JFK: The Smoking Gun (2013)

TV Movie   |  Not Rated   |    |  Documentary, History


JFK: The Smoking Gun (2013) Poster

Australian detective Colin McLaren investigates the JFK assassination using ballistics expert Howard Donahue's evidence of a second shooter in Dealey Plaza.


7.2/10
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Director:

Malcolm Mcdonald

Writer:

Steve Lucas

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4 November 2013 | dfle3
10
| The awful truth is staring you in the face. 10/10
I have had a casual interest in the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy since I was a small child and saw the great (as I remember it) documentary/'trial' of Lee Harvey Oswald in "On trial: Lee Harvey Oswald" (I'll call him "LHO" from now on). Even though the details of that documentary now escape me, I do recall my disbelief that that jury for the trial of Oswald found that he was solely responsible for the assassination. It would be interesting to revisit that documentary in the wake of this definitive documentary. Lastly, I also remember seeing Oliver Stone's "JFK" but the details of that escape me too. Yet again, it would be interesting to revisit that drama in the wake of the puzzle being solved by this current documentary.

So, as a casual observer of this conspiracy theory laden event par excellence, I have to say that "JFK: The smoking gun" is either the starting point or the end point for anyone who wants answers to the mystery of "Who shot JFK?". For some, definitive proof will never be enough, so this documentary should start as a jumping off point for them...as in they MUST heed the findings here, lest they seem obstinate. For example, I think it was in "On trial: Lee Harvey Oswald" where I first heard of "the magic bullet theory". The effect of this theory is to lead one to suppose that any scenario where LHO's bullet is supposed to have hit the targets it was meant to is so ludicrous as to be ruled out of hand. "JFK: The smoking gun" proves that the bullet DID in fact do what it was supposed to have done and it only seems "magic" if the assumptions that you make about the layout of the car are false. So, assuming that the layout presented in "JFK:TSG" is correct, there's just no way in the world you can credibly dismiss that bullet as having "magic" properties. It's just ludicrous to assert that it is anymore.

"JFK:TSG" is presented by an Australian former detective Colin McLaren. He treats the assassination as a 'cold case' and goes through The Warren Commission's report, in the wake of reading a theory by Howard Donahue (a ballistics expert) documented in Bonar Menninger's book "Mortal error: The shot that killed JFK". In the wake of JFK's assassination, Donahue was involved in a TV network's recreation of the assassination to ascertain whether LHO could indeed have fired off three shots in under six seconds. Donahue could...but after three attempts...suggesting that LHO is unlikely to have done so, seeing as he only had one attempt to do this. So, in essence, McLaren's documentary is basically overkill for those for whom ballistics science is inadequate...for whatever reason. McLaren presents testimony to support Donahue's theory.

The basic findings of this documentary are as follow:

01) LHO fired two shots at JFK. His first missed the target BUT, via a ricochet, JFK was hit by debris, which prompted his comment of "My God, I'm hit".

02) LHO fires off his last shot. It hits his target and also injures Governor Connally. Due to the seating layout, the ballistics stack up such that there is nothing "magic" about the bullet's trajectory. It fits.

03) In a car behind JFK, Secret Service agent George Hickey, arming himself with a rifle in the wake of the (potentially) non-lethal shot on JFK picks up an automatic rifle in order to respond to the would be assassin but is knocked back by his car accelerating away, accidentally firing off a shot...the shot which impacts with devastating results on JFK's head.

04) The Secret Service, knowing full well that one of its own killed JFK, systematically covers up this truth at each and every opportunity.

05) The Warren Commission also is a whitewash, with Assistant Counsel Arlen Spector actively derailing any opportunity for the truth to become known about the Secret Service's involvement.

I would add here that what I outline here ties in neatly with LHO famously claiming "I'm just a patsy". He'd know full well that the lethal shot was not fired by him.

Where there is scope for the conspiracy theorists, I'm sure, is the extent to which the Secret Service's killing of JFK was accidental, as well as the usual stuff about who LHO was involved with. This documentary does not answer those questions...it assumes - probably quite rightly - that the lethal shot was accidental and does not delve into who LHO was involved in...perhaps due to that being so murky as far as definitive answers go.

I'm satisfied that the account presented here is accurate and best fits the facts...the ballistics evidence and the testimony of the time all reinforce the account...in ways which the Warren Commission's findings don't. It was staggering to see how unprofessional the Secret Service agents were on the morning/day of the assassination and it's an open question as to how justified their cover-up was in the wake of this tragedy. An implication that I would draw is that the Secret Service would in fact have reason/motive to want LHO dead before he could testify.

Interestingly, George Hickey waited two years before suing Menninger over the contents of his book. It was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. When the book was later re-released in paperback, he sued again. The publisher etc. settled out of court...Hickey had ground out a 'win' for himself. I'm not sure that 'victory' is good for history. I hope that Jackie Kennedy knew the truth of what happened too and that it was 'only' the public who were 'protected' from this awful truth.

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Documentary | History

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