Why did some witnesses hear only two shots?
Why did the first shot sound different?
Oswald’s zeroing shot was fired 9.5 seconds before his second shot. This first shot had no apparent visible effect and the motorcade continued. But the fatal head shot had unexpected shocking, mind-numbing effects on everyone who witnessed it, particularly those closest to the horrific carnage such as Mary Moorman, Bill Newman and Jackie Kennedy. They did not remember that early first shot due to the long time interval and its relative insignificance. Those witnesses further away had to rely more on auditory input and were more likely to report all three shots. (Although close, the Connallys heard but didn’t see the killing shot and both remembered all three.)
The first shot sounded different because it was deliberately fired downrange and directly struck the concrete south curb of Main Street, Hoover’s un-sworn letter to Rankin notwithstanding. The sharp crack of this distant zeroing shot sounded different from the next two shots, which hit closer soft targets.
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