Letters and Dr. Novella’s Responses

Letter 1

So Steve Novella obviously was a witness on the grassy knoll back in Dallas circa 11/22/63,  has read–nay, MEMORIZED the Warren Report(how many volumes was it, ten or 12?) and  possess Divine Omniscience?Otherwise, by dismissing ALL suspicion that JFK was murdered by a conspiracy as “silly,” he is blowing smoke out of his flabby, homicidal ass (bad enough) into our faces(unforgivable). 

        With ANY homicide, the FIRST suspects are  ALWAYS those who benefit, and when MANY have a logical motive(as is usual in ANY political assassination), a conspiracy is presumed, to be DISPROVED rather than proved. This is elementary criminology. Most assassinations of heads of state–Olaf Palme, Diem-Nhu, Anwar Sadat, Indira Gandhi, Alberto Moro,etc.– grew out of proven conspi! racies, as did Lincoln’s.Even when  murders seem senseless and random–as in the Manson Family killings–a conspiracy is usually NECESSARY to complete the crime. As for JFK’s death,  all the theories I’m familiar with–the Mafia, Castro, Hoover, LBJ–are unsatisfactory, but each makes more sense than the idiotic fantasy conjured up by the Warren Commission(of course; Jack Ruby LOVED Kennedy SO much, he just HAD to kill Oswald before his trial.Who’s being “silly” now, Mr.Chief Justice?), which is widely regarded as the most inept criminal investigation of the twentieth century. I certainly don’t think Oliver Stone’s JFK is accurate or even credible history, but 2 scenes are required viewing for Mr.Novell and anyone else who dismisses a conspiracy out of hand; the dissection of Arlen Spector’s sub-moronic “Magic Bullet” theory, and the UNEDITED Zapruder film, in which JFK’s head is blown off in two directions, neither of which correspond to Oswald’s alleged f! iring position. Until then, you are no smarter than those Born Again mutants who think Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church on Sunday.

 Conspiracies–the Mafia, Teapot Dome, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the  CIA’s overthrow of Allende, the FBI’s harassment of Dr. King and its ongoing use of agents provocateur  to undermine anti-war groups–EXIST like it or not. They’re founded and manned by human beings, who are mostly inept and stupid, acting out of greed and servility. But even these pitiful beings  are intellectually superior to you, Mr. Novell, You’re no SKEPTIC…just the most pathetic brand of naif.

SincerelyProud to be Paranoid, David Adams Murphy(Rev.) Pawtucket, RI

Dr. Novella responds:

I will ignore the many ad-hominem and childish attacks in Mr. Murphy’s letter and address the factual and logical points that I can (with some difficulty) extract from it.

Mr. Murphy argues that in a political assassination a conspiracy is to be assumed until proven otherwise. I disagree. In any crime, all plausible possibilities should be considered with an open mind. It is reasonable to prioritize these possibilities based upon probability (plausibility and statistics), but not to assume any of them. For example, it is true then when a wife is murdered, the husband is statistically the most likely suspect. However, this would not justify assuming the husband is guilty until proven innocent or ignoring other possible suspects.

Not only is this logic not valid, but I reject the premise that a theory other than a conspiracy is unproven in the JFK case. I refer to the excellent book Case Closed by Gerald Posner, that builds a very compelling case that Lee Harvey Oswald was indeed the “lone gunman” in the JFK assassination. In addition, as Mr. Murphy admits, none of the proposed conspiracy theories is satisfactory – in fact they all stink.

Mr. Murphy’s assumption that I have rejected JFK assassination theories out of hand is false. It is based on the compelling evidence for Lee Oswald and the lack of credible evidence for any conspiracy, in addition to the sloppy logic and evidence of conspiracy theorists.

Murphy also refers to the “magic bullet” theory. This misrepresentation of the forensics of the event (as credulously dramatized by Oliver Stone) has been thoroughly analyzed and discredited. In fact, a detailed analysis by the Failure Analysis Associates (and excellently reported on by Peter Jennings in his special on the JFK assassination) shows that the physical and forensic evidence solidly supports a lone gunman in the sniper’s nest occupied by Oswald.

I have also viewed a recently digitally enhanced version of the Zapruder film, in addition to neurological analysis of the reaction of JFK’s head to the bullet entry. In short, it is consistent with a single shot from the back (again, the sniper’s nest). This shot blew off part of JFK’s skull resulting in a high energy jet of tissue shooting out of the skull wound in a forward and right trajectory, forcing his head back and to the left. The jet of tissue is clearly visible on certain frames of the Zapruder film and is estimated to have shot up 30 ft.

Finally, Murphy lists other conspiracies to prove that “conspiracies…exist.” I never argued that they do not. My comments, as specifically mentioned, were confined to grand conspiracies, unsustainably huge conspiracies. The examples given by Murphy differ significantly in that they were not that secret, or they involved one group or agency over a confined period of time, and they were all uncovered, with evidence to prove the existence of a conspiracy. They do not support the existence of a secret grand conspiracy for which there is no compelling evidence.

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