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Well to begin with I should lead
with the fact that like many people I’ve met in previous classes, my degree and
field of study pretty much directly relate to my career of choice almost the
last twenty years.  The overall degree plan
is in Intelligence Studies, which itself can be a very wide topic to look at,
however the more specific area of study is Terrorism Studies.  Now the down side to this is that most
people, to include my wife, do not really understand nor do they want to
understand anything about the topic of terrorism.  I agree that when looked at from the outside,
it seems a very dark subject, especially if taken as one whole piece. However
if taken in bits and pieces or more specifics I find it a very fascinating
subject, and find myself drawn to literature that covers this subject, both fiction
and non-fiction.  One of my favorite
authors to read is Michael Flynn, his character Mitch Rapp constantly walks the
line of realism and almost superhero like stature all while fighting to protect
his nation as well as his inner demons that keeps him from turning into a
killing machine but also devotes time to understanding that which he is
fighting.  I also enjoy watching shows
such as “24”, “The Unit” and more recently “The Brave” and while very
un-realistic, they do have some truths to them hidden here and there. 

As an investigator, and human
intelligence collector, I also find it interesting to see what drives people to
conduct themselves in a manner that would get them labeled as a terrorist and
the differences others in the world see terrorists such as insurgents, liberators
or freedom fighters.  However I find that
when people ask me about my work, or even about subjects that pop up in the
news, their interest is not usually genuine and at best is miss-informed.  Ideologies, wants and needs and religious
interpretations, these many times are the food for the fire when it comes to
individuals or groups acting out attacks or threats and while it can be easy to
label someone or a group, you can never really defeat them if you don’t
understand them.  Nothing in this topic
is black and white, and that is mostly what leads a discussion between my colleagues
and myself.  

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