In "The Killers of the Flower Moon"

The offenders were upper class White males that took extreme steps to kill the Osage Indians from gaining power. Similarly, Elizabeth Holmes in “Bad Blood” endangered human life to achieve her goals of making more money. Thus, these criminals used their available resources to get ahead and harm the lives of many people. One criminological theory that might provide plausible insight into these crimes is the neutralization theory. The neutralization theory is culturally rooted, as those that commit illegal acts neutralization certain values within themselves to commit the criminal acts.

In “Killers of the Flower Moon”, the offenders used all five techniques of neutralization, which are denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemning the condemners, and appeal to higher loyalties.

The White males had guardianship over the Osage Indians due to the federal government concern over the immense wealth acquired by the Indians. Since the Osage were deemed incompetent individuals unable to manage their wealth, the White males were appealing to loyalties (the federal government) that what they were doing was justified under law.

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In addition, the Osage were forced off their land to prevent them from becoming richer than the superior White race. The Osages’ voices were silenced, as government law justified that no one was hurt by controlling their money. This was a form of institutionalized racism where the federal government became a paternalistic leader to control a class of individuals referred to as a racial weakness.

There is no doubt that the Osage Indians were denied their humanity as the government exacerbated their nonexistent access to justice.

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In “Bad Blood”, the employees appealed to higher loyalties. Even though they knew something was wrong, they did not resign from their positions in fear that they would get fired as well. In addition, Holmes made her employees sign a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent them from disclosing any information to the public in regards to company product. Holmes also denied injury and victim through active deception embellishing levels of accuracy that could be run on the machine. Since she was considered an expert, the victims believed that the machine would assist in doing what it supposedly did. However, there were deviant results and undisclosed information she produced to the public that actively deceived those that were investing and using the new machine.

Another theory that would explain the crimes committed against the victims in both novels is strain theory. Strain theory posits that when there are certain stressors, like lack of education and wealth, which drive people to commit crimes. One source of strain that caused Holmes to commit a white collar crime was the cultural demand to get success through any means necessary. Holmes was a college dropout from Stanford, but she came from a family of professionals. To get ahead as a young ambitious woman, Holmes’ focus and goal was to make money. Although she had started with good intentions in proposing and creating a machine that would test small amounts of blood, she was driven by the cultural demand of having money. Thus, the creation of Theranos was an innovative crime where she and investors saw a huge financial opportunity, by creating a vision that people wanted to believe in.

Similarly, the upper class Whites in “The Killers of the Flower Moon” were money driven as they feared that the Osage Indians were going to be the superior race. Because they were infiltrated with the mindset of wealth, they engaged in illegitimate means by taking control of the Osages money and murdering them. The strain of losing the patriarchal structure motivated the Whites to retain their pride and prevent power to be handed down to the Indians. ​In order to improve transparency and accountability for those who practice in local law enforcement, institutional changes should be implemented. Police brutality has become a major subject through news outlets to portray the injustices amongst minorities by police officers.

With improved technology, one institutional change would be regulating the use of body cameras on the excessive use of force. Body cameras would be beneficial in providing irrefutable evidence that either proves or disproves police brutality allegations in the courtroom. While there are controversial arguments on whether cameras reduce police and anti-police violence, body cameras would be effective in encouraging good behavior amongst police officers and the public. Police officers go through extensive training through the police academy in regards to how much force can be used when needed based on their discretion. However, discretion is very subjective and may not align with policy protocols. Because people act different when they are filmed, body cameras can protect both police officers and the public.

Rather than relying on police reports and witness accounts from what was recalled (which can be forgotten and additional details added), it would prevent he said-she said arguments and provide immediate footage of what exactly happened. It can independently verify what happened in the situation, and protect officers from false accusations and protect the accused if they were suffering at the hands of police brutality. Thus, it will improve courtroom procedures in regards to those accused. In addition, body cameras would enhance trainings in police academies as it can be used to train new and existing officers how to perform in difficult situations. For example, correctional officer trainings would often play video footage of inmates that were difficult to handle or commit suicide. Thus, it provides an opportunity for the officers to learn what to do and how to improve the way they communicate with people.

Another institutional change that should be implemented through a systemic reform is of the police organization itself in enhancing the screening of police recruits, training them in deescalating situations and non-lethal tactics, and holding all staff accountable. When the right people are hired as police and police academy provide appropriate and extensive training, they should be well versed in cultural competency. By understanding the population they serve and the disadvantages they have, policing practices would learn more towards community policing. Thus, issues of police brutality would not be targeted towards disproportionately affected minorities. The organizational structure of policing is the most important determining factor of police behavior.

If there is no accountability held on command staff, they would not hold accountability for their officers in return. While it is not necessary to disclose names of police officers involved in civilian deaths in public record, it is important to impose sanctions on those misuse their discretion in determining force (and excessive force). More accountability needs to be held against officers by being able to justify their reasonable level of force and correct errors in their use of force when needed. Local law enforcement agencies often cite privacy and safety concerns about identifying officers involved in fatal encounters with the public. For example, the use of body cameras has been argued to create a biased jury pool making it difficult to win convictions.

Police departments are also not compelled to release names of officers involved; thus, their personnel records are treated as private and allows them to avoid sanctions for their offending behavior. When names are identified to the public, it causes more disarray if the officer continues to exhibit the same behavior. Thus, their objections should be addressed by implementing consent decrees to hold the department and officers accountable and provide transparency. When there is a party outside of the department agency overseeing that transparency guidelines and criteria are met, they are less susceptible to engage in misconduct. They are held accountable internally without disclosure to the public about consistent behavior that negative affects public perception about law enforcement.

​Institutional oversight of local policing practices is often a controversy issue between police departments and the federal government. There is often a distrust of police officers due to their policing practices that are in question. For example, the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers has sparked controversy about race, policing, and civil rights. Thus, there should be institutional oversight of local policing practices due to the nature of unjustified police brutality coming to light. ​The Department of Justice is has the ability to order consent decrees to be placed among police departments to improve police behavior and ensure more police visibility in questionable police practices like stop and frisk. In general, institutional oversight ensures compliance with effective policing practices.

It can hold the police department accountable for an officer’s actions, as everything must be documented, and improve internal investigations of allegations. Here, audits of police records would improve transparency in serving the public. In the FRONTLINE movie viewed in class, the Newark Police Department was unable to provide Cobb with any records of the ‘unlawful’ stop and frisk. However, it was well documented through raw footage and the police sergeant had commented that it was not a police practice endorsed after viewing the footage. Thus, it diminishes the ability for complainants to voice their concerns about unlawful policing practices and understanding of law enforcement procedures. In addition, the lack of proper documentation is unable to hold misconduct accountability.

​By establishing institutional oversight of policing practices, officials are provided the opportunity to demonstrate the desire for public safety and police accountability. It can be agreed upon that the mission of almost all police departments is to ensure public safety. However, it can become misleading as ineffective policing causes more mistrust during aggressive field interrogations. Because institutional oversight can improve the quality of the department’s alleged misconduct, it reassures that discipline of the officers are imposed appropriately. Institutional oversight should also internal as an extra caution step to ensure that police misconduct is addressed properly. Those that are in command positions are held accountable in reducing misconduct and excessive use of force as important parts of their jobs. The lack of transparency in addressing police misconduct influences media to increase concerns about high profile incidents in regards to civil rights’ violations.

Institutional oversight would decrease corruptions as more accountability is held, both by the federal government and the public. The public would feel more confident in seeking police for help; thus, it would build community relations rather than impede it. Communities would feel more comfortable in filing complaints, and feel that their complaints are validated by a governing agency sworn to serve and protect them. Police integrity would be promoted within and outside of the department, and prevent conduct that deprives individuals of their rights at the hands of police brutality. Overall, institutional oversight of policing practices would effectively address the antagonist police culture and the weakened positive public perceptions of law enforcement that we have today.

Cite this page

In "The Killers of the Flower Moon". (2022, May 22). Retrieved from

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