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Oklahoma Justice: The Oklahoma City Police, A Century of Gunfighters, Gangsters and Terrorists PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 31 August 2008 19:25
By Ron Owens, Turner Publishing, 1995, in print, $29.95

Review: While it would be a stretch to regard Ron Owens' book as a "serious" history book (for example, while it does contain a bibliography, it contains no footnotes citing to references, and, for one interested in research, no index). That said, and while it would be tough to "test" the author's factual renderings from time to time as a researcher might want to do, it is obvious that the writer has spent countless hours in researching the history of the OCPD from territorial days through the Murrah Bombing, and/or/but, perhaps best of all, he doesn't "sound like" an academician - the phrasing is straightforward, very readable and pleasurable as he takes the reader through 100+ years of OCPD history, often with a tongue-in-cheek flair.

To illustrate what I mean, at page 12 a description of a gent named "Rip Rowser Bill" appears. He is described as "an armed drunk" who announced his summer 1889 presence in Oklahoma City with the prophesy, "My name is Rip Rowser Bill and I've come to Oklahoma City to start a graveyard." For many days, he swaggered around menacingly, but, eventually, a local group called the "Knights of the Cottonwood" had enough after Mr. Bill shot a few holes in a tent some of its members were occupying. According to Owens, they "decided that the man's manners better suited him for residence in Texas," they tied him up and planned to put him on the midnight trip to Texas. As it happened, and accompanied by "some local officers", they learned that the midnight train was going to be 3 hours late. The "local officers" left, "deciding that the intervening time could be better spent elsewhere", and Rip Rowser was left at the depot to be attended to by the Cottonwood group, sitting under a cottonwood tree with Mr. Bill. "When the officers returned at the appointed time to load him on the train, they found Bill swinging from a limb of the cottonwood. Locating and questing the committee members, they contended they had left Bill secured to a lim of the cottonwood tree and had limited his wanderings by means of a rope around his neck. A rapidly assembled jury agreed with the men's contention that the rope had shrunk during the night's dampness, raising Bill off the ground and causing his death. The next morning, Bill was buried on the banks of the North Canadian River just south of the Military Reserve section now known as the Bricktown area. Thus he fulfilled his prophesy about 'starting a graveyard in Oklahoma City'. But not before he was fined $3.30, the amount found in his pockets, for carrying a concealed weapon."

Sources? None cited. A great read? For sure. All 336 pages may not be as entertaining, particularly when the closer-to-home Murrah Bombing is discussed, but it's a fascinating and engaging story through and through about the OCPD, and I highly recommend it.


- Doug Loudenback, www.dougdawg.blogspot.com


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Last Updated on Sunday, 22 November 2009 04:34