Afterword


Officer H.B. McLain testifies before the House Select Committee
Officer H.B. McLain
before the House Select Committee.

Supporters of the "Acoustic Evidence" (Gary Mack, for example) have claimed that McLain had speeded up, and was ahead of his assigned place in the motorcade. This would imply that the officer in the Dorman film was not McLain, but an officer behind him, and thus McLain might have been in position to record the "impluses" that the HSCA interpreted as shots.

Unfortunately for this theory, I interviewed McLain, and asked him about his actions on Houston Street.

McLain insisted in the interview that he slowed down and then stopped on Houston Street.

I had him mark a drawing of Dealey Plaza to indicate the point at which he stopped:

Rather than running ahead of his assigned position in the motorcade, McLain was, if anything, running behind. Therefore there is no way he could have been in position for the House Select Committee's acoustic analysis to be valid.

Larry Snead interviewed McLain for his 1998 book No More Silence. What he had to say is even more devastating for the "acoustic evidence:"

There were a lot of people along the motorcade route, especially in the downtown area from Akard to Houston Streets. When I made the turn onto Houston on the left side, we had caught up with the cars in front of us, and I had stopped right by the side of the entrance to the old jail, which is about midway between Main and Elm Streets on Houston. I heard one very clear shot. Evidently I must have felt like it was coming from straight ahead because at that instant I was looking down, and when I heard the shot, threw my head up and it appeared that about 5,000 pigeons flew out from behind that building (the Texas School Book Depository) sraight ahead. In fact, I thought to myself, "Somebody's shooting at the pigeons!" But I could see the limousine off to my left on Elm and saw Mrs. Kennedy crawling on the back of the car. I had a good idea that somebody had been shot at but didn't know which one.

About that time the chief came on the radio and said, "Get to Parkland Hospital!" and the race was on.

This is fully consistent with what McLain told me. But even more damning is that McLain heard Curry say "Get to Parkland Hospital!" He simply could not have heard this had his microphone been stuck in the "on" position.

As McClain explained:

I talked to them [HSCA investigators] several times to pinpoint where I was sitting, where the mike was on my motorcycle, and which way I was headed. I was surprised that I was being accused of being the one with the stuck mike because if mine was stuck, I couldn't have heard any of the other stuff that was going on.

To operate the radio, you had to press the button to talk on it. As a result, you couldn't hear anything and most of the others couldn't hear anything either other than what you were saying. Once you let off the button the channel was open again. But you wouldn't necessarily know if your mike was stuck open until you began to notice that you were hearing nothing on the radio. You could still transmit but you couldn't hear anything.

McLain went to Washington to testify before the House Select Committee. Committee staffers refused to let him listen to the tapes that supposedly had captured the sounds transmitted through his open mike, and asked him some very carefully worded hypothetical questions designed to get him to say it could have been his mike open.

When McLain returned to Dallas, Dallas Police Chief Dispatcher J.C. Bowles let McClain listen to the tapes. McLain's response was immediate:

When I came out [from listening to the tapes], he asked "Is that your mike that's stuck?" and I replied that is wasn't. "Why?"

I told him, "It's a three-wheeler that's stuck."

You can tell very clearly the difference between the sound of a solo motorcycle that we rode and a three-wheel motorcycle; it's the daylight and dark. The solo engine has kind of a thump to it: CHUKE.. CHUKE.. CHUKE.., while the three-wheeler has more of a thrashing sound.. AAANG.. AAANG.. AAANG! You could hear this all on the tapes, but the people in Washington didn't listen. They were trying to tell us what it was.

Had the HSCA simply bothered to listen to McClain, they would have known that their "acoustic evidence" was bogus. But they apparently were, by the time they talked to him, so committed to it that they ignored or distorted what he had to say.


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