Today’s post was written by Veronica Epley. Veronica is a homeland security analyst. She is also an artist. She created the sculpture pictured at the end of this post.
I am homeland security. I prevent, respond, recover, deter, monitor, mitigate, advocate, facilitate, cooperate, evaluate, confiscate, activate, aid, assist, assess, administer, implement, complement, rescue, screen, classify, justify, quantify, unify, indemnify, inspect, detect, protect, direct, suspect, advise, revise, compromise, train, maintain, manage, confer, defer, defend, inform, inspire, influence, educate, investigate, communicate, collaborate, coordinate, legislate, validate, vaccinate, regulate, execute, prosecute, prohibit, exhibit, confine, align, arrest, attest, fund, grant, gather, share, shelter, warn, welcome, keep out, remove, detain, deport, import, export, transport, support, report, research, review, rethink, rebuild, advise, revise, devise, develop, deconstruct, exercise, analyze, strategize, publicize, immunize, and break ice on frozen waterways. I am Ridge/Chertoff/Napolitano/and the next Secretaries, plus the 240,000 Feds they lead, the armies of contractors they hire, and the Presidents they answer to. I am thousands more from State and local governments that have been working homeland security since before the 9/11 attacks and before the mission had this name. I am tribes and territories. I am firefighters and law enforcement, public health officials, mayors, governors, EMTs, and white hats. I am advisors, academics, councils, counselors, consultants, and canines. I am waterworks, ball parks, and the grid, and owners and operators and security specialists who safeguard critical infrastructure and cyber security, and the millions more whose jobs support those vital functions. I work at headquarters and I work around the corner. I am air marshals and antidotes. I am guards, gates, guns, and guidelines. I am competence and intelligence and arrogance. I am vigilant and vulnerable. I am the Congress that controls the power and money, and their staffs, and their constituents. I am many thumbs in an enormous dike. I am the passengers who take off their shoes and the bloggers who ask “Are we really any safer?” I am technology and look for solutions. I am art and look for more questions. I shimmer in the sunlight and slide through the shadows, ever watchful. I am soul. I am sanctuary. I am an endless catalog of characters.
I am the monster. I am an ever-adaptive adversary. I am snakes with box cutters on a plane. I am flood and drought, hurricane, tornado and earthquake, ice storm, snow storm and storm surge. I alarm, aspire, conspire, inspire, instigate, delegate, watch, wait, hate, outrage, panic, petrify, terrify, target, taunt, plot, provoke, scheme, hurt, harm, hide, conceal, kill, show up, blow up, disturb, disrupt, destroy, and devastate. I am terrorists and fanatics and ills of all ilk. I am plague, ricin, anthrax, avian flu, and foot and mouth disease. I am threatened. I am threatening. I am fear and dread. I am drug traffickers and human traffickers and people just looking for better opportunities on the other side of the border. I am the crazy shooter in a movie theater, the crazy shooter at Fort Hood, and the guy who flew a plane into the IRS building as a tax protest. I am the lone wolf and the wolf pack, immoral and amoral. I am chemistry, biology, and nuclear physics gone wild. I am dirty bombs and pipe bombs. I am contraband and IEDs and danger, danger, danger. I am violent extremists. I am insiders and foreigners, here and there. I am aging infrastructure that doesn’t need a reason to fail. I am hackers who hack to steal and do harm and hackers who hack just because they can. I am surveillance and surprise. I am a trickster, a shifter. I am weather and whether. I am a hybrid, the integration and the intersection of accident and evil intent. I, too, am an endless catalog of characters. I am global. I am local. I am constantly changing. I am uncertainty. I am coming, and you don’t know when or where.