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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rough Draft - Syllabus: Terrorism and Homeland Security

CRJXXX Terrorism and Homeland Security
Summer 2016   
XXX University
I     Course Introduction:
    To successfully complete this course, you will explain through discussions, essays, presentations, and  via simulation exercise, the theories of domestic and international terrorism, and the response to terror by the  criminal justice system through the concept of Homeland Security.   

    You will be exposed to the principles of critical thinking, and how to apply such thinking to make your analyses and explanations about the subjects at hand. 
    This syllabus should be considered as a contract between you as the student and I as the instructor in what is expected on both our parts to help you to succeed.  The syllabus also includes all weekly assignments, due dates, and grading standards. This is why the syllabus is so long.  There is a lot of information you need to have available.     
II    Instructor and Text Info:
    Please call me Steve.  My BA is in Government (UT's name for Political Science) from the University of Texas, and my MS in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security is from right here at South.  My primary research interest is in domestic security, and I have focused on the FBI's COINTELPRO operations in my study.  Other areas of research interest include the the politics of security, the balance of liberty verus security, and policing methods.

    The BEST METHOD of contacting me is at:
    My xxxxxx email     address is at:
    You may contact me through telephone, but it is not the best way to reach me.
        Phone: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Office Hours:
        I will be at TBD for an hour a week for help with the course   
    We will use the following textbooks:

        (Books can be found at the University bookstore; VERIFY that you are purchasing the correct edition of the book)
        Martin, G. (2003). Understanding terrorism: Challenges, perspectives, and issues. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
        Sauter, M., & Carafano, J. J. (2005). Homeland security: A complete guide to understanding, preventing, and surviving terrorism. New York: McGraw-Hill.   

III    Primary Concepts:
    These are the issues you should be able to explain at the end of the course:       
        What is terrorism?
            Define Terror   
            History of Terrorism   
            What types of terrorism are there?   
            What are the theories that explain terrorism?

        How does the criminal justice system respond to homeland security?       
            What are the responsibilities of the criminal justice system?   
            What is homeland security?   
            How is homeland security organized?   
            What does the "liberty versus security" balance mean?   
            What is the first line of defense in Homeland Security?       

IV    Grading:           
        The point of grading is to ensure that you are learning what you have set out to learn    .  I will include my grading rubrics (objective standards) as part of the syllabus.
        If you do the reading assigned, show up in class, and turn in the essays on time, you should expect a C at a minimum.  READING TAKES EFFORT, and it is not guaranteed that a once over of the material means that you will understand the material.    There are approximately 70 pages a week to read and understand.
        If you do the above, and participate meaningfully in class participation, you should expect a minimum of a B.  The grading rubric should demonstrate what "meaningful" contributions to the discussion require.
        If you do the above, and demonstrate that you are putting in additional study and thought, you will earn an A in this course.
        If you have a disagreement with a grade i have given you, feel free to contact me by email or by appointment with a detailed reason as to why the grade should be higher.  Remember that I am looking for understanding of material and effort when I assign grades.


        I grade on a 1000-point basis, and I do not grade on the curve.  Your grades are comprised of the following:
        Discussion (350 points):
                Discussion activities demonstrate that you are not only reading  the material, but that you are thinking about the material and applying  the things you already know to that thinking.  Class attendance is part  of your discussion grade.
        Essays (350 points):    
                Essays are your test of reading comprehension.  I will emphasize the comprehension portion of these assignments in grading, but I will  also be available to help you with your writing skills.  Essays will be short (1-2 pages with a MAXIMUM of 4 pages, plus a references page)             and should be written in APA style.  In the case that your reading has  sparked your interest in a different topic relating to the reading, check  with me about writing your essay on that topic.
        Presentations (150 points):    
                Presentations will be short ( 3 to 5 minutes) and are intended for you to apply the material to an area of your own interest.  Presentations also allow you to teach your fellow students, sharpening  your own understanding of the subject.  Accommodations will be made for shy                  students, but I am available to help you work on your public speaking  skills ( a very long time ago, in a classroom far away, I was captain of  the debate team...which is no great mark of my own speech skills du   to the small size of that team!).  You may create PowerPoint  presentations, but you will need to print these out and pass them out.   We will be avoiding dark rooms with bright screens as a method of  transmitting information.
        Simulation (150 points):        
            You will be assigned a role relating to the homeland security system at  random at the beginning of the course.  You will be expected to understand the role well enough to roleplay appropriate responses to    the simulated exercise we will perform to complete the course.   
        Extra-credit is available per xxxxxxxxxxx University standards       
V    Classroom Structure (180 minutes)       
        Lecture   OR Presentations 20 minutes   
        Discussion    20 miutes   
        Lecture 20 minutes
        Discussion 20 minutes
        Simulation Prep OR Critical thinking exercise OR Guest Speaker  (20 minutes)
        Discussion (20  minutes)
        Review Previous Week (20 minutes) Why do this now? Integration of material
        Discussion (20 minutes)
VI    Calendar           
        Due Date    Reading Completed or Assignment   
        June 28        Lecture/Discussion- Syllabus Overview
        June 28        Lecture/Discussion - Critical Thinking and Identifying Bias
        June 28        Discussion - This Course and Your Goals/Your simulation    Assignment
        July 5        Week 1 Reading, Martin, Chapter 1 - Terrorism: First  Impressions AND Martin, Chapter 2 -The Nature of the Beast:    Defiing Terrorism
        July 5        Lecture/Discussion - The Overreaction Cycle in American Security
        July 5        Lecture/Discussion - Week 1 Readings
        July 5        Critical Thinking Exercise - Why is Terrorism so hard to define?
        July 5        Week 1 Essay DUE - "How does terrorism as a tactic relate to  Just War theory?"
        July 12        Week 2 Reading, Martin, Chapter 3, Beginnings: The Causes of                     Terrorism AND HANDOUT Davis, "Various Theories and their  Limitations"
        July 12        Presentation - "What is 'On the bounds' of terrorism: Your opinion" (Example:  Is organizing a riot terrorism?)
        July 12        Lecture/Discussion - Week 2 Readings
        July 12        Critical Thinking Exercise - Are there other causes of terrorism than Martin provides?
        July 12        Review/Discussion - Week 1 Essay
        July 12        Week 2 Essay DUE - "Which theory of terrorism do you think is  the best explanation for Terrorism?"
        July 19        Week 3 Reading, Martin, Chapter 4- Terror From Above:  Terrorism by the State AND Martin, Chapter 5- Terror From Below: Terrorism by Dissidents HANDOUT Levitt. Hizbollah  financing
        July 19        Lecture/Discussion - A history of political violence from below and above in America
        July 19        Lecture/Discussion - Week 3 Reading
        July 19        Critical Thinking Exercise - What are the obligations of government in balancing liberty versus security in a society  affected by terrorism?
        July 19        Review/Discussion - Week 2 Essay
        July 19        Week 3 Essay DUE- "Can the Activities of Hezbollah in the United States be defined as terror from above, terror from     below, or both?"
        July 26        Week 4 Reading, Martin, Chapter 6- Violence in the Name of  the Faith: Religious Terrorism
        July 26        Presentation - Your Simulation Role, Teach the Class
        July 26        Lecture/Discussion - Week 4 Reading
        July 26        Critical Thinking Exercise - What is Islamphobia?
        July 26        Review/Discussion - Week 3 Essay
        July 26        Week 4 Essay DUE- "Should the example of Ku Klux Klan terrorism be discussed  in a religious or political context?"
        August 2    Week 5 Reading, Martin, Chapter 7-Violent Ideologies: Terrorism from the Left and Right
        August 2    Lecture/Discussion - Overview of Martin
        August 2    Critical Thinking Exercise - The limits of defining Left and Right
        August 2    Critical Thinking Exercise - Where does narcoterror fit in our  learning so far?
        August 2    Review/Discussion - Week 4 Essay
        August 2    Week 5 Essay DUE - "What does far left ideology have in     common with far right facsim?"
        August 9    Week 6 Reading, Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 1- Homeland  Security: The American Tradition AND Sauter & Carafano,      Chapter 2:The Road to 9/11: Contemporary Terrorism and the                     Meaning of the September 11 attacks AND Sauter & Carafano,  Chapter 3 - The Birth of Contemporary Homeland Security: The  National Response to 9/11 and it's Aftermath (80 pages)
        August 9    Presentation - How did 9/11 Affect Your view of the World
        August 9    Lecture/Discussion - Week 6 Reading
        August 9    Critical Thinking Exercise - Pros and Cons of the PATRIOT Act
        August 9    Review/Discussion - Week 5 Essay
        August 9    Week 6 Essay DUE - "How were the 9/11 attacks different from     previous terror attacks in America?"
        August 16    Week 7 Reading Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 4 Homeland   Security Roles, responsibilities and Jurisdictions: International,   Federal, State and Local Government and Private Sector Responsibilities AND Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 5- Thinking    Homeland Security: Theory, Strategy, Decision-Making,    Planning and Analysis Tools AND HANDOUT Davis, "Terrorism         and Risk Management"
        August 16    Lecture/Discussion - Week 7 Reading
        August 16    Critical Thinking Exercise - Bureaucratic Politics
        August 16    Simulation Workshop - Building your interagency teams
        August 16    Review/Discussion - Week 6 Essay
        August 16    Week 7 Essay DUE - "Do you think that the creation of the   Department of Homeland Security made homeland security    operations more, or less effecient?"
        August 23    Week 8 Reading Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 6- Intelligence for                     Homeland Security: Process, Methods, Structure, and  Resources AND  Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 7- Domestic    Counterterrorism: Investigating, Preventing, and responding to  Terrorist Plots  AND HANDOUT Powers, A Bomb with a long   fuse
        August 23    Lecture/Discussion - Week 8 Reading
        August 23    Critical Thinking Exercise - Was COINTELPRO legal or moral?   Did that status change over time?
        August 23    Critical Thinking Exercise - What is OSINT?  Is it effective?
        August 23    Review/Discussion - Week 7 Essay
        August 23    Week 8 Essay DUE - "How is the intelligence cycle used in   planning counterterrorist operations?"
        August 30    Week 9 Reading Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 8- Homeland   Defense and Support to Civil Authorities: Military Support for   Homeland Security AND  Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 9-       Incident Management and Emergency Management:Responding to Human-made and Natural Disasters
        August 30    Presentation - Your Simulation Role, Agency Response Plan to   Terror Events
        August 30    Lecture/Discussion - Week 9 Reading
        August 30    Lecture/Discussion - Overview of Reading, Sauter & Carafano; brief discussion of WMD
        August 30    Critical Thinking Exercise - Katrina and the Branch Davidians, what went wrong?
        August 30    Week 9 Essay DUE - "What part does FEMA play in responding   to terror acts?  Does FEMA respond to all terror attacks?"
        August 30    Your Week 8 Essay will be returned to you, but discussion is   postponed for the last class session
        September 6    Week 10 Reading Reading Sauter & Carafano, Chapter 16    Critical Infrasturture Protection and Key Assets: Protecting  America's Most Important Targets AND Reading Sauter &      Carafano, Chapter 20- Domain Security: Border, Maritime, and Aviation Security AND Chapter 21- Cybersecurity: Protecting  Cyberspace and Digital Technology
        September 6     Simulation Exercise...prepare to display your knowledge! (60                     minutes total)
        September 6     Simulation Discussion
        September 6     Review/Discussion - Papers Week 8 & 9
        September 6    Course Evaluation and Discussion
        September 6    Week 10 Essay DUE - "How does an insecure border affect                     homeland security?"

VIII    Mutual Expectations           
        What you should expect from me   
            I will help you make your target grade for the course, A, B, or C.  I want  you to get an A.
            Courtesy and encouragement to succeed   
            Return assignments within 1 week   
            I have a bias, you should not be expected to learn my bias, but rather  the course material.   
            My voice can be weak; feel free to ask me to be louder during lecture   
            Out of class session 1/week   
            Provide a safe place to stretch your brain   
                "Safe doesn’t mean that there won’t be controversy, and it    doesn’t    mean that people will not disagree with each other,    but it ought to mean that people will feel they can venture                     ideas, express minority views, and disagree with others."              
        Lieberg, p.88
            Areas of potential offense   
                Immigration Issues
                Islam and Terrorism     
        What I expect from you   
            To read the material, to be in class on time, to undertstand XXXX  policies, courtesy, honesty   
            Cell Phones should be on vibrate and out of your hands during class
            Class ends 5 minutes early - don’t pack up until then   
            Fraud, Cheating, Plagiarism - What are they, and don't do them   
            There are no stupid questions, only impatient professors.  Your   knowledge is more important than my need to go get pizza, so ASK  questions.
            Speak up if confused   
            Help other students   
            Don't stress out, odds are you won't remember the class in a year.  

        Stuff Happens
             I will give you 1 card at the beginning of the term.  This is a "get out of     jail" card you can use for a tardiness, late assignment, or missed class (but NOT  for any assignments due that class).  Write "Stuff Happens" on the card, put  your name on it, and give it to me.  You are forgiven for whatever the issue   was with no explanation necessary.
            Since Stuff can Happen more than once, I will listen to excuses and  allow make-up work for additional instances...up to a point.  The policies of xxxx University are  the first  line I will not cross. The point at which I can not  assist other students due to a backload of late assignments is the next line I  can't cross.       

VIII   xxxxxx Student Policy           
IX    Acknowledgement   
    [Please sign and detach this portion of the syllabus, I will collect these after reviewing the syllabus]       

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Race and Crime

The discussion about race and crime is hard to pin because there are so many variables to consider.  Racism, self-control, socialization processes, poverty, suburbanization, biological factors, and the “War on Drugs” are just some of the factors that play a part in the high crime rate amongst criminals that are black.

I really dislike the term “black crime”.  It is pejorative to all the upper-class, middle-class, and poor people working 2 or 3 jobs a day that share nothing more with some criminals than skin color.

Racism as a factor is hard to quantify.  I doubt even Klansmen respond to surveys admitting they are racist.  How would you measure somebody who had racist feelings but who held integrity as a higher value and didn't commit racist acts?  I'll digress and refer to the literary howling over the “change” in the character of Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird to Go Set A Watchman.  As a generalization, though, my opinion is that white people underestimate the factor of racism while black people overestimate it. Then again, how prevalent does white racism have to be to have an effect on black success?  If only 20% of whites are indeed racist, that is still one racist per black person.  And yet, how often are things accounted as racism that may have other causes?  Wilson (1992) contends that it is fear, not racism that results in de facto segregation. 

And it is not solely whites that segregate from poor black neighborhoods.  Hipp and Yates (2011) describe the effects of the flight of the black middle-class, including increased poverty and lack of social organization.  Steffensmeier et al (2011) recognize the flight of the black middle-class but do not account for it in their conclusion.  Without the influence of middle-class values and its resultant social organization, poorer blacks are subjected to socialization processes that inhibit the behavior patterns that lead to success in life.  Shihadeh and Flynn (1996) point out the social costs of “acting white” by succeeding in education and contrast this with the adult status given to young girls who become mothers, whether wed or not, in poor segregated communities.  I was once a proponent of self-control as a primary crimogenic factor, but it has been made clear to me that socialization plays a part in the amount of self-control a person has, and where that self-control is targeted in personal goals.

You will notice that neither paragraph has a definitive conclusion.  Assigning any one of these factors as a primary cause seems to me to prevent effective problem resolution because other factors are discounted in “proving” that one viewpoint takes precedence.  For example, Steffensmeier et al (2011) identify racial inequity as the independent variable, and a primary cause, although they admit that the dependent variable of violent crime committed by criminals that are black remained stable over the terms of their study.


Hipp, J. R., & Yates, D. K. (2011). Ghettos, thresholds, and crime: does concentrated poverty really have an accelerating increasing effect on crime? Criminology, 49(4), 955–990. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2011.00249.x

Shihadeh, E. S., & Flynn, N. (1996). Segregation and crime: the effect of black social isolation on the rates of black urban violence. Social Forces, 74(4), 1325–1352.

Steffensmeier, D., Feldmeyer, B., Harris, C. T., & Ulmer, J. T. (2011). Reassessing trends in black violent crime, 1980-2008: sorting out the “Hispanic Effect” in Uniform Crime Reports arrests, National Crime Victimization Survey offender estimates, and U.S. prisoner counts. Criminology, 49(1), 197–251. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2010.00222.x

Wilson, J. Q. (1992). Crime, race, and values. Society, 30(1), 90–93.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Implications of COINTELPRO study

A study of this nature is limited in focus in order to understand the effects of one factor;  in this case, the factor was limited to Hoover's use of political tactics, as in the bureaucratic politics model, to promote and protect the interests of the Bureau.  However, starting from this narrow focus leads to the extrapolation of it's application to other factors and from there to wider implications of COINTELPRO as a concept.

Further research could involve exploring the relationship between other factors and the efficiency of COINTELPRO;  the other factors including the internal culture of the FBI, personality conflicts between Hoover and sitting Presidents (in particular, Hoover's conflict with Nixon), personality conflicts within the Bureau (such as the one between Hoover and Sullivan), public opinion shifts, the focus of Hoover on leftism as a result of foreign agency rather than as a threat of its own accord, the possibility that Hoover's advanced age left him relatively incompetent to keep using such tactics, in the timing of Hoover's death and the almost simultaneous legal trouble that the Nixon White House put itself into, and possibly that the liberal block of politicians that supported COINTELPRO against the KKK withdrew that support when those methods were directed at leftists.  The exploration of issues surrounding the efficiency of COINTELPRO can in turn shed light on cultural, leadership, and political issues that affect domestic security issues in general.

However, the nature of COINTELPRO itself has leads to a debate on the merits of using these methods in a free society. Wilson (1978) defends the use of such tactics although the majority of opinion finds such tactics undemocratic, illegal, and/or immoral.  The resolution of this question lies partly in these questions, which in turn raise additional questions:
What is the relationship between effective security operations and the rights of individuals in a Republic?
What is subversion?
How does a Republic define a security threat?
Is leftism/socialism an ideology that is inherently hostile to liberty?
Is Islam an ideology that is inherently hostile to liberty?
At what point does organized crime move from a criminal threat to a security threat?
Is there a conflict between security and freedom, or is there a method to balance these concerns?

Obviously, these are not simple questions, and highly subject to politics in study and in application.  In the history of the domestic security of the United States, from the original Alien and Sedition Act through the mass NSA surveillance of Americans today, there develops a clear pattern of overreaction and failure.  An initial overreaction to security concerns that lead to abuses of liberty that lead to a curtailment of the ability of security agencies to perform their function that lead to a spectacular failure that result in overreaction.  One example of this involves COINTELPRO.  The Nixon administration felt that anti-war protestors as a whole were subversive, and that FBI efforts (including NEW LEFT) were not enough.  The White House then developed the Huston Plan targeted at the anti-war movement (which was not completely a New Left action, although New Left members often led segments of the anti-war movement). The methods used under this plan were clearly illegal, and the public was made aware of these abuses at roughly the same time as other programs such as the COINTELPRO operations were exposed.  The Church Committee was the catalyst for overreaction in the restriction of security agencies.  Powers (2004) contends that the reforms that were born as a result of that overreaction caused a hesitation to act in FBI agents that may have been a factor in the intelligence failure to anticipate the 9/11 attacks.  In the "Homeland Security" reforms that were a response to those attacks, the PATRIOT ACT was composed.  We see the wheel make the complete turn as the mass surveillance of the public in general by the NSA was justified on the basis of the PATRIOT ACT.

The failure to make sound policy decision based on honest and full research leads to overreaction and extremes in operational guidelines that cyclically lead to the abuse of liberty and the failure to protect the country.  The investigation of the bureaucratic politics model in relation to efficient domestic security policy is simply the first step in examining all factors that affect domestic security.  Certainly, the underlying justice of security operations plays a part in their efficiency.

Powers, R. G. (2004). A bomb with a long fuse. American History, 39(5), 42–47.

Wilson, J. Q. (1978). The investigators: managing FBI and narcotics agents. New York: Basic Books.


You have chosen a topic that has been debated over a long period of time.  Wilson (2013) states that people on both sides of the rehabilitation issue have misinterpreted Martinson's 1974 “nothing works” study.  Wilson suggests that rehabilitation works for SOME people, SOME of the time, and that was the conclusion people should have drawn from Martinson's study. 

Wilson also postulates that a review of research shows that repeat offenders, especially violent offenders, tend to have a history of repeat juvenile delinquency offenses.  Which is fortunate, because the literature also suggest that juveniles have a better chance to respond to rehabilitation efforts than adults, although this might also be due to the “aging out of crime” phenomenon. So perhaps it would be best to identify “what works” in keeping juveniles from delinquency.  Turner et al (2007) look at this issue from the perspective of non-delinquent youth in a “resilience” lens.

Huebner (2009) presents a bibliographic overview of rehabilitative literature. You should be aware of bias when one particular approach is being defended. If one is thinking about policy, it might be best to stay away from a “one approach fits all” viewpoint, or a “this OR that” perspective.  The rehabilitative method may indeed work best when combined with a punitive mode.


Huebner, B. (2009, December 14). Rehabilitation. Retrieved September 10, 2015 from http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195396607/obo-9780195396607-0046.xml

Martinson, R. (1974). What works? questions and answers about prison reform. Public Interest 10:22–54

Turner, M. G., Hartman, J. L., Exum, M. L., & Cullen, F. T. (2007). Good kids in bad circumstances: a longitudinal analysis of resilient youth. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 46(1-2), 81–111.

Wilson, J. Q. (2013). Thinking about crime (Revised edition). New York: Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.

We are all off to the next step, whether that is the study of justice or the application of justice.

What have y'all learned from the program?

For me, I started with the viewpoint that the way to reduce crime optimally was to decriminalize anything that wasn't a property crime or a personal crime and then to jail or execute those that wouldn't learn to keep their hands off other people and their things. For the most part, my view hasn't changed that much.

But I have learned the importance of public order criminal enforcement in some cases...
I have learned that there are limitations to the application of classical criminology...
I have been surprised that the bell curve can accurately represent so many populations...
And I have learned that there are many more factors to any given situation than are usually considered in a study;  while we probably shouldn't "pick at" any given research attempt for minor contributors to the problem that weren't included in the study  (I dropped a LOT to get my paper into 10 pages lol), we should always attempt to ascertain bias, and to identify major factors that weren't considered in the study...whether we agree with the results or not.

Good luck!