[Editor's note: The announcement on Rich DellaRosa's JFKresearch Forum that Josiah Thompson's book, SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967), was going to be reprinted in collaboration with The 6th Floor Museum caused me concern, for reasons explained in this post. While more than 125 persons read it, no one took issue with what I had to say here, including Josiah Thompson.] The author of SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS (1967), Josiah Thompson, Ph.D., recently announced that his book is being reprinted by some (heretofore unidentified) university press. "The book will be reprinted in its original form by a university press", he explained. "All income from this reprinting will go to a special fund set up by The 6th Floor Museum for the acquisition and preservation of original materials." Now university presses are not rare book dealers, so unless this "reprinting" were to include new material, it is difficult to imagine why it is being published. Who will buy it? If he were to address current issues of film authenticity, of course, that might make a considerable difference. Yet he assures us that "The claims of Zapruder film alteration will not be discussed since they are spurious." Precisely how he knows that the claims of Zapruder film alteration are spurious is beyond me, since, to the best of my knowledge, he has never addressed the vast majority, and those he has addressed in his DISINFORMATION SERIES have displayed his ignorance of recent work. But there are even more general aspects of this situation that I find puzzling. He has made much of the claim that three spent shell casings were found in the alleged "assassin's lair", which evidence photographs published by Gary Shaw, by Noel Twyman, and by Jesse Curry tend to undermine. Yet his own book claims that just two shots were actually fired from the assassin's lair, where the third--crimped--cartridge was a plant. So when Todd Vaughan attacked me for having this all wrong--citing, for example, that Curry had added the notation, "Three were found in all", where the third was kept by the DPD until the FBI demanded it-Thompson's own account of the matter (pp. 143-146) supports the conclusion that it was a fake. So even though his own position was essentially in agreement with mine--that this third cartridge casing was "of dubious origin"--he remained silent and said nothing. That is interesting all on its own, but not as much as that, if three shots had been fired from there, his own account of the killing would be false. In particular, it is the thesis of SIX SECOND IN DALLAS that four shots were fired by three shooters, only two of which were fired from "the assassin's lair". A third, he claims, was fired from the Dallas County Records Building, and a fourth from the grassy knoll. One hit JKF in the back, another hit Connally, and the third and fourth hit the President in the head in very close temporal proximity. (See Chapter VIII, which includes a diagram of this scenario.) Since all four shots hit, he accounts for the injury to James Tague as having been caused by a fragment from the bullet that hit JFK in the back of the head (pp. 230-233). Precisely where this fragment exited his cranuim on its trajectory he does not explain, but that is his take. As I previously observed, the evidence has long since carried us beyond his position of 1967. In fact, by 1970, the studies of Richard Sprague, COMPUTERS AND AUTOMATION (May 1970), had already superceded those of Josiah Thompson. As I observed in response to an inquiry from Todd Vaughan, Sprague's analysis was not only better founded--based as it was on more than 500 photographic records, where the Z-film, for example, counted as only one--but it employed a vastly more sophisticated technology through the use of computerized photoanalysis and arrived at very different conclusions about the shot sequence itself. Sprague has two shots from the knoll (different locations), two from the Book Depository (but none from the "assassin's lair"), and two from the Dal-Tex Building. So if Sprague is right, then Thompson is wrong. Since Thompson has assured us, "There will be no changes in the original text and photos though some minor corrections or clarifications may be added", apparently he will not discuss the work of Richard Sprague. But it may also explain his aversion to ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA. We had discovered by 1998 that JFK had been hit by at least four shots--one to the back from behind, one to the throat from in front, and two to the head, one from behind and one from in front--with at least one(and probably more) hit to Connally and a complete miss that injured Tague. So if ASSASSINATION SCIENCE is right, then SIX SECONDS must be wrong. And similarly for MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA, where evidence for perhaps as many as ten or more shots may be found. So perhaps there is a simple explanation for Thompson's otherwise seemingly irrational aversion to both of these books. If ASSASSINATION SCIENCE or MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA are right, then SIX SECONDS must be wrong. So perhaps this is all about an author protectingg his "investment" in the for of his own book. He is not going to discuss Sprague's studies or more recent work, no matter how well supported they may be, because it severely undermines the position he adopted in 1967! That is remarkable in itself, but I am still puzzled why a serious university press would even consider publishing a book in 2001 whose principal conclusions had already been superceded by 1970! I speculate that this may be an elaborate public relations gimmick intended to dupe the unwary into mistakenly supposing that this is the latest research reflecting current work on the subject. If anyone has a more plausible hypothesis, I would like to hear it. We have been reassured by Thompson, however, that he is not making "a dime" off this project, whose proceeds are going to support The Sixth Floor Museum: "All income from this reprinting will go to a special fund set up by The 6th Floor Museum for the acquisition and preservation of original materials." Preservation may be the operative word, at least in the case of his own work. Yet, for reasons I cannot quite identify, there still seems to be something peculiar about all this: an old book not updated, a university press, and now The 6th Floor Museum. Apparently he knows who he is dealing with there, since he tells us, "I have known and respected Gary Mack for nearly twenty years. We are friends." Perhaps what bothers me is that The 6th Floor Museum has been criticized for years for its bias against research and evidence that point in directions other than that the crime was committed by a lone, demented gunman. Not only are ASSASSINATION SCIENCE and MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA not carried there, but virtually none of the books discussed in them are carried there either. Len Osanic, who maintains a web site on behalf of Fletcher Prouty, who served as a liaison between the Pentago, the CIA, and The White House during the Kennedy administration, even maintains a file of complaints about the operation there. Anyone who would like to review these reactions for themselves is welcome to visit the file at http://www.prouty.org/boycott.html. The web site itself holds many attractions, not least of all because Prouty was the basis for the character "Colonel X" in Oliver's Stone's film "JFK". I find it odd that an author ostensibly committed to the existence of conspiracy in the death of JFK would be on such cordial terms with The 6th Floor. Osanic has observed, "That the book MURDER IN DEALEY PLAZA is not carried by The 6th Floor only underscores the fact that this is not a museum but a 'front'". If that is true, then I guess that would explain it. Consider the evidence and judge for yourself.
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