Scholar Recalls Kennedy Assassination

Posted: November 19, 2013

Jack Gordon talks Monday about a Polaroid photo taken by Mary Moorman of the Kennedy assassination that captured the moment the president was struck in the head in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The assassination scholar was hosted by the W. Harold Lecture Series at Bridgewater College to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. (Photo by Alex Rohr / DN-R)
BRIDGEWATER — Jack Gordon was in eighth-grade study hall and excited to see Roger Staubach play for the Naval Academy against the Army the weekend of Nov. 22, 1963, when teachers came in the room saying the president had been shot.

“We were herded into an auditorium. The entire school was brought in with a black-and-white TV on the stage,” Gordon lectured to students at a Bridgewater College convocation Monday night in relation to the 50th anniversary on Friday. That’s when Gordon saw Walker Cronkite take off his glasses and announce that President John. F. Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas.

Gordon taught college classes on political assassinations between 1979 and 1983, has consulted for documentaries and now tours campuses as a lecturer. He has spent about 35 years trying to uncover the truth behind the mystery that followed that day in Dallas.

He suggests at least six bullets caused injuries to Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally, instead of the three the Warren Commission determined were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

“I believe there were three to the president alone,” Gordon said.

President Lyndon B. Johnson assigned the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. The commission was led by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren and included four members of Congress.

Gordon said they were encouraged by Johnson to finish their findings by the 1964 presidential election.

Gordon chopped through the Warren investigation like a defense attorney on cross-examination.

Using a compilation of black-and-white and color photos and film from amateurs and professionals, he took the audience through examinations of the Elm Street detour, the Grassy Knoll, the umbrella man, Oswald’s “sniper nest” and other long-debated pieces of the Dealey Plaza puzzle.

Gordon asked if anyone in the audience was old enough to remember seeing the amateur film shot by Abraham Zapruder fresh in 1963. It is considered by experts to be the most complete and clear footage from the assassination.

They hadn’t because it wasn’t revealed until 1975.

“That is one of the tragedies of the investigation, how long it took for us to see that footage,” he said.

In a frame-by-frame viewing of his compilation, Gordon points to distinct movements in Kennedy’s body, implying three distinct bullets, from at least two directions: The president’s waving hand drops as he leans forward, his arms and elbows raise, and his head flings backward.

“Shot one, shot two, shot three, all bulls-eyes,” he said, flipping through the slideshow, pointing to Kennedy’s movements and where he thinks the bullets entered. “Throat, back, head.”

While Gordon says the Warren Commission failed in its investigative task — he never commented on whether he thought it omitted evidence intentionally — he placed significant blame on the national media for a lack of follow-up reporting.

“The cover-up entails the higher echelon of the CIA, and the FBI …   and a lack of good, solid coverage by the American media,” he said.

On the movie theater-size screen in Cole Hall, Gordon points to two pictures. One is of the Life magazine cover of Oswald “with weapons he used to kill President Kennedy,” according to the caption.

“The word ‘allegedly’ is not in the caption in Life magazine,” he said, referring to a practice by journalists to not state guilt until trial.

Oswald was killed two days after Kennedy’s assassination and the cover published in early 1964.

The picture next to it is a photo provided by Oswald’s wife. Gordon points to a line across the chin on the Life cover and a difference in the two chins as evidence of doctoring.

He also blamed the media for failing to verify Warren Court findings.

“They all endorsed the findings of the Warren Commission …  even before they saw the meat and potatoes of the report,” he said.

Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or

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