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
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
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
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