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Janet Napolitano
May 11, 2013
by Spencer Santilli
Wo-Man, Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security
For those of you who read George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, you’ll be quick to remember the looming presence of Big Brother.  For the citizens of Orwell’s dystopian nightmare, Big Brother was the ever-present face of government observation and control that dominated the general population into submission.  What used to be a farcical dream of fiction has manifested itself in our very own government, as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and their leader, Janet Napolitano.  Napolitano is no stranger to power, as she served a combined nine years as both the Attorney General and Governor of Arizona, before becoming the Secretary of the DHS. Dubbed, “Big Sis,” by Matt Drudge of Drudge Report, Napolitano is a primary player when it comes to abusing of personal liberties.  Janet Napolitano, although a woman, exemplifies the role of “The Man” perfectly as she uses her power to coerce, manipulate, and deceive the general population under the guise of national protection.  Napolitano has charged to the forefront of the political spectrum and consequently cemented herself a position on Can the Man’s homepage.  

To better understand how Janet Napolitano became the Man we first need to examine the Department of Homeland Security.  The DHS was created in the paranoid wake of 9-11 to protect American citizens from all kinds of threats. Terrorism was an obvious motivator for the DHS, but the sprawling arms of “government protection” reach much further than that.  We all like to remember the colorful “Alert” chart created after 9-11, that was a nifty ploy by the DHS, carefully reminding folks to be wary of their surroundings if it was a “Threat Level Orange” or heaven forbid a “Red.”  We were led to believe that fear could be calculated with a color-coded graph broadcast on our morning news, and that we should plan our days accordingly.  With over 200,000 employees, the DHS represents the combination of numerous consolidated agencies and has its fingers in everything from natural disaster recovery to illegal immigration.  Coupled with a budget of nearly $100 billion, Napolitano is given almost unlimited access to all areas of national safety, and has encroached on several personal liberties with the power granted through her position and the department she has been appointed to lead.


Napolitano lived up to her nickname, “Big-Sis,” when she partnered with Wal-Mart to start the “If you See Something, Say Something,” campaign.  The idea behind this was simple, if you see something suspicious while ambling through your neighborhood Wal-Mart, you should report that sighting to an authority figure.  Nearly every time I’m in a Wal-Mart, there is always something suspicious going on, but I have never reported anything.  In a Homeland Security brief from 2010, the “See Something” campaign was also set to be launched in train stations, shopping centers, and sports stadiums across the country.  The project is highlighted by an Orwellian check-out line video broadcast at over 500 Wal-Mart’s across the country. [2] The brief forty-second announcement shows Napolitano urging that homeland security starts with home-town security, and that anything suspicious should be reported immediately.  This to me encourages a society that is wary and afraid of their fellow human beings.  I believe that this increases the distrust of our fellow citizens, and could lead to a significant spike in racial profiling and assumptive justice.  While it seems noble, reporting “suspicious” activity may increase a sentiment of social division.   It would be valid to think that people of higher social and monetary status would be more inclined to report suspicious activity of your more average citizen.  In 2007, the hotline received over 13,000 calls with a reported “644 meriting investigation.” [4] Most of these calls were related to backpacks and packages left behind, zero of which were explosive devices.  I am a firm believer in erring on the side of caution, but encouraging fear and wariness will be detrimental to the spirit and psyche of our citizens.  Yes, tragic events in this country have led to a pervasive feeling of unease and insecurity, but what is scary is the feeling of needing to be protected from something.  The Department of Homeland Security was designed to fill this need, and Napolitano is using that power to expand the presence of the DHS into unforeseen and unregulated territory. 


In a time when guns and violence are crucial political topics, it would seem unwise to buy over one billion rounds of ammunition, right?  However that is precisely what the Department of Homeland Security has been doing for the last year. Just recently Congress attempted to investigate the reasoning behind such an outrageous purchase, and when Napolitano was asked about several allegations she said, “We just couldn’t believe anyone would believe those allegations.” [1]  Napolitano has since rescinded her bold statement, and argued that the ammo acquisition program was initiated over a five-year period to supply ammunition for training exercises and border control forces.  Yet, instead of answering the question with a specific reason why the DHS needed one billion bullets, Napolitano deflected and eschewed responsibility with a bold faced lie.  To further complicate things these are not ordinary bullets, these are .40 caliber hollow point pistol rounds. [1] A hollow point is designed to inflict maximum tissue damage, essentially creating a miniature explosion inside a body that ruptures organs and shreds muscles and veins.  These hollow-point bullets are outlawed on the battlefield, yet police and other domestic forces like branches of the DHS use them openly.  Janet Napolitano is leading a branch of our government that is making obvious attempts to stockpile ammunition.  There is reason for concern when the department designed to “protect” American citizens possesses enough ammunition to kill the entire American population.  The situation has escalated to the point that some politicians, including Sen. Jim Inhofe R-Okla, believe that Napolitano is not acting on her own accord and that the bullet buy is a conscious attempt by the Obama administration to “dry up” the ammunition supply. [5] In light of the recent backlash against firearms and gun culture, this does not seem unrealistic.  Being that the DHS is already veils their actions, I do not find comfort in knowing that millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on ammunition for the guns we’re simultaneously trying to control. 


 With the recent exposure of General David Petraeus and rampant sexual assault in the military, it is not outrageous that the DHS had their own miniature scandal.  In 2012, James T. Hayes, a former special agent in New York City, claimed that female staff members appointed by Napolitano directly, were sexually abusive and caustic towards male employees. [3]  The suit names two women, Dora Schriro and Suzanne Barr, who both had prior contact with Napolitano before being hand-picked to their respective positions.  Hayes states that male employees’ desks and personal belongings were relocated to the bathroom, and that Barr knowingly created a hostile work environment for her male subordinates.  Not only did “Big Sis” appoint friends to powerful positions, Barr and Schriro are suspected of using their power to exact some kind of twisted game on their male employees.  Napolitano has since launched a thorough investigation into the claims, and is adamant that Hayes’s claims will be proven false in due time.  


Living in an Orwellian dystopia is not something anyone would enjoy, and Janet Napolitano seems to be relishing her role as “Big Sis.”  As these terrorist attacks and acts of violence continue, so will her drive to invade personal freedom under the guise of providing protection from harm.  We must remind ourselves what is really at stake here, our personal privacy weighed against protection against impending threats.  We’ve reached the point where a talking head is urging us to be suspicious of what we see, and to report it immediately.  At what point does a citizen’s personal right to privacy outweigh the countries desire to feel safe?  Janet Napolitano is spearheading the campaign to invade personal privacy and security with the promise that it is in our best interest.  Who is left to protect citizens from the department designed to do just that?  






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