Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dale Myers and Pat Speer Duke It Out

Dale Myers (left) and Pat Speer (right)

I’ve been following Pat Speer’s web site for a while now. I admire his work. His web site is laid out like an online book (which it is) with chapters loaded down with illustrations and photographs. As an independent researcher he is thoughtful and well reasoned in dealing with the confusing mess that makes up the Kennedy assassination. He delves into that happened rather than conspiracy theories.

The fur started to fly when Speers did a chapter on his site entitled, Chapter 12c: Animania. Here, he takes on Dale Myers, an Emmy award winning animator who is most famous in recent years for his recreations of the Warren Commission’s SBT—single bullet theory for network TV documentaries. Myers has been at this for years starting out with test dummies and moving on to computer simulations. You can see Myers work in Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet.

Frankly, I would not want to be in Myers’ position here. There are numerous conflicts in the evidence from over 40 years ago and that carries over into the animation as well. For example in one animation, which is supposed to be correct in every detail, we are shown a red line depicting the bullet passing through Kennedy’s back and entering Connolly’s back. However, the line exits Kennedy’s chest, not the neck, which is an error Myers never addresses.

Pat Speer’s analysis of Myers’ animations have led him to conclude that his work fraudulent. Strong words. Myers has issued several rebuttals on an Internet forum and on his web site and the fur has flown. The resulting tit-for-tat is far too involved to go into here; see both men’s sites (see links below) for the blow-by-blow details.

Speer does bring up some valid issues with Myers’ work. The placement of the jump seat relative to the door, the relative seat heights, the exact positions of both men to allow the passage of the single bullet, and how much foliage was present on Elm Street that Oswald had to shoot through. He does a decent job of finding flaws with animations and raises some valid issues.

Speer however, does falter on one issue and that is Myers’ placement of Kennedy and Connally in the limousine. Myers has Connally sitting low enough to be the floor. Myers’ response is to blame it on the distortion of the digitally generated camera wide-angle view. I am a photographer and have used wide-angle lenses for years. This simply cannot happen. Oddly, the side view from the animation showing Connally seated well below Kennedy. Myers’ explanation is odd, as he could have made a better response here. There are numerous photographs shot that day showing Connolly seated lower. Other photographs at apparently different angles show them seated on the same level (see examples below). In fact there is one I found of the limo door opened showing the jump seat positioned much lower than the rear seat. All Myers has to do is show the photos. Obviously, the President should sit taller, right?

Conversely, Speer had to know these photographs exist as well. But for the sake argument, or whatever, chooses not to address them.

In Dale Myers defense, I do not think he is out to deceive the public. Pat Speer does and calls him a liar. I think Myers’ intentions are sincere though he seems content with what data is at hand, which is a flawed mess to begin with. For example, what we know as the SBT comes to us from a lawyer—not ballistics experts or engineers. Myers seem unconcerned with that and ends up doing what the original investigation did, which in some areas is to jury-rig the evidence to fit the theory. What Myers does is no different than Gerald Ford moving the President’s back wound to the back of the neck to be more “precise” in the final report. That way, everything works out right for the narrative. (And ironically, Myers does position the back wound in his animations inches above where the autopsy photos and measurements show the injury.)

I think a lot serious researchers such as Myers goes for the lone gunman theory because the bad reputation that conspiracy researchers have been pegged with. Even with Pat Speers who is reasonable and not a conspiratorialist, with his simple questioning of the official scenario, finds himself placed in that camp.

At last count Myers has retired from the field of debate with Speer. Good for him. He needs to heal up from the bruises. Speer lets Myers have the final word:

“Forget about convincing Mr. Speer that one cannot draw a rational conclusion from an irrational premise; I’ve tried. Suffice it to say that Mr. Speer prefers to live in a land of illusion where physical realities don’t hold a candle to obsessive conspiracy theories.”

Myers only rejoinder is that he has tried to talk sense to a mule. As if that is smart to begin with. What Speer has done is to carefully dissect Myers’ recreation of the STB in painful detail. Speer paints Myers in a corner due largely due to his own numerous errors in his data. Of course in time, the paint will dry and Myers will escape to find a friendly venue for his theories and recreations. A stage where he will not be asked hard questions and be allowed to promote his version of what happened on that tragic day in November.

Addendum 1.20.14
Review of the updated version of Myers' book With Malice. 

Sources: Video, Beyond Conspiracy and Beyond the Magic Bullet. Web sites: Speer, and Myers,