TWENTY QUESTIONS: WHO SHOT REAGAN?

Finally Lee Harvey Oswald is back to resting in peace, President Reagan is back to pony riding and James Hinckley is writing his love letters from the slammer.

But Jim Marrs, a Fort Worth writer and hopeful alarmist, thinks the American public is falling for a bedtime story if it believes that there was only one gunman in the March 30 presidential assassination attempt. Marrs believes someone else fired the bullet that hit Reagan.

Marrs cites Jack White, a Fort Worth graphics expert who said, “The official version of the shooting is that a bullet ricocheted off the left rear quarter panel of the car and struck Reagan…. if this shot ricocheted off the car, it would have struck from an upward trajectory. By all accounts, the president was struck from a downward trajectory.

“So we are left with shot six. But, by the time this shot is fired, Reagan is completely inside the car and out of the line of fire.”

Marrs contends a seventh shot -a mystery bullet fired by a phantom sniper-was the projectile that struck Reagan.

Such thinking smacks of bug-eyed conspiratorialists who’ve fashioned careers from assassination controversies since Lincoln’s; muckraking makes for best-selling books and moneyed lecture circuits. Marrs does enter some convincing arguments – the most credible involves an analysis of an audio transcription of the shooting.

Two experts concluded in separate studies that a seventh shot is discernible on a CBS videotape and vaguely determinable on an NBC tape. The gunman reportedly used a six-cylinder, .22 Roehm RG-14 revolver. Roehm officials confirm that their company manufactures only six-shot revolvers. Marrs also cites eyewitness statements made by NBC reporter Judy Woodruff who says she saw a man she believed was a Secret Service agent fire at least one shot from the Washington Hilton roof.

Marrs raises, in all, about 10 or 12 questions about the shooting. Toward the end of his allegations, he moves into what many still consider science fiction: the possible use of MK-Ultra and Artichoke, government acronyms for top-secret programs designed to determine if a person could be induced, against his will, to commit an assassination.

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