Homeland Security is reaching out to various groups in society to help in the cause of fighting terrorism, by discovering it in the planning stages.
Noel Zapata, owner of “Via Zapata Home Services” in the Chicago area, received a call last week about this.
The official from Homeland Security had just briefed the local fire department about the new plans to engage first responders in reporting suspicious items and situations when entering a home or business in the process of putting out a fire or responding to an emergency.
The Homeland Security official met Zapata at his home, which also serves as his business headquarters.
Two of his six employees were present in the garage for the meeting.
Homeland Security outlined its new program of “Home Agents”.
Home Agents are those that regularly enter private residences or businesses for work or personal services.
The Homeland Security agent had hoped to train all of Via Zapata’s employees, but four of the six had to suddenly leave.
The Homeland Security agent passed out one page plastic laminated cards, asking first if they wanted Spanish or English.
Noel and Hector asked for Spanish. Ahmed wanted his in Arabic. His would be delivered later, promised the official.
The card had universal symbols of items and the typical red circle and line through them. Each of the restricted items had a picture image of a person phoning the Homeland Security office. Among the items were a gas can, a pile of bags of fertilizer and boxes of matches and cell phones.
Zapata asked if becoming a Home Agent will be like service in the military.
“It will be the same,” said the official, “in that we will not ask if you are gay, and we are subject to the laws of the United States regarding race, gender, trans-gender, height, weight and mental disabilities.”
Zapata told this reporter later that he was hoping that the Homeland Security official would bring up the matter of citizenship for service.
The Homeland Security Home Agent manual arrived by UPS late last week. Zapata peeled the shrink wrap off the skid and dollied a thick manuel to each employees spot in the garage.
The mystery of whether serving as a Home Agent will expedite United States’ citizenship, like it does for foreigners serving in the Armed Services, is mostly likely deep inside the four foot manuel, entitled, “Home Edition Look and Learn”.
“We will have to look later,” said Zapata. He called Ahmed and Hector away from their manuals. There was fall clean up to do. Most of the leaves are down in Chicago, and snow is the biggest homeland threat now.