Zapruter film, and buttressed by the autopsy X-rays from Bethesda:

    “When a projectile strikes the skull, radial fractures are created which extend outward from the wound. Internal pressure from temporary cavitation produces concentric fractures create that are perpendicular to the radial fractures. Research addressing the sequencing of radial and concentric of skull fractures in gunshot injuries indicates the radial fractures stem from the point of entry (Viel, 2009; Karger, 2008; Smith, 1987; Leestma, 2009). The Clark Panel observed extensive fracturing in the autopsy X-rays. The panel report specified there was extensive fragmentation “of the bony structures from the midline of the frontal bone anteriorly to the vicinity of the posterior margin of the parietal bone behind”. The report goes on the state, “throughout this region, many of the bony pieces have been displaced outward; several pieces are missing”. The Clark Panel report indicates the majority of the fracturing and displaced bones fragments are closer to the location they described as the exit wound; this is in direct conflict with scientific research concerning skull fractures resulting from gunshot injuries. The Kennedy autopsy report stated multiple fracture lines radiated from both the large defect and the smaller defect at the occiput, the longest measuring approximately 19 centimeters. This same fracturing pattern was discussed in the Assassinations Records Review Board deposition of Jerrol Francis Custer, the X-ray technician on call at Bethesda Hospital the night of the Kennedy autopsy. Custer testified the trauma to the head began at the front and moved towards the back of the head (CE 387 16H978; ARRB MD 59:10). Kennedy’s autopsy X-rays have distinct radial fractures propagating from the front of the head, with the preponderance of concentric fractures located at the front of the head. Current research indicates fracturing patterns of this nature correspond with an entry wound located in the front of Kennedy’s head.”~Fiester

    Enemy of the Truth, Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination
    By Sherry Fiester

    Sherry Fiester is a retired Certified Senior Crime Scene Investigator and law enforcement instructor with 30 years of experience. She has testified as a court certified expert in crime scene investigation, crime scene reconstruction, and bloodstain pattern analysis in Louisiana Federal Court and over 30 judicial districts in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Author of numerous articles in professional publications, Fiester is recognized as an instructor in her field at state and national levels.

    Fiester has presented forensic findings at the Coalition on Political Assassinations Conference (COPA) in Washington, DC in 1995, the Dealey Plaza Echo Annual Kennedy Assassination Conference in the United Kingdom in 1996, and at JFK Lancer November in Dallas Historical Research Conferences since 1996. Fiester is a recipient of the prestigious JFK Lancer-Mary Ferrell New Pioneer Award, presented for advancing a better understanding of evidence in the Kennedy Assassination through innovative research.

    Now retired from police work, Fiester is a prominent author, lecturer, and educator. “Enemy of Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the JFK Assassination” is her first in a series of upcoming publications utilizing various forensic disciplines to address important subjects of interest to Americans in the 21st century. Her next book, “Demystifying Mind Control” is slated for release in late 2013.

    The Forensics
    “Enemy of the Truth,” by Sherry Fiester reveals compelling new information supported by the weight of scientific validity by examining assassination evidence with contemporary research and established forensic investigative techniques, including:

    The mechanics of head wound ballistics
    Utilization of high-speed photography
    Fracture sequencing studies of human skulls
    Beveling in relation to projectile directionality
    Blood spatter pattern analysis
    Target movement in gunshot injuries
    Trajectory analysis for the fatal head shot
    Written from the perspective of a court certified forensic investigator, this exceptional piece of scientific work looks the assassination as a major crime, revealing truths that meet today’s standard of evidence required to support a criminal conviction.”~Ibid
    http://enemyofthetruth.wordpress.com/

    \\][//

  21. longsat68 says:

    When all the psychbabble is finished, and the media hacks out another “there is no credible evidence of conspiracy” piece, we have to confront the documented evidence of conspiracy. It has been painstakingly gathered by serious researchers over many decades, much of it is court quality evidence, and more will be revealed as the search goes on. The rest is eyewash by people who obviously are not conversant with the work that’s been done. Sorry to say.

  22. Steve says:

    This thread demonstrates the conspiracy theorist mindset in full flow, with the Dunning-Kruger effect and paranoid overtones on full display. If the subject were a medical issue the public would entrust it to scientists and experts in the field, but on this topic they swipe aside expert opinion time after time in favour of their own “solution”.

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Mr. STURDIVAN – “There is another section of film here, before we get to the skulls, which we forgot to mention. Perhaps we should go ahead and go through it since it is already there. This is a can of tomatoes which I think demonstrates some of the principles of physics that are involved here. The picture will be much the same as those with the skull. The bullet will be coming in from the left, will strike the can and you will see pieces of the can moving toward the right in the direction of the bullet, but you will also see pieces of the can moving in other directions.

      **Notably, the top of the can will be moving back toward the left in the direction from which the bullet came.**

      You notice the backsplash as the bullet has entered the left-hand side of the can. The material is beginning to move back out. This is called the backsplash of the projectile. In the next case, the bullet is still within the can and, in fact, has stopped within the can.”~Larry Sturdivan — HSCA testimony
      \\][//

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Expert Opinion…

      “When a projectile strikes the skull, radial fractures are created which extend outward from the wound. Internal pressure from temporary cavitation produces concentric fractures create that are perpendicular to the radial fractures. Research addressing the sequencing of radial and concentric of skull fractures in gunshot injuries indicates the radial fractures stem from the point of entry (Viel, 2009; Karger, 2008; Smith, 1987; Leestma, 2009).

      The Clark Panel observed extensive fracturing in the autopsy X-rays. The panel report specified there was extensive fragmentation “of the bony structures from the midline of the frontal bone anteriorly to the vicinity of the posterior margin of the parietal bone behind”. The report goes on the state, “throughout this region, many of the bony pieces have been displaced outward; several pieces are missing”. The Clark Panel report indicates the majority of the fracturing and displaced bones fragments are closer to the location they described as the exit wound; this is in direct conflict with scientific research concerning skull fractures resulting from gunshot injuries.

      The Kennedy autopsy report stated multiple fracture lines radiated from both the large defect and the smaller defect at the occiput, the longest measuring approximately 19 centimeters. This same fracturing pattern was discussed in the Assassinations Records Review Board deposition of Jerrol Francis Custer, the X-ray technician on call at Bethesda Hospital the night of the Kennedy autopsy. Custer testified the trauma to the head began at the front and moved towards the back of the head (CE 387 16H978; ARRB MD 59:10).

      Kennedy’s autopsy X-rays have distinct radial fractures propagating from the front of the head, with the preponderance of concentric fractures located at the front of the head. Current research indicates fracturing patterns of this nature correspond with an entry wound located in the front of Kennedy’s head.”
      ~Sherry Fiester CSI

      “Although the principles of wound ballistics are not so complicated, bullets take a special position among the objects relevant in traumatology due to their physical characteristics: compared to other wounding agents, the mass is very small and the velocity is high. Unlike other blunt accelerated objects, this allows per se a deep penetration of tissue. But unlike sharp force, a dynamic penetration mechanism is effective which has not ended by the time the bullet exits.”
      […]
      “The third part is dedicated to blood and tissue particles exiting via the entrance wound: backspatter. The direction against the line of fire is the reason for the high evidential value of this phenomenon.”~Karger (9.1 Introduction – pg. 141)
      \\][//

    • hybridrogue1 says:

      Steve is ignoring the fact that I have cited several ballistic experts, and professional crime scene investigators here. However Steve has an agenda to frame “conspiracy theorists” as psychologically unbalanced; which in fact our host Mr Brotherton himself rejects as a fair assessment.

      Steve the anonymous picks the Dunning-Kruger effect as an explanation for the problem of free thinkers who reject the conformity of this deeply indoctrinated society. In fact the Dunning-Kruger effect did not speak to ” paranoid overtones “, but more to the delusions to expertise based on ignorance and lack of intelligence.

      The subtext of what Steve has written here reveals a poser to academic standards, a person framing himself as an expert in fields he clearly has no grasp of. To those of us who understand deconstruction, Steve stands naked as a pretender lacking in expertise and confusing his own habitual and unexamined bias for knowledge.
      \\][//

  23. hybridrogue1 says:

    Steve demonstrates the Coincidence theorist mindset in full flow, with the Dunning-Kruger effect and conformist overtones on full display.

    Where did Assistant Press Secretary, Kilduff point his finger when asked where Kennedy was hit? He pointed to his right temple. Did he not?

    Where did Malcolm Perry say the shot to the throat came from on the same day? He said it came from the front. Did he not?

    Where did all this get turned around backwards Steve? It was at the botched so-called “autopsy” at Bethesda. Was it not?

    “Crimes are conceived and they’re solved – in the imagination.”~Sherlock Holmes

    It takes very little imagination to solve this crime, it was conceived by the military industrial complex, who were desperate to continue their money making scam of perpetrating wars.
    \\][//

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