Frequently Asked Questions -6

DC: How were you able to utilize so many sources for the different witnesses and groups?
CC: Ah—the advent of technology. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the days of coveting a genuine set of the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission Testimony and Exhibits.
With the birth of the Internet and the ever-expanding information highway, we now have at our fingertips record groups we had to hunt down in libraries or researchers were generous enough to share. Thanks to the invaluable resources of websites like The Mary Ferrell Foundation and The Assassination Archive and Research Center, we can immediately call up and search the records of the Warren Commission, HSCA, the Clay Shaw Trial, and even the Rockefeller Commission and the Clark Panel. The FBI and the Dallas Police have made their records available online; the National Archives, while not yet making the actual documents available for online viewing, have made their records searchable; and Presidential Libraries are slowly but surely making their records available. And let’s not forget all of the original research now uploaded onto websites and blogs by private researchers, as well as all of the newsletters and assassination journals having been scanned and made available online.
But, of course, despite having so many record groups readily available doesn’t necessarily mean that each one of us has the time or resources to utilize them all. Which is why I consider a project like this a collective effort; I not only cite the work of dozens of other people, but also encourage researchers to submit suggestions and data for inclusion. I shudder to think what this Master List would look like if not for the generosity and assistance of yourself, Todd Vaughan, Don Roberdeau, Pat Speers, Stewart Galanor, and a host of others.

Of course, I am still anxious to old-school it and spend a few weekends buried in cold, hard Assassination Records and Review Board documents at the National Archives. Yes, historians are a weird lot.

DC: Have you settled on where most of the witnesses heard the shots originate?
CC: A mistake I first made when I started this project was the willingness to take indistinct eyewitness statements and make them more distinct by substituting my own interpretations. If a witness said the shots came from somewhere west of the TSBD, I said “knoll,” which is too much of an interpretive stretch—there are dozens of points west of the TSBD.

So, instead of making points of reference definite, why don’t I suggest two broad categories: most likely from the TSBD, and from somewhere else. Based on those categories, I would say impressions are pretty evenly divided.

When I say that eyewitness opinions were diverse, they truly were diverse. Some rendered opinions for only one of the shots; some gave impressions in relation only to direction (e.g., above; behind; to the west, east, etc.; high); some believed shots came from both a building and on the ground; and, of course, some simply assumed where the shots had come from based on what they observed other people doing—spectators running towards the grassy knoll and police converging on the TSBD.

I leave it up to the reader to assess and interpret the vast array of opinions, as well as how spontaneously and freely those opinions were rendered.

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