2012-01-15 04:34:15 UTC
of the contents of Gerald Posner's book Case Closed. I personally think
that his book is one of the worst that I have ever read,and I have read
many books dealing with the ambush and murder of JFK.
The author of Case Closed tells his readers that "Due to the bedlam at
Dealey Plaza, many contradictory statements were produced from scores of
witnesses resulting in conflicting accounts of what happened." Posner
says, " Testimony closer to the event must be given greater weight than
changes or additions made years later, when the witnesses' own memory is
often muddled or influenced by television programs, films, books, and
discussions with others.
This is good advice, especially for people that write for posterity. Does
Posner follow his own advice? In trying to solidify the concept that three
shots were fired on November 22, 1963, we read from Case Closed: "Beyond
the eyewitnesses already discussed, the author has discovered several
people who saw the assassination and have never before testified or told
their stories...most are now retired, some deceased, and their memories
nearly three decades after the event are not what they would have been
within days of the shooting. But their revelations are still pertinent,
The six interviewed for this book each remembered hearing three distinct
shots, and more important, three of them watched the assassination with a
pair of binoculars." pp.261-262.
Posner tells us that six were interviewed for the book and three watched
with binoculars, but leaves us in the dark as to who they were except for
one or two of them. Francine Burrows, who said she remembered three shots
told Gerald, " I was very close to him when he got shot. And I looked up
at that window immediately. I knew instinctively 'That's where the shots
came from.' She ran back to her office after the third shot, and she said
she ' was in shock - I didn't want to discuss it, I just wanted to forget
And that's exactly what Francine did for thirty years; she didn't
discuss it and she just forgot it.
Thanks to Posner, Francine has come forward at last to help us close
Even more interesting than Francine is another tardy witness, Travis
Linn, once a reporter and now a professor of journalism. Posner says of
Linn, "Despite his reluctance, he finally agreed to tell, for the first
time publicly, the story of the only sound recording known to have been
made of the assassination." p.243.
It turns out that Linn had planted a tape recorder on one of the columns
near the reflective pool at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets. He
wanted to capture the sounds of the motorcade going by,
All went well until Linn transferred the recording to a reel-to-reel tape
machine and don't you know, it erased itself. (Shades of Mission
Impossible). Not to worry; when asked if he heard the sounds of the shots
on the tape when he played it back, Linn told Posner, " When I was dubbing
it, I did hear three shots and they were rifle shots. I know rifles and
pistols. There is no question about those sounds. They were huge over the
crowd noise...the first two, my recollection is, were close together and
there was a slightly longer pause until the third one, as the guy hurried
his shots, and then said, 'No, I am going to aim this time." p.244.
We are fortunate that Posner found Travis Linn before Oliver Stone
discovered him. Here we have not only a witness to the tragic event, but
someone who writes dialogue as well. Also, Linn was able to correct
witnesses who reported that it was the last two shots that were cose
together with a longer pause after the first shot.
If Linn would have come forward at the time, he could have saved Secret
Service Agent Forest Sorrels from giving false testimony to the
Commission. Sorrels was in the lead car of the motorcade and when asked if
he could testify to the spacing of the shots, Sorrels said, "Yes. There
was to me about twice as much time between the first and second shots as
there was between the second and third shots."
MR. STERN: Can you estimate the overall time from the first shot to
the third shot?
SORRELS: Yes, I have called it out to myself. I have timed it, and I
would say it was very, very close to six seconds.
MR.STERN: It sounds like you can still hear the shots.
SORRELS: I will hear them forever.
Vol VII, p.345.
Posner criticizes testimony of witnesses who made statements within hours
of the assassination, and uses Travis Linn thirty years later to describe
the shots from a self-destructed tape.
What happened to the author's advise about testimony closer to the event
being given greater weight than testimony made years later?
CASE CLOSED? Maybe not.