“Domestic Terrorism and Etremist Groups” Instructor Blames Founders for the “Evolution of Domestic Extremists and Extremist Groups” in America
Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes was contacted by man who introduced himself as a student in a class titled “Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups.” The student told Mr. Rhodes that in that class he had been assigned the task of writing an “Extremist Biopic Profile Paper” on an American “extremist” and that he had selected Mr. Rh0des as the “extremist” he wanted to research an write about. That choice was approved by the instructor, as required by the written directions for the assignment (see below document), which states “You are required, to send a message (in the course messaging system) to me stating your selected individual extremist, so I can approve of him or her and, if necessary, make suggestions to assist you.”
The student told Mr. Rhodes that the class is offered through an online graduate program through American Military University, which is affiliated with the American Public University System. American Military University states that its mission is “Educating Those Who Serve. Over 100 online degrees and certificates for national security and public service professionals.” The student said that the course instructor is Duane Benton, a member of the American Military University faculty.
Mr. Rhodes asked the student to email him a copy of the written instructions for “Extremist Biopic Profile Paper,” and the student did so. That document is posted below, and can also be viewed as a PDF here. Our comments are below the document. – Oath Keepers
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HLSS523 Domestic Extremists and Extremist Groups
Extremist Biopic Profile Paper
Extremist Biopic Profile Paper
The instructions for the assignment are as follows:
You are required, to send a message (in the course messaging system) to me stating your selected individual extremist, so I can approve of him or her and, if necessary, make suggestions to assist you. This extremist will be the subject of your Extremist Biopic Profile Paper. This choice is due by the end of Week 2. The longer you take to decide which individual extremist to use, the more difficult it makes the completion of the assignment. Once I approve of your individual extremist selection you may begin your definitive research and draft writing for the assignment.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF THIS ASSIGNMENT?
Through this assignment you will be able to judge the writings of contemporary academicians and others whose works tend to provide reasonable explanations regarding why domestic extremism emerges in the United States, even though it is viewed as the most progressive, free, and democratic society in the World. The intent is for you to evaluate some of the principal drivers behind contemporary extremist violence (domestic terrorism) in the United States by investigating and analyzing a selected individual extremist that has participated in political extremism, religious extremism, economic extremism, or social extremism. Within the confines of this assignment you will assess the influence of globalization and technology on domestic extremism recruitment, membership, and its sustainable impact on the individual extremist that you select. To prepare for this assignment it will require you to analyze the radical roots of the United States and how this heritage tends to provide polemic “fuel” for the evolution of domestic extremists and extremist groups over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries and to examine the most influential and significant extremists, extremist organizations, and extremist events in the past half century. [emphasis added].
WHAT YOU ARE TO DO FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT:
What is a biopic profile? Most of you know biopics as made for television movies of a person’s life. Well, for this assignment you are not going to be making a movie, sorry. What you will be doing is trying to capture the interesting way in which biopics approach telling the story of a person’s life. Biopics use people, places, and events to interweave details of a person’s life so you get to know them, their perspectives, and in essence why there are how they are and how they came to such a place. Think about it, in less than a few hours of a biopic you come to know the individual fairly well, right? Well, you are going to accomplish the same thing here, only in written form. You will harness the power of literary research to compile a biopic profile of your chosen individual extremist. Through your narrative you will evaluate some of the principal drivers behind their motives and actions. You will assess the influence of globalization and technology on how they were recruited, indoctrinated, and made sustainable members of an extremist philosophy and belief system.
You will have selected an individual extremist, for example, Timothy McVeigh. Most of us know what he eventually became and the atrocities he committed. How did he get to such a place? Why did he decide to commit his act of domestic terror? For this assignment the reader should be able to understand the answers to such questions by reading your biopic profile. I realize you do not have time to write a novel style biopic and many extremists are complex individuals. A key will be for you to judge the writings of contemporary academicians and others whose works tend to provide reasonable explanations regarding why domestic extremism emerges in the United States. You will have to analyze the radical roots of the United States and how this heritage tends to provide polemic “fuel” for the evolution of domestic extremists and extremist groups over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries and examine some of the most influential and significant extremists, extremist organizations, and extremist events in the past half century to see if there are any commonalities among them. Remember, the biopic takes facts and uses things like flashbacks, timelines, and key events to tell the story.
So what next?
Select an individual extremist that will form the basis of your biopic profile. Any individual extremist of your choice will work. Submit your choice to your instructor in a course message for approval by the due date in the Syllabus.
Begin gathering resources for your biopic. Find anything written by/about the individual: books, newspapers, magazines, Internet, journals, letters, videos, interviews, existing biographies, or an autobiography. Know how to evaluate the credibility of a source. Only use material that is available to the public, or that you can gain explicit permission to use in your research. You will have the opportunity to forensically research documents, archival records, and artifacts through the online library and open source of the Internet. Further down in these assignment instructions I have included for your benefit some description of various types of sources used in research. The key for success will be in your ensuring the validity of the sources you use.
Through your research come to know the significant places in your extremist’s life. This can be helpful in putting yourself in his or her shoes. Visualize witnessing what they witnessed. Imagine how they felt. Where was the person born and where did they die? Illustrate a sharp contrast or powerful similarity between the two. What was the subject’s “refuge?” Where did they go to recharge their batteries, or escape the chaos of their life? Where did they find peace or inspiration? Know their locations of trauma. Were there any significantly negative events in the person’s life that deeply impacted them? Was there an injury, death, natural disaster, car accident, or even a bad break-up?
Explore what interested, influenced, and inspired the subject. What was he or she passionate about? Whether it was botany, poetry, classical music, or architecture, immerse yourself in it. Try and discover why the subject enjoyed it.
Study the time and place of the subject’s life. If it was a long time ago, do some homework on what life was like back then. What were the social norms? What was going on economically and politically? What about in that person’s career field? Did they have a career? Also account for regional differences. What’s frowned upon in one place may be celebrated 30 miles away. This inquiry can shed light on the subject’s decisions, and their consequences.
Assemble a timeline. Record every event that you can, from basic facts like birth, death and marriage, to minor personal anecdotes, like the night your subject had an argument with their spouse, if it is something significant.
Look for patterns. See the forest, not the trees.
Phases. Many people go through phases during their lives. Sometimes the phases are backlashes of each other; for example, a person may go through a very dependent phase, then a very independent phase, then something in the middle. This can happen with relationships, too. One may end up with a string of abusive partners, then, being fed up, starts seeking very submissive mates, then begins to prefer aloof partners, etc.
Progression/regression. Look for a steady refining of the person’s character or work, an improvement over time, leading up to a defining event that shows how far the person’s come. Alternatively, perhaps someone’s life begins promisingly and gradually unravels–a tragedy of sorts.
Cycles. Pay attention to situations that repeat themselves in a person’s life. Maybe this person reaches out, gets hurt, becomes reclusive, heals, and begins again. Or the subject sets a lofty goal, burns out, draws wisdom from the experience, and starts over with a new goal. Addiction also tends to play out in cycles. Whatever the situation, it repeats itself throughout a significant portion of the person’s life (maybe signifying a phase) and at some point, the person might “break the cycle.”
Turning points. What are the moments in the subject’s life when their direction changed dramatically? The birth of a child? A near-death experience? Hitting rock bottom? It is the point at which a pattern changes; a new phase begins, progression become regression (or vice versa), a cycle ends or a new ones starts.
Make a thesis statement. Based on your “big picture” view of this person’s life, what are some points that you can prove? This will be your twist on the biopic – what makes it like or unlike any other individual extremists’ life. It answers the question posed in the introduction: what makes this person’s life different and deviously consequential by the actions they have perpetrated? Some ideas:
What is the significance of this person’s life? How did he or she change the world? What would happen if this person never existed? What is unique about what they did or made?
What led to the subject’s demise? A particular relationship? A single incident of good or bad luck? A decision by the subject? A particular circumstance?
Decide how to recount the person’s life. Write an outline and fill in the details. Try to use the organization of the outline to support the thesis (points you are trying to make).
Chronological. Go by the timeline, recounting each event in the order in which it happened. This is the simplest way to go, but it is difficult to support your thesis in this context and the most mundane approach. You can have chronological reference; however, the point of the biopic is to make it much more interesting.
Flashbacks. Describe a recent or current situation, then “flashback” to an earlier point in that person’s life. This is good for illustrating cause and effect, or how this led to that. You can even go in complete reverse order; begin at the end, and work your way backwards.
Work. If the person’s life is closely tied to his or her career, you can break it up by job positions or works created. This can be tied to phases or cycles in the subject’s life.
Accomplishments/events. One idea is to start and end with events that mirror each other in some way. Maybe you can start with a toy fortress the subject made when they were 5, and end off with them blowing up a fortress.
Sit down and write. Using your outline, assemble the biopic. You can start at the beginning, but you do not have to. You may find yourself rearranging the content as you go along. You should go through many drafts, and have other people read the biopic before you call it a day. See if they can guess the thesis, and find out if you have made your points about this person’s life.
Prepare your final draft for submission to include at a minimum the following components, although you may use as many headings as necessary to properly section your biopic and organize the narrative:
• Title Page of the Paper. The title of your paper should be brief but should adequately inform the reader of your general topic and the specific focus of your research. Keywords relating to parameters, population, and other specifics are useful. ALWAYS use a Title Page for graduate work! Your title page will include the title, name, course name and number, and Professor’s Name.
I. Introduction and Thesis (1-2 pages): This section shall provide an overview of the topic that you are writing about, a concise synopsis of the issues, and why the topic presents a “puzzle” that prompts your analysis and investigation (thesis). This section can be preceded by an epigraph that creates interest in the topic. We encourage the use of epigraphs, but please follow the proper format for epigraphs!!
II. Body of the Narrative and Review of the Literature (6-8 pages): This section will include the bulk of the narrative where you interweave your literary sources to tell your biopic. Remember to take advantage of the some of the literary tricks mentioned in the assignment instructions.
III. Conclusions (1 -2 pages): This section will contain the concluding analytical arguments based on what research has revealed to answer your thesis. Like any conclusion, it should provide a synopsis of the project, the strategy, and the results and what they add to the body of knowledge. This section should also offer suggestions for avenues of future research for other scholars, as all knowledge is evolutionary.
VI. References: This section will contain all references, cited in Turabian format, properly indented, and alphabetically arranged. Your paper must contain a minimum of 6 reference sources with at least 2 of them being peer-reviewed journals. Entitle this section as “References” following the parenthetical and reference citation format style within Turabian. You should be compiling sources and adding to them as you gone along throughout the semester. They should be error free!!!
STYLE AND CONVENTION:
All written submissions should be in a font and page set-up that is described below. Additionally, a rubric will be used to grade your paper that is posted in the Resources link within the classroom. It shows you how I subdivide the criteria for grading the various components of your paper. The rubric is a requirement of the university.
Typewritten in double-spaced format and submitted inside the electronic classroom within the correct Assignments Forum folder (unless classroom access is not possible and other arrangements have been approved by the instructor).
Times New Roman style in 12-point font.
Page margins Top, Bottom, Left Side and Right Side = 1 inch, with reasonable accommodation being made for special situations and online submission variances.
Include a completed title page in line with Turabian format as the first page of your paper.
Complete an appropriate page header with page number for each page.
Papers are required to be written in the parenthetical citation and reference list style established by Kate L. Turabian, in which case students should follow the guidelines set forth in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations ( 7th ed). Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press format. Specifically refer to sections 18 and 19 in the manual from p. 216 through p. 280.
Points will be deducted for the use of Wikipedia or encyclopedic type sources. It is highly advised to utilize: books, peer reviewed journals, articles, archived documents, etc. (may be electronic of course and the A Manual for Writers of Research Papers lists all the types of possible resources and reference formats, hint…hint), and valid open source web sites (use caution with these due to validity concerns).
The paper must be between 8-10 pages. Points will be deducted if the minimum page requirement is not met accordingly. Your paper must contain a minimum of 6 reference sources with at least 2 of them being peer-reviewed journals.
Remember you are a prestigious Graduate Student and expectations are high for quality work! All papers are submitted to Turn It In for validation.
I have a saying and it goes like this: I do not give students grades they earn them; however, I will give students the grades they earn. I think you know what I mean.
Above all…please have fun and learn, learn, learn with this endeavor.
This research paper will be evaluated based on the following rubric, which is also posted in the Resources section of the classroom with a complete explanation of each rating dimension.
Criteria Exemplary 16-20 Accomplished 11-15 Developing 6-10 Beginning 0-5 Total Synthesis of Knowledge Foundation of Knowledge Application of Knowledge Organization of Ideas/Format Writing and Research Skill Total
Simply look at the rubric and under each category across the table you will see the different levels of evaluation such as Exemplary, Accomplished, Developing, and Beginning. With each of these categories there is a point range value assigned. I will assign a level to your work for each category as noted above then tally a percentage based on a simple mathematical calculation combined with qualitative evaluation. That percentage then assists in determining how many of the 30 maximum possible points you received for the overall assignment score.
The APUS Library offers many resources for you. Additionally, there are helpful documents in the Resources section of the online classroom. I encourage you to continue to develop yourself as a graduate student and a writer.
IMPORTANT FOR RESEARCH PAPERS:
Research papers written for graduate courses at APUS should rely primarily on scholarly, peer-reviewed source materials. Information from non-reviewed sources may be useful for background information and may lead to finding other scholarly materials related to the topic. However, non-reviewed sources (1) may contain serious errors or (2) may only provide summary information on a topic. Information from these sources must be carefully evaluated, and there should be a substantive reason for including such information in a paper. Examples of non-reviewed materials include Wikipedia, textbooks (unless edited or original research work), self-help books, popular press articles, and websites that appear to be biased regarding a particular controversial issue. Instructors may stipulate that certain sources such as Wikipedia are not acceptable in research papers submitted in their courses.
At APUS, most assignments require the writer to make an argumentative claim about a topic or to propose a solution to a problem or question. To achieve this purpose, the writer must conduct research to develop knowledge about a topic. In short, conducting research allows the writer to make an informed decision about the topic. By locating, evaluating, and using various sources to support her or his thesis/purpose, the writer establishes authority, credibility, and reliability as a researcher, all of which are important for persuading or convincing an audience to accept or adopt the writer’s claims and conclusions.
Many reliable sources of information are available from various locations: books, scholarly journals, databases, catalogs, and websites on the Internet. To obtain the best knowledge about a subject, the writer should never limit research to a single type of source, but there are a few important differences in sources the writer should consider:
Print sources such as scholarly books, journals, magazines, and newspapers. These sources are usually most reliable since the facts and data are routinely reviewed and validated before publication. Many of these sources are also available as Electronic Sources, so the writer’s citation will need to properly identify if the source used is an electronic version of a print source.
Internet sources are websites or articles found on websites. These sources can be less reliable since the facts and data may not have been reviewed and validated before publication. Sometimes personal articles are posted by individuals who are merely stating biased or unsupported opinions. (Note: A “~” in a URL usually indicates that a web page is personal one and, therefore, has no official affiliation to the host site.) Moreover, sources on the Internet can be changed, updated, or removed without notice. Therefore, the writer should be careful to determine the actual date of an Internet source to verify the source’s relevancy to contemporary developments in research and its permanence as a source to be located in the future.
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources
To assure that accurate information is being retrieved about a topic, the writer should also be aware of the difference between a primary source, a secondary source, and a tertiary source:
Primary sources are the original sources of information, reports, studies, experiments or interviews. For example, a primary source would be a period text (e.g., a Victorian medical journal) or a classic text (e.g., M.H. Abrams’ work of literary-criticism, The Mirror and the Lamp) in a field of study.
Secondary sources are descriptions or interpretations of primary sources. For example, a secondary source would be a book or article that is based on primary sources or data.
Tertiary sources are books or articles based on secondary sources. For example, a tertiary source would be a magazine article that explains current research in a field.
Most research projects will credibly employ primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. However, to assure that a main idea or argument is credible and relevant, the writer should be careful to seek scholarly sources from authorities in the field. If examining a recent problem or question, then the writer should seek recent contemporary sources to validate historical sources.
When conducting research for APUS writing assignments, the writer will need to make important decisions about which sources to use. The writer relies on sources for several purposes:
1. To help define the topic and any complicated concepts associated with the topic;
2. To provide the background and information necessary for the writer’s argument to be understood;
3. To support all claims with relevant and credible evidence (textual and visual);
4. To provide depth and perspective, including opposing viewpoints and evidence;
5. To establish credibility and reliability to convince an audience;
To achieve all of these purposes, the writer needs to establish the value of all sources. The following guidelines will help the writer determine the value and credibility of each source to be considered for a paper:
Accuracy and Citation of Sources: Is the source accurate and complete? Are the author’s sources reliable? Are the author’s sources cited? Is there an accompanying reference list to substantiate the author’s sources? Is the source published on a reputable website?
Publisher reputation and authority: Is the publisher a respected source of academic scholarship? (Note: academic databases generally have a high standard of accountability and accuracy.) Does the publisher have any professional or religious affiliations that could affect objectivity?
Author reputation and authority: Is the author an expert or reputable scholar on the topic? Does the author have any professional or religious views that could affect objectivity? Is the author affiliated with a special-interest group? Does the author only present one side of the debate? If alternate views are presented and addressed, does the author portray them fairly? Does the author’s language show signs of bias?
Purpose and Relevance: What will this source add to the paper? How will that source emphasize or support the main idea? Is the source relevant to the topic and the writer’s thesis statement (main idea)? How will the evidence support the writer’s credibility?
Date of Publication: Is the source new or old? If the source is older, are there any newer sources that validate or invalidate this source? If the source is from the Internet, can the date of publication be accurately certified?
Primary and Secondary Sources: Is this the original (primary) source, or is this a secondary interpretation or description of the primary source? Would the primary source add more validity to the paper?
Audience: Who is the source’s audience? Proponents or opponents? Other scholars? The general public?
Cross-Reference: Is the source cited in other primary or secondary sources? How is this source used by other authors? Is the source respected and valued in the field?
Active and Passive Voice
Definition: Good writers prefer active voice because it is more direct than passive. Active voice means the subject of the sentence is performing the action; while in the passive voice, the subject is being acted upon.
Active voice: The candidate [subject] crisscrossed the state, shaking hands and kissing babies.
Passive voice: The state was crisscrossed by the candidate, shaking hands and kissing babies [The true subject of this sentence, the candidate, is receiving the action about crisscrossing the state].
Still, passive voice is important. Academic journals are models for students’ reports and research papers so edit your writing accordingly. Writers in formal, nonacademic publications (e.g., Harvard Business Review) use passive voice even less often. Since formal, nonacademic publications are models for students’ essays and personal perspective papers, your papers should contain as little passive voice as possible.
When to use passive voice?
Passive voice is useful when the doer of the action is considerably less important than the action—or for a change of pace. Just be careful not to use passive in more than several clauses consecutively. The example below is an example of a good passive voice sentence because the action of the verb is emphasized about the research.
The subsequent research was improved by randomizing.
The following paragraph, on the other hand, contains too much passive voice and leads to awkward and less concise language (the passive verbs are underlined).
The subsequent research was improved by randomizing. The new subjects were assigned to a control or treatment group, and the process was monitored by a researcher who had been hired by a neutral committee and who had been awarded a master’s degree in 2002.
The table below is an example summary of active and passive voice of the verb to see:
Tense Active Voice Passive Voice
Had seen (I had seen it)
Had been seen (it had been seen)
Saw (I saw it)
Was seen (it was seen)
Have seen (I have seen it)
Has been seen (it has been seen)
See (I see it)
Is seen (it is seen)
Will have seen (I will have seen it)
Will have been seen (it will have been seen)
Will see (I will see it)
Will be seen (it will be seen)
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COMMENT BY OATH KEEPERS:
Needless to say, Stewart Rhodes declined to assist in his own demonization. Frankly, we are not at all surprised that the instructor of this class holds the Founding Fathers substantially responsible for the current wave of “extremism” or that he would approve the student’s choice to write a “Extremist Biopic Profile Paper” on Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes. To the ruling elite, and to their minions in academia and in the media, anyone who thinks or talks like the Founding Fathers or dares to advocate a strict adherence to the Constitution, is an “extremist.” We have seen that position openly and overtly expressed by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. So why would a low level, online “Military University” be any different? And of course the students are taught that Timothy McVeigh is the flagship example, and all other “extremists” (whoever the instructor approves of applying that title to, but certainly including the leadership and members of Oath Keepers) are lumped right in with him.
So, what kind of “extremism” have we “participated” in? Is it “political extremism, religious extremism, economic extremism, or social extremism“? Or is it all of the above? Clearly, advocating that those who swore an oath actually keep it, by refusing to obey unconstitutional orders is “extreme.” As is opposing violations of our Bill of Rights, advocating that people stop voting for oath breaking politicians, and that we need a revival of devotion to the fundamental principles of liberty upon which this nation was founded. So extreme! In other words, we are not Marxists, or fascists. We do not believe in either international socialism or national socialism. We certainly do not believe in unlimited government, or that our rights are mere privileges that come from government. We believe in individual liberty, rights granted by nature and nature’s God, and – well, you know, what those radicals and extremists wrote in our Declaration of Independence while our forefathers were fighting and dying in the American Revolution:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Yep, pretty damned extreme! King George and his military officers thought so too. And the current crop of wannabe Kings and their men agree. If adhering to to the timeless principles of liberty that form our bedrock as Americans is now “extreme” then so be it. MILLIONS of Americans feel exactly the same way, which means that the “powers that be” have a real big problem on their hands.
Rather than trying to demonize some small minority of the population, they have no choice but to attempt to demonize millions upon millions of Ameirans – at least half of the country, who are still “traditional” Americans, who are not going to go away – not without killing them all. So what are they going to do with so MANY “extremists” especially when they are so damn well armed? We shall see.
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