If you want to know where one of the shots that hit John Kennedy came from, you can consult a biological map, and the one in Kennedy’s neck is pretty reliable. Other researchers present bullet paths through the head, but the one in the neck is easier to see.
If the wound in Kennedy’s throat was an entrance, this of course means that one shooter was firing from in front of the motorcade. (Please go here to see some reasons to believe it was an entrance.) But the path through Kennedy’s neck can tell you approximately where in front the shooter was. Consider the three dots below that represent damage reported by Parkland Hospital:
- A small hole in the skin in the middle of the neck
- A larger hole in the right side of his trachea
- Bleeding in the area of the right mediastinum over the lung
Connect these three dots and you have a diagonal line across Elm Street that leads to an area in front—and to the left of Kennedy. The south knoll.
In other words, the damage in the neck shows the path of a bullet going northeast—which means it came from the southwest.
No Fourth Dot
If the wound in Kennedy’s throat was an exit instead of an entrance, then we would have to assume that a bullet entered the back and exited the throat. But in an article published long ago, the late John Nichols, MD, PhD explained why this could not have happened: the wound was only 5 centimeters or 1.9 inches from the midline of the back and even closer to outer edge of the spine itself. In its hypothetical journey to the middle of the throat, the bullet would have to go through the spine.
And he showed that for the bullet to avoid hitting the spine, it would have to have entered the back further to the right than it actually did.
Here is a scan showing the cross-section of the neck of a man whose size was very similar to Kennedy’s. It was done by David Mantik, MD, PhD to demonstrate what Nichols was talking about.
The red line begins in the lower right-hand corner—where the bullet wound was in Kennedy’s back. The wound could not be probed and seemed to stop within an inch after penetrating. In any case, a medium-high velocity bullet could not have followed the path below without creating tremendous, obvious damage, shattering the bones it went through as well as damaging tissue lateral to its path.
X-rays of Kennedy’s spine showed no such damage. The shadow of a line appeared between two parts of the spine, suggesting a separation of the transverse process and where it attaches. Promoters of the Lone Nut Theory have tried to use it as proof of a shot at the seventh cervical level—but buried in the HSCA Hearings is an expert radiologist’s report of several additional shadows, proving they are all meaningless artifacts:
Unenhanced x-ray: “The first rib appeared to be separated from the sternum ...” (JFK Exhibit F-34). Enhanced x-ray: “there appear to be fractures of the posterior aspects of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ribs. These are artifacts.” (7 HSCA 219) (Please go here to see my story on this, and more.)
The lead pathologist who performed the autopsy, James Humes MD, testified that they saw no fractures in the vertical column, that is, the spine. His words:
... we examined carefully the bony structures in this vicinity [of the back wound] as well as the X-rays... and we saw no such evidence, that is no fracture of the bones of the shoulder girdle, or of the vertical column, and no metallic fragments were detectable by X-ray. [I believe “vertical” should have been “vertebral,” possibly a transcription error.]
Reversing the Path
Any bullet—whether from the front or the back—missed all parts of the spine. And so I propose we use, as a biological map, Nichols’s diagram of a path that misses the spine:
Where the bullet stopped, we do not know. Nor do we know what happened to it. It is entirely possible that it was found during the autopsy and furtively removed by one of the pathologists, his back to the audience, his body obscuring Kennedy’s.
Trusting the Parkland Hospital doctors’ report—but not the pathologists’—we do know the damage suggests the bullet went to the right somewhere inside Kennedy, just above the right lung. And so I suggest we use the uppermost path in Nichols’s diagram as our map. It goes far enough to the right to miss the spine.
Below is another diagram from the Nichols article which I have cut to include only the path through the front of the body. In other words, I have disconnected it from the back wound. It shows a simple overhead drawing of Kennedy and his right arm:
You will have to orient this diagram in relation to where the limousine was at the time of the strike, and it may be impossible to get it exactly right. I suggest finding several possible locations, bracketing them—no earlier than this position, no later than that position.
I would wish you happy hunting, but this is really a grim business.