It was on Saturday 13th, 2018, just
past 8:00 AM when the residents of Hawaii received a startling notification on
their mobile devices. “Emergency Alert, BALLISTIC MISSLE THREAT INBOUND TO
HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The idea that in today’s
world the threat of a nuclear war is a possibility makes the alert much more
Early on Saturday morning the Hawaii
Emergency Management Agency (H.E.M.A.) sent out an emergency alert through all
radio stations, television stations and mobile devices informing the public of
the incoming missile threat and to seek shelter. The state of Hawaii had been
holding monthly drills in preparation for this devastating occurrence where
they learned that they had 12 minutes before the missile would reach them.
These drills were created in response to the swapping of nuclear threats
between president Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. It wasn’t long after the alert swept the that
911 call centers had received over 5,000 calls by panicking residents. Many
residents even began to pack up and seek refuge in the local bomb shelters. Families
were hiding anywhere they could, many families were so afraid they hid in the
sewers for shelter. In an interview conducted by The New Yorker with a resident
of Hawaii says “…we secured all the windows and all the doors. We started
filling the tubs and every container we could with water. And texting family
and friends…” said the resident.
For the 38 minutes the Hawaiian public were
in a frenzy trying to prepare for the end, H.E.M.A. and the United States
Government were shown that they had no plan in place for this situation. When
the Emergency Alert first went out the United States Government were unaware of
any incoming threat. Families were hiding anywhere they could, many families
were so afraid they hid in the sewers for shelter. In an
interview conducted by The New Yorker with a resident of Hawaii told us “…we
secured all the windows and all the doors. We started filling the tubs and
every container we could with water. And texting family and friends…” said the
It was about 10 minutes after the initial
alert that H.E.M.A. sent out a message on Twitter saying that there was no
threat. 28 minutes after the Tweet was sent H.E.M.A sent out a second Emergency
Alert saying that there was no threat and that it was all a false alarm. After a
total of 38 minutes this alert was sent to every source of media, highway
banners, posted on social media sites. The cause of the mistake is said to be
due to human error. “It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at
the changeover of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,” says
Gov. David Ige. A report made by The Guardian News describes how the system
which H.E.M.A. uses has the buttons to test the functionality of the alert
system and the deploy missile alert controls right next to each other. The
Federal Communications Commission had begun an investigation into the true
cause of the matter.
In an editorial by the New York Times it is
debated whether it is safe to have a stockpile of 4000 nuclear weapons. With
the height of tension between the United States and Korea and having one of the
largest stockpile of nuclear weapons on the planet, the risk of a nuclear war
is a real possibility. Congresswoman
Tulsi Gabbard admitted the the State of Hawaii was to blame for the incident
but continued to state that this unfortunate accident had revealed flaws in the
way the White House is dealing with Korea.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard admits that the
State of Hawaii was responsible for the false alarm but also pointed out that
it revealed flaws in the way the White House is dealing with North Korea. Why
is Hawaii and mainland United States threatened with nuclear attack by N.K.?
Because Trump and Kim Jong-un are provoking each other. Trump threatened to
destroy N.K. with a nuclear weapon. N.K. keeps testing nuclear missiles. People
across the US are afraid there could be a nuclear war and Hawaii is closest to N.K.
so their danger is greater. Gabbard also urges Trump to sit down with Kim
Jong-un and negotiate for denuclearization (The Guardian, 1-14-18).
Concern expressed that President Trump
continued to play golf instead of addressing the nation. He did not inform
Hawaii that it was a false alarm. The Post called it “an abdication of
leadership”. (Washington Post, Philip Bump, 1-14-18).
Trump tweeted that afternoon about “fake news”
and other complaints but did not mention Hawaii for more than 24 hours causing
Hawaiians to feel alone to fix the problem themselves. (Slate, Daniel Politi,
The governor of Hawaii gave
a public apology to the residents of Hawaii saying, “I deeply apologize for the
trouble and the heartbreak that we caused today.” Said Gov. David Ige.
To be re
Ancheta, Dillion “How
would Hawaii handle a real attack? False alarm gave us a glimpse” Hawaii News Now. 1/13/2018, 1/14/2018