Killers of the Flower Moon
David Grann
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 21

In the cells are many familiar faces to White including Hale, Ramsey, the Al Spencer gang, among others. The prisons are overcrowded, and it sometimes gets too hot; therefore the name “the Hot House”. Initially, White’s wife does not support raising the children from the prison due to the environment. He tries to change different things and encourage the inmates. But on September 5th, 1930, he hangs an inmate named Panzram, and it is the first time he assists in taking a human life. Hale, on the other hand, keeps on claiming that he never took part in planning any murders, prompting White to consider a neurological check. However, Hale has no psychosis, but over the years, he keeps on trying to bribe his way out of the prison with the belief that he will one day get out. Mollie goes back to church; she meets and falls in love with Jacob Cobb and marries him in 1928. She also gains financial freedom after a court ruling in 1931.

Two members of the Al Spencer gang try to escape, and they take White hostage. While they attempt to take another two hostages at a nearby town, White tries to stop them but they shoot him in the shoulder and leaves him to die; fortunately, he gets help and recovers from his injuries. After getting out of the hospital, White transfers to La Tuna prison in El Paso, Texas. The Bureau continues to thrive under Hoover, and it is later renamed to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), where agents are permitted to carry firearms. White later writes a book about the Osage cases and his team, but publishers reject the text because it was not captivating enough. He later dies in 1971, and several years later the FBI releases several files on the Osage investigation, unveiling darker and more terrifying conspiracies that White had missed.


White believes that everyone can change, and this explains his rehabilitation attempts while working in the Hot House. Although he manages to influence some individuals, there are those — such as Panzram — who simply will not change considering his brutal actions of murdering a lawman. White has always wanted to be like his father, and fate rewards him indifferently as he was made to hang a man, just like his dad. However, he ensures that his boys are not at the scene during the hanging, a sign that he understands the horror tied to witnessing such an event.

The issue of Mollie re-marrying and gaining financial freedom paints the picture of the changes that occur in life when no one is dragging her down or attempting to kill her. It also shows that she has moved on, and is happy despite the horrifying events she underwent.

Being taken hostage makes White realize his vulnerability at the prison, and therefore resulting in his decision to relocate to a better prison where he can lead comfortably. His desire to write a book shows that he cherishes the achievements of the Osage case, and the growth of the now-FBI portrays Hoover’s tactical and idealistic methods of leadership.

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