Wednesday, 01 September 2010 22:42

Donald Byron Thomas, Hear No Evil: Social Constructivism and the Forensic Evidence In the Kennedy Assassination – Two Reviews (2, appendix)

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Supplementary material on terminology, ballistics and acoustics referred to in David Mantik's review of Don Thomas.

A Comprehensive Review of
Hear No Evil

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Review by Martin Hay

Appendix 1: Abbreviations used in this review

  • AGC: automatic gain control
  • AJP: American Journal of Physics
  • ARRB: Assassination Records Review Board
  • BBN: Bolt, Baranek & Newman
  • BRSW: Barger, Robinson, Schmidt, and Wolf (of BBN)
  • CE: Commission Exhibit (of the Warren Commission)
  • Ch-1: Channel 1, used for general purposes
  • Ch-2: Channel 2, dedicated to the motorcade
  • DM: David Mantik
  • DPD: Dallas Police Department
  • DRE: a CIA-funded, Cuban exile group
  • GK: grassy knoll
  • 6H42: volume 6, page 42 of the ancillary Warren Commission volumes
  • HSCA: House Select Committee on Assassinations
  • 8HSCA95, 106: volume 8, pages 95 and 106 of the ancillary HSCA volumes
  • JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association
  • JBC: John B. Connally
  • LG: Linsker and Garwin, first two authors of the recent follow-up to the NRC report
  • LHO: Lee Harvey Oswald
  • M-C: Mannlicher-Carcano
  • NAA: neutron activation analysis
  • NARA: National Archives and Records Administration (i.e., the National Archives)
  • NPIC: National Photographic and Interpretation Center
  • NRC: National Research Counci
  • SBT: single bullet theory
  • TSBD: Texas School Book Depository
  • WA: Weiss and Aschkenasy
  • WC: Warren Commission
  • WR: Warren Report
  • Z-film: Zapruder film


Appendix 2: Definitions (some from Wikipedia)

Caliber: American weapons use inches for caliber, whereas Europeans use mm. For example, the .30-.30 has a caliber of 0.30 inches = 7.62 mm.

Carbine: usually shorter than a rifle and of lower velocity.

Photogrammetry: determination of the geometric properties of objects, based on photographic images.

Stereophotogrammetry: estimating the 3D coordinates of points on an object via measurements from two or more photographic images, taken from different directions.

Appendix 3: Ammunition terminology (from Wikipedia)

Blank: cartridge without the bullet

Bullet: just the projectile, which may have a jacket (not shown in the illustration)

Cartridge (or round): the whole ensemble, as seen before firing

Case: also known as casing or shell or hull—what is left behind after the projectile leaves

Slug: the projectile, a term most often used with shotgun projectiles



A modern cartridge consists of the following:

  1. the bullet itself, which serves as the projectile;
  2. the case, which holds all parts together;
  3. the propellant, for example gunpowder or cordite;
  4. the rim, part of the casing used for loading;
  5. the primer, which ignites the propellant.


Appendix 4: Citations for the acoustic debate

  1. "Reexamination of Acoustic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination," Committee on Ballistic Acoustics, National Research Council The committee drew these conclusions and made these statements:
    1. Analyses of the acoustic evidence do not demonstrate that there was a grassy knoll shot, and in particular there is no acoustic basis for the claim of 95 percent probability of such a shot.
    2. The acoustic impulses attributed to gunshots were recorded about 1 minute after President Kennedy had been shot and the motorcade had been instructed to go to the hospital.
    3. Therefore, reliable acoustic data do not support a conclusion that there was a second gunman.
    4. …features of the recorded sounds strongly suggest that the open microphone was not in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination.
    5. The impulses selected for the BRSW study were not always the largest ones.
    6. …weak spikes on the Dictabelt often are selected to correspond to strong patterns in the test patterns, and vice versa.
    7. No siren sounds are heard on channel I at a time when they should have been heard by an open microphone in the motorcade; sirens are not heard for approximately 2 minutes….
    8. James Bowles, police communications supervisor at the time of the assassination, suggests that it [the stuck microphone] was on a motorcycle parked at the police command post near the Trade Mart, where it would be natural to have adjacent police radios tuned to different channels.
    9. Furthermore, even if it were granted that the hypothesis of randomly located impulses on relevant portions of the tape were in serious doubt, it would not follow that the alternative of gunfire from the grassy knoll was convincing. All plausible alternatives to both of these hypotheses would have to be eliminated, and no convincing effort has been made in this direction.
    10. …the "hold everything" segment of channel II is present on channel I at the same location as the acoustic impulses [i.e., suspect gunshots].
    11. These different forms of evidence are all compatible with the recordings [of sounds] made at the same time [i.e.,"…Hold everything secure…" and the suspect gunshots], and some are incompatible with the hypothesis of later superposed recordings by audio or direct electrical coupling.
    12. …the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics unanimously concluded that the acoustic impulses attributed to gunshots were recorded about 1 minute after the President had been shot and the motorcade had been instructed to go to the hospital….
  2. H. B. McLain. See JFK: First Day Evidence 1993, Gary Savage, pp. 265-279 and pp. 313-410. The latter pages are actually by James C. Bowles (1979) and consist of his comments, along with detailed transcripts of both Ch-1 and Ch-2. Also see HSCA 180-10107-10184: staff interview of Hollis B. McLain, September 26, 1977 and 5 HSCA 629 and 5 HSCA 630.
  3. Dale K. Myers, "Secrets of a Homicide" at
  4. Michael O'Dell, "The acoustic evidence in the Kennedy assassination" at
  5. Vincent Bugliosi, Reclaiming History 2008, Endnotes 381.
  6. R. Linsker and R. L. Garwin, "Synchronization of the acoustic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy," Science & Justice, Volume 45, No. 4 (2005) 207-226.
  7. D. B. Thomas, "Correspondence received in relation to LG: ‘Synchronization of the acoustic evidence in the assassination of President Kennedy,' Science & Justice, Volume 45, No. 4 (2005) 207-226."
  8. R. Linsker and R.L. Garwin, "Acoustic synchronization: Rebuttal of Thomas' reply to Linsker, et al." [The latter two letters were brought to my attention by R. L. Linsker. He notes that both are referenced in Science & Justice, Volume 46, no. 3, p. 199 (2006). I am grateful to him for forwarding these two letters to me.]


Appendix 5: The Sellier article (in German) on bullet deflection

The angle of deflection for three different bullet types, through aluminum, brass, and steel of thicknesses 1/16" and 1/8," ranged from 30 to 66 º, with the highest value for brass. For wood, the corresponding angles ranged from 12 to 36 º, depending on the bullet type. Interestingly, in wood the 7.65 bullet gave the highest deflection (of 36 º). Ribs produced rather little deflection. None of these data, in my opinion, seem pertinent to the case of a bullet striking a skull, so it is not clear why Thomas cites this paper at all. Sellier also cites work done on deflections from concrete, asphalt, and grass. These data might be germane to the bullets that struck the street surface in Dealey Plaza, but Thomas does not open that door and I have likewise not explored it. Interestingly, Sellier cites work by M. Jauhari: "Bullet ricochet from metal plates," J. Crim. Law Pol. Sci. 60, 387-394 (1969). Since this paper is in English, and appears to be the actual source of the metal deflection data (discussed by Sellier), it is odd that Thomas did not explicitly cite it. Another English language paper not cited by Thomas (but present in Sellier's bibliography) is this one: "FBI: Bouncing bullets." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, S. 2-6 u. 20-23. Washington, Sept./Okt. 1969. This is the paper that tests deflections from concrete, asphalt, and grass. One can only wonder if that work was triggered in part by the bouncing bullets in Dealey Plaza.


Appendix 6: List of audio tracks (from reference 6 in my Appendix 4, p. 209)


Channel No.Track No.Source
1 1 Bowles
2 2 Bowles
2 3 Bowles
2 4 "miscellaneous short segments"
1 5 FBI playback of Ch-1
2 6 from FBI turntable playback @ 33.3 rpm (recorded and played back @ 7.5 ips)
2 7 FBI turntable playback @ 33.3 rpm (recorded @ 7.5 ips, but played back @ 3.75 ips)
1 6B portion of Bowles Ch-1, after end of Track 1


Appendix 7: Sources of uncertainty in the timelines for the audio tracks

  1. The recording stopped, typically after 4 seconds of silence (in either channel).
  2. Skips or repeats occurred during recording (Ch-2, Gray Audograph).
  3. Playback caused skips or repeats (Ch-2, Gray Audograph).
  4. A standard phonograph table (for Ch-2) was required for playback.
  5. The police tape playback speed (Ch-1) was 5% too fast.
  6. Crosstalk events might be misidentified.


Appendix 8: A viable sequence of pertinent sounds

Note: See details in Table 1 by LG (reference 5 of my Appendix 4)—or Table 1 or Table 2 from O'Dell (shown in this review).

Note that GO (by Curry) is not a crosstalk. CHECK1 and CHECK are two different utterances at two different times, so they cannot represent crosstalk. ATTENTION was a deliberate simulcast, but it is not very useful for establishing a timeline because it occurs so late. The suspect shots overlap with HOLD on Ch-2. They are not heard on Ch-1. Thomas's notation is used here, except for CHECK1, a label that was introduced by LG in order to distinguish it from CHECK. Red arrows indicate authentic crosstalk sounds. Bellah actually consisted of two closely spaced utterances, but only one is shown here. This sketch is not designed for precise intercomparison of the two channels (for either the times or the intervals), nor is it to scale.

Appendix 8 Image
Last modified on Wednesday, 02 November 2016 22:00
David Mantik

David W. Mantik, MD, Ph.D., is a board certified radiation oncologist who previously served on the tenure-track physics faculty at U. Michigan. He received his PhD in physics from U. Wisconsin, his MD from Michigan, completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford, and held a Junior Faculty Clinical Fellowship at USC.  He has visited the National Archives on nine separate occasions and has written extensively about the JFK medical evidence, particularly the autopsy images.  He has recently published an e-book, JFK’s Head Wounds.

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