"Okay, I hear what you're saying, but how could a group of people conspire to kill Kennedy and then for no one to ever find out the truth about it? People are dumbasses, Heller, someone was bound to blab sooner or later," Jason said.
"The simplicity of it was beautiful. None of us knew the other gunmen in any way at all. No names. Nothing. We just knew that we had to be at a specific spot, at a specific time, and that we had a designated target on Kennedy's body. That was all we needed to know,” Heller said.
“I was the gunman for the CIA/black ops element of the hit, but I do know there was one mafia shooter, and a local radical, too. The two others are still a mystery to me. Oswald was, like I said, a distraction and nothing more,” Heller explained. “If he managed to hit Kennedy, then well and good, but if he didn't, then we didn't care. Christ, that Carcano rifle he was using was so poorly made, it could have backfired and killed him just as easily. That's why it all worked so well though - people would see and hear shots coming from everywhere. We had plausible deniability by the bucket load!"
"But what if Kennedy had been hit by several bullets, and they found evidence. Wouldn't that show that a conspiracy was involved because more than one gunman took Kennedy out?" He realized he was actually reasoning with himself here as much as he was with the old man. It was all too easy to start believing another person’s lie when they told it convincingly enough. Jason didn’t want to get so deep into this story that he could never climb out of it.
Heller smiled and laughed quietly to himself. It still never ceased to amaze him just how useful a lie can be if you simply told it over and over again until people recognize it as the truth. Any lie told often enough, and with enough conviction, can eventually become the truth, especially if no one tries to disagree with your lie.
"Jason...Kennedy was hit by several rounds. The first one hit him in the throat, that shot came from the front. It was a small caliber, low velocity round put together by the ZR Rifle team, so it didn't do much collateral damage. The first few rounds had to leave neat entry and exit wounds or we'd have people and police panicking far too early in the game for our liking. We didn’t want Kennedy getting blown apart in front of people until the time was right.”
The old man was eager to fill in the blanks here. “The 'Magic Bullet' theory that the Warren Commission came up with wants you to believe that the first shot came from behind, but if that was the case, Kennedy's throat would have exploded outwards as he was blown forward by the impact. That shot that came from the grassy knoll, the same shot that 21 different police officers reported hearing, and even seeing. That one was to shut Kennedy up. He wasn't going to be talking to anyone ever again after that."
"What most people could never know is that some of the shooters were armed with blank rounds, too. This meant that no one could really know who fired the fatal shot that killed Kennedy, giving every single one of us plausible deniability. We'd covered every eventuality, so the whole op was pretty much flawless." Heller explained.
He realized the old man was making a lot of sense here, but in everything he'd heard about the Kennedy assassination, Jason had never come across anything about these “ZR Rifle” guys Heller had just casually mentioned a few moments ago.
Heller seemed to sense his confusion. “"ZR Rifle” was a covert military unit, controlled by Richard Nixon and several other members of the National Security Council. The unit was put together to train anti-Castro fighters to overthrow the Communist government in Cuba, but we never got to use them because Kennedy put a halt to the whole thing. That meant those guys were ready and willing to take action against Kennedy, even without our help. An entire team of trained killers, eager for a little bit of revenge.”
"The funny thing is, or at least it's funny to me, is that even the doctors at Parklands hospital said the wound on Kennedy's throat looked like an entry wound and not an exit wound,” Heller snorted. “Lucky for us, no one paid attention to those doctors. Hysteria and ignorance did most of our work for us. If the Internet had existed back then, we'd have been exposed overnight. It didn't, so we weren't."
A few frames from the famous Zapruder ran through Jason's mind. This was the footage taken by Abraham Zapruder, which showed the moments of Kennedy's assassination, and his death. It had been hidden away for years until it was used in evidence as part of the Garrison investigation into Kennedy's death. He remembered the scene where Kennedy's head exploded. Everyone pays attention to that scene more than anything else. Morbid curiosity, he figured, the same as passing a car wrecked on the road and not being able to look away from the carnage. It’s the morbid monster inside each of us. The worst angel of our nature.
"Everyone pays attention to that split second of footage, frame 313 I believe, but no one ever seems to pay attention to the handful of frames before this that show Kennedy grabbing at his throat first. It's right there for people to see. They just choose not to see it because people don't always want the truth, no matter how much they bleat on about it," Heller said.
The penny dropped with Jason right then. Just that single piece of information, that single tiny wound to Kennedy's throat, proved that there had to be multiple gunmen. Surely other people had noticed this, too. Why hadn’t anyone done anything about it? Why hadn’t anyone spoken up?
"I remember something about people hearing three or five shots, but no one could ever say for sure if they'd heard three shots or nine shots. So let's say that I believe your story, how many shots were fired?" Jason asked.
"Jason, did you know that several members of the crowd in Dealey Plaza were injured by stray bullets and ricochets that day? You see, the image that people have of assassins and snipers is that they can kill anyone, from any angle, and from any distance with a single, well-aimed shot. That's nonsense, I'm afraid. Even the most highly-trained marksmen will miss now and again. It could be bad timing, a change in wind direction, or a split second of conscience, but a shot can always go wide. We took no chances though and each gunman was given the order to fire three rounds at their target, but no more. We knew that with at least 10 rounds going his way, we'd get two or three kill shots."
Jason found himself leaning forward, gesturing in disbelief at the old man. "But that would have meant his body was riddled with bullets like he'd been put in front of a firing squad. A blind man doing that autopsy would have seen that.”
"Tell me what you know about the findings of the Kennedy autopsy, Jason," Heller said. "Everything you know about it.”
He sat there staring blankly at Heller and tried to remember the details of what happened on November 22nd, 1963. He remembered seeing documentaries on the assassination. Kennedy had been shot. Tearful announcements from newscasters across the United States, and Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in as President. He didn't remember any documentary or movie talking about an autopsy. The old man was looking straight into Jason's eyes, clearly seeing that he wasn't able to remember anything about an autopsy either.
"Exactly, Jason…what autopsy? We knew before Kennedy was killed that we could have a "private" autopsy on the body because LBJ was already involved with what we were doing, so he'd want it all swept under a giant rug as soon as possible. We knew we could keep Jackie Kennedy quiet because she was torn apart with grief, and we also made sure she was pretty heavily medicated. The autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital took place behind closed doors, and was done and dusted within a few hours of the shooting. Photos were taken, but we only published the ones that suited the single bullet theory."