Saturday, June 11, 2016

Poetry by Adolfo Leads to A Study Investigating The Guns of Dealey Plaza by John S. Craig...

November 22, 1963

A shot rings
in my ears;
its bullet
my heart

--Adolph Caso

The Model 91/38, 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano (formally known as a Carcano), declared to be the murder weapon by the Warren Commission, and owned by Oswald, was 40.2 inches long and weighed eight pounds. The Warren Commission reported that oswald purchased the rifle through mail-order from Klein's Sporting Goods of Chicago by sending in a coupon from American Rifleman magazine. The magazine advertised a 36-inch, 5.5-pound Mannlicher-Carcano. Curiously, this was not the same 40.2 inch rifle that Oswald was alleged to have owned. Oswald's Carcano was purchased for $12.78 and the 4X telescopic sight was $7.17, which was mounted by a gunsmith employed by Klein's. He adopted a Navy pistol holster as a sling. Oswald used a six-bullet Mannlicher enbloc ammunition clip, which turned his Carcano into what has been common referred as Oswald's "Mannlicher-Carcano." He left his right palm print on the end of the wooden stock and right middle and right ring fingerprint on the trigger guard when it was found by Dallas police on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. Within the sniper's nest, Oswald's fingerprints and a palm print were found on several of the boxes, and a fingerprint was found on the bad alleged to have carried the disassembled rifle. An FBI analysis of fibers found on the rifle was linked to the shirt Oswald was wearing when he was arrested...

The Guns of Dealey Plaza:
Weapons and the Kennedy Assassination

By John S. Craig

I met John Craig through his books, Peculiar Liaisons in War, Espionage, and Terrorism of the Twentieth Century and Heroes, Rogues and Spies. I confess that I enjoyed both those books much better than this one. But that doesn't detract from the recognition of this writer's skill in research, presentation, and an overall excellent thought-provoking book, this time honing in on the Kennedy Assassination. For historians, for forensics gun enthusiasts, for those who enjoy conspiracy theories, The Guns of Dealey Plaza is a investigative resource that you will want to check out.

This is a non-fiction, technical, very detailed review of the guns that were involved, or at least studied, found in November, 1963. Readers will not find excitement--they will find detailed facts and/or hypotheses of what happened. But mostly it is information about the guns used/found...and the investigation surrounding the assassination.

I was working on my first job, in the Office of Personnel, at WVU, when we heard the news about what was happening in Texas. The assassination of the President was something that would never be forgotten, or, it seems, studied. Will that help prevent a future disaster? Or, perhaps, "not" since being able to purchase a gun through the mail for less than $15 says more about that??? And still does...

One part interested me when Craig discussed that Oswald's competency in shooting was "maligned..."

Maligned throughout the years of scoring "only" as a marksman ranking within the Marines, a closer look at Oswald's abilities demonstrates otherwise. When sitting in a position where the rifle can be steadied, Oswald scored a sharpshooter ranking, one higher than a marksman, and one lower than an expert ranking. Two Marine marksman experts testified that oswald could be considered as a "good to excellent shot..."

After reading that, I began to wonder about my own interest in forensics science television...My thought was, if they proved Oswald killed him, why argue how skilled he what if it was just "luck?" The President was still dead...Right?

Included in the book is information about the bullets and shells, handguns, the timing of the shots, etc., and, of course, the government agencies and The Warren Commission that worked on the case.

In any event, you will see that many aspects of the entire investigation has been included, regurgitated, and, in the end, Craig  provides "A Possible Scenario" of how he sees everything happening and then an Afterword which included some interests details...I found these most interesting as a conclusion before I went on to review the extensive sources and end notes documenting the research conducted and footnoting exactly what came from where... 

The format of the book is much like I've read in university dissertations and should be easily used by students and others who are conducting research on the same or similar topics. I helped many students working on their doctorates and am very acquainted with such scholarly presentations. It is exceptionally well done... And I want to also point out that this is an excellent illustration of the quality and content that can be found in today's self-publishing world. Kudos to the author!

I have no doubt that members of the NRA should check this one out...


John S. Craig was born and lives in Colorado. He has published and researched in the fields of history, communication, technology, crime, and travel. He is an instructor at the University of Colorado where he has taught writing and communication for twenty years. He is the author of Peculiar Liaisons in War, Espionage, and Terrorism in the Twentieth Century (Algora) and Heroes Rogues, and Spies. A collection of short stories, Blanket of Crickets and Other Stories, are among his other works.

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