Derisive term employed by critics of the single bullet theory of John F. Kennedy's assassination. They maintain that the injuries inflicted on the President and Governor John Connally could not have been made by a single bullet unless it changed direction several times in mid-air, a feat that could only be explained by magic.

The "Magic Bullet" theory is actually not as crazy as the film JFK made it out to be; if it were, we would have to conclude that the Warren Commission were a bunch of crazy idiots.

(In this writeup, the notation "ZXXX" refers to frame XXX of the Zapruder film.)

As background, the Commission decided that Lee Harvey Oswald was John F. Kennedy's sole assassin, firing three shots from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, killing the President and wounding Governor John Connally. They found that the bullet which caused the fatal head wound was unlikely to have caused any other injuries, and as one bullet appeared to have missed the car completely (possibly ricocheting from the pavement and grazing the cheek of James Tague, who was standing underneath the Triple Underpass); this leaves only a single bullet to account for the remaining seven wounds - two on the President, five on the Governor.

Conspiracy theorists and Oliver Stone would have us believe that the two victims were both sitting at the same height, directly in front of each other, and facing forwards, and that Governor Connally had his elbow resting on the door of the limousine. With the two men in this position, the bullet would have to trace a truly bizzarre trajectory in order to cause all seven wounds, and this defies common sense. Examination of the film and of Connally's WC testimony, however, show that picture is wrong on several counts.

First of all, pictures of the limousine taken both before and after the shooting show that the rear seat where the President was sitting was at least six inches higher in the car than the Governor's jump seat, which was also a comparable distance further into the body of the car. Connally confirms this in his testimony.

The Governor also states that after he heard the first shot (which according to this scenario was the one which missed the car and occurred c. Z185) he turned around to check that his wife and Mrs. Kennedy were not injured, and that he felt the shot to his back as he was turning forwards again. Again the film backs this up - it occurred at about Z220, and in Z223/224 the Governor's lapel flies forward in a manner consistant with the bullet leaving his chest. The film also clearly shows that at this time the Governor's right hand was resting in his lap, not in the air as the conspiracists would tell us. By Z230 both the Governor and the President are showing clear signs of distress.

With the Governor sitting in this position relevant to the President, the wound in his back is brought into direct alignment with those in Kennedy's back and throat, removing one of the major bizzarrities in the conspiracists's version. A slight downward deflection of the bullet is necessary in order to account for the four wounds in Connally's chest, wrist and thigh, but this can be easily explained by a ricochet occurring as the bullet shattered the Governor's fifth rib, thus removing the major inconsistencies in the Oliver Stone version.

Some theorists point to the fact that Connally is apparently still holding his hat at about Z250 as evidence that his wrist was uninjured at the time, and so the wounds to his wrist and chest must have been caused by separate bullets. Sometimes, however, such an injury would cause a spasm making the fingers grip tighter, and Nellie Connally stated that her husband was still holding his hat as he was brought in to hospital. Unless the Governor was shot again by a hospital employee, this can therefore be discounted.

Another piece of evidence pointed to by the conspiracists is the apparently "pristine" condition of the bullet found on the Governor's stretcher. This is largely based on a side-on photograph of the bullet taken for the WC's evidence files in which it appears to be in good condition. Another photograph of the bullet, taken from the end, clearly shows that the bullet was not pristine.

In summary, therefore the public perception of the "Magic Bullet" theory perpetuated by the film JFK is at best a distortion of the truth, and anyone considering serious research into the Kennedy assassination is advised to go back to the original sources and draw their own conclusions

Mostly paraphrased from
and checked against Connally's WC testimony at

(For the Record, I think there probably was a conspiracy. I'm posting this in order to demonstrate that proving this is not as simple as it first appears to be.)

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