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Rule # 1 of a Gun Fight: Have a Gun (how the witnesses trump the WC)

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Rule # 1 of a Gun Fight: Have a Gun (how the witnesses trump the WC)

Post by greg parker on Sun 12 Sep 2010, 12:10 pm

The WCR states: As McDonald started to search Oswald’s waist for a gun, he heard him say, “Well, it’s all over now.” Oswald then struck McDonald between the eyes with his left fist.; with his right hand he drew a gun from his waist. McDonald struck back with his right hand and grabbed the gun with his left hand. They both fell into the seats. Three other officers, moving toward the scuffle, grabbed Oswald from the front, rear and side.

But here is what the witnesses said:

As he said this ["Well it’s all over now"], I put my left hand on his waist and then his hand went to the waist. And this hand struck me between the eyes on the bridge of the nose.

[and later]
Mr. McDONALD. Well, whenever he knocked my hat off, any normal reaction was for me to go at him with this hand.
Mr. BALL. Right hand?
Mr. McDONALD. Yes. I went at him with this hand, and I believe I struck him on the face, but I don’t know where. And with my hand, that was on his hand over the pistol.
Mr. BALL. Did you feel the pistol?
Mr. McDONALD. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Which hand was—was his right hand or his left hand on the pistol?
Mr. McDONALD. His right hand was on the pistol.
Mr. BALL. And which of your hands?
Mr. McDONALD. My left hand, at this point.
Mr. BALL. And had he withdrawn the pistol.
Mr. McDONALD. He was drawing it as I put my hand.

Note that in McDonald’s version, he is saying that he struck Oswald - not because, Oswald is going for a gun - but because Oswald punched him first. McDonald also states that Oswald was [in the process of] drawing the gun at the time he has his own hand on Oswald’s and the pistol. This is a significant difference to the WC’s claim that Oswald had it drawn before being struck by McDonald and before McDonald got a hand on it.

Mr. HAWKINS. I remember seeing him standing beside Oswald, and when I arrived where they were, both of them were down in the seat—Oswald and McDonald had both fallen down into the seat, and very shortly after I got there, a gun was pulled, came out of Oswald’s belt and was pulled across to their right, or toward the south aisle of the theatre.

In this version, the pistol is not drawn until after the arrival of Hawkins, at a time when McDonald and Oswald are down in the seats. He goes on to say that 'very shortly after I got there, a gun was pulled, came out of Oswald’s belt and was pulled across to their right, or toward the south aisle of the theatre. Officer McDonald grabbed the pistol, and the best I can remember, Sergeant Hill, who had gotten there, said, “I’ve got the gun,” and he took the gun and we handcuffed Oswald.' He does not say that Oswald was the one with the gun drawn... nor does he say he was unable to see who had it – but then, he was simple never asked.

Mr. WALKER. He put his hand up, not exactly as you would raise your hands to be searched, but more or less showing off his muscles, what I call it, kind of hunching his shoulders at the same time, and McDonald put his hand down to Oswald’s pocket, it looked like to me, and McDonald’s head was tilted slightly to the right, looking down in the right hand.

"kind of hunching his shoulders" sounds like a description of someone hunching over and shifting their waist away from the person reaching or placing hands on that area. One reason for that, and the punch that followed it, might be that mcDonald was planting the pistol that he had carried up the aisle. This walk with the pistol is discussed further on in the post.

Mr. BELIN. Looking in whose?
Mr. WALKER. McDonald’s right hand as he was searching, and he felt of his pocket, and Oswald then hit him, it appeared, with his left hand first, and then with his right hand. They was scuffling .there, and Officer Hutson and I ran toward the back of Oswald and Hutson threw his arm around his neck, and I grabbed his left arm, and we threw him back over the seat. At this time I didn’t see any gun that was involved.

Like Hawkins, Walker didn’t see any gun involved at any relevant period claimed by the WC. Later in his testimony he states Oswald is thrown against the seats after the arrival of other officers, and at that point, he sees Oswald with his hand on the handle of the pistol which is still in his waist. We pick his testimony up again from there.

Mr. WALKER. And it stayed there for a second or two. He didn’t get it out. McDonald had come forward and was holding his hand. Ray Hawkins was behind me to my left at that time, and whether or not he came at the same time we did or not, but he was there, and there was a detective. Oswald had ahold of my shirt and he practically pulled off my nameplate by gripping it with his hand, and I was bent over, and I was in an awkward position, and I could see several hands on the gun. The gun finally got out of his belt, and it was about waist high and pointed out at about a 45 degree angle. I turned around and I was holding Oswald trying to get his arm up behind him in a hammerlock, and I heard it click. I turned around and the gun was still pointing at approximately a 45 degree angle. Be pointed slightly toward the screen, what I call. Now Hawkins was in the general direction of the gun.

Walker’s testimony is interesting for two reasons: firstly, like Hawkins, it is at wide variance with the official version, and secondly, because it so detailed. He places several hands on the weapon – and at no point stated Oswald’s was one of them.

Mr. BREWER. McDonald was back up. He just knocked him down for a second and he was back up. And I jumped off the stage and was walking toward that, and I saw this gun come up and—in Oswald’s hand, a gun up in the air.

Interestingly, Bugliosi acolyte, David Von Pein relies solely on Brewer for putting the pistol in Oswald's hands. Maybe that is because he knows the cops don't do it, and the other civilian witnesses give too much information that is known to be wrong, or else points to altenative scenarios.

Mr. APPLIN. Well, the officer, I heard him say, “Here he is.” And during the proceeding of that, I guess about 5 or 10 seconds later, there was another—I think it was two officers, or one, passed me and ran down there to him.
Mr. BALL. Did you see a gun?
Mr. APPLIN. Well, the gun didn’t come into view until after about four or
five officers were there.
Mr. BALL. Then did you see a gun?
Mr. APPLIN. Yes, sir; but only—there was one gun. The pistol. It came
into view before any of the other officers got there.
Mr. BALL. That is what I mean. What do you say happened about that? Who
pulled a gun?
Mr. APPLIN. Well, anyhow, the officer was facing this way [indicating] and
Oswald was facing this way [indicating]. And then the gun was pointed out
that way [indicating].
Mr. BALL. Wait a minute. I can’t follow you when you say it was “this way,”
sir. You told me that this officer asked Oswald to stand up?
Mr. APPLIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. BALL. Did he stand up?
Mr. APPLIN. Yes, sir; he did.
Mr. BALL. Then did he put his hand some place on Oswald?
Mr. APPLIN. Yes, sir; along about . . .
Mr. BALL. Where?
Mr. APPLIN. I guess about his hips.
Mr. BALL. Then what did Oswald do?
Mr. APPLIN. He took a right-hand swing at him.
Mr. BALL. What did the officer do?
Mr. APPLIN. The officer grabbed him then.
Mr. BALL. Had you seen the pistol up to that time?
Mr. APPLIN. No, sir; there was not one in view then.
Mr. BALL. How soon after that did you see the pistol?
Mr. APPLIN. I guess it was about—I guess it was about 2 or 3 seconds.
Mr. BALL. Who pulled the pistol?
Mr. APPLIN. I guess it was Oswald, because—for one reason, that he had on a short sleeve shirt, and I seen a man’s arm that was connected to the gun.

Applin is talking about two different weapons. A shotgun (the "gun") and a pistol. That is why Ball is so confused. He completely misses what Applin is saying and conflates "gun" and "pistol" into one weapon.

Let's break it down.

When asked if he saw a "gun", Applin replies that there was no "gun" in sight until AFTER the arrival of about 4 or 5 cops.

Asked then by Ball to confirm that is when he saw a "gun", he replies, "Yes, sir; but only—there was one gun." He then differentiates the "gun" from the "pistol" by adding, "The pistol. It came into view before any of the other officers got there."

So... there was a pistol in view when Only McDonald was there, but when the others arrives, there was also a "gun" visible. This comports with the memory of Jim Ewell who had a birds eye view of the arrest from the balcony. Ewell recalled in a story for the Dallas Morning News that when the cops were all over Oswald, he saw the barrell of a shotgun poked down between the bodies. He clearly thought, though stopped short of outright saying, that the intent was to blow Oswald's brains out there and then.

Mr. GIBSON. Well, I was standing there watching all this going on and then the policeman started down the aisle—I would say there was another—I don’t know, maybe six or eight—started down the aisles. . . . and then the next thing was—Oswald was standing in the aisle with a gun in his hand.
Mr. BALL. . . . What was he doing?
Mr. GIBSON. Well, he had this pistol in his hand.
Mr. BALL. Was anybody near him?
Mr. GIBSON. Just the officers.
Mr. BALL. . . . Did they have ahold of him at the time?
Mr. GIBSON. No; I don’t believe so.
Mr. BALL. Did anyone have ahold of him at that time?
Mr. GIBSON. I don’t think so.
Mr. BALL. Did you see any officer grab hold of Oswald?
Mr. GIBSON. Yes, sir.

Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you arrive before he was actually taken into custody?
Mr. GRIFFIN. What did you see the police officers doing as you got there?
Mr. ROBERTSON. It was kind of confused. He rose in his seat. and lifted his arm with his pistol just about simultaneously with the time they landed all over him.
Mr. GRIFFIN. Did you hear him say anything?
Mr. GRIFFIN. How far were you from him?
Mr. ROBERTSON. About three or four rows.
How many feet would that be?
Mr. ROBERTSON. Possibly 10.

Summary of the other witnesses: CARROLL: didn’t see the pistol drawn until “everyone was there struggling with him [Oswald]”. At that point, the pistol was pointed at him [Carroll], so he reached into the melee, grabbed the pistol, then grabbed Oswald. He did not see who had the pistol. HUTSON: Stated McDonald was down in the seats and Oswald was crouched on the floor. He [Hutson] came to the rear of the seats, grabbed Oswald around the neck and pulled him back over the seat. At this point, Walker came and grabbed Oswald’s left hand. Next he has McDonald taking hold of Oswald’s right hand with both of his, but somehow, Oswald drags this hand to his waist. Then the pistol appears... in McDonald’s hand, and was being waved toward the back of the seat. HILL: was there during the struggle with the other officers, but did not see the pistol until it was handed to him in the squad car later. Of particular note is his claim that someone yelled out during the struggle, “Watch out, he’s got a gun!” This sits well alongside the fact that not one cop testified he saw it actually being drawn on McDonald - and that it only came into view during the “all-in” struggle. WESTBROOK: gave no indication that he had seen, or knew of a gun in Oswald's possession -- then out of the blue stated he recalled asking when he got to where Oswald was been arrested, "has somebody got his gun?"

The WC however, keeping faith in McDonald has opted for his version... with one very important difference. They have replaced McDonald’s testimony that Oswald was “drawing” the gun", with “he drew the gun”. In effect, they have taken McDonald’s version and superimposed onto it Brewer’s and Gibson’s testimony of seeing Oswald with the pistol cleanly in his hand and his hand alone... completely disregarding everyone else in the process. Applin’s testimony confounded Ball, so Ball helped out with leading questions... yet in the end, the best he can do for the commission is state that he assumed it was Oswald with the pistol because the arm attached to the hand it was in, was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. Oswald however, was arrested in a long-sleeved shirt. In any case, as shown, Applin, even though no one picked up on it, is more of a witness for the defense because he shows that that a second weapon was being brandished - a point later, and independantly, confirmed by Ewell.

The person who did have a pistol drawn was McDonald. He told an Associated Press reporter on 11/23 that he "went up the aisle and talked to two people sitting about in the middle… crouching low and holding my gun in case any trouble came. I wanted to be ready for it." McDonald, it also should be noted, was far from the first officer at the Texas Theatre; nor did he have any seniority to take charge. This begs the question: why did everyone seemingly wait for his arrival, and let him lead the way?

The facts point to an attempt to plant a pistol on Oswald as an excuse to kill him in the theater. I believe the person who attempted to plant this weapon was McDonald. Others conclude it was Hill. Regardless, that such an attempt was made is more strongly indicated by the evidence than the version of the arrest offered up by the Warren Commission who resorted to twisting McDonald's testimony, ignoring the evidence of all the other cops and falling back on civilian witnesses like Brewer. Lastly, the lack of concern and effort in tracing any of the others patrons of the theater is telling. The ones they had, seem almost hand picked for the support they lent the official version (though in Applin's case, a more thorough questioning would have revealed the threads of the attempt to murder the "suspect". Applin wasn't what they had bargained for).

greg parker

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