The Criterion

Hawaii’s Alarming Fakeout

Brandon Robles '18, Staff Writer

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Missiles are a big fear that currently dominates everyone’s mind thanks to the conflicts between North Korea and America. They were a threat back in the infamous 70’s event, The Cold War, and it just keeps getting scarier from there. The Cold War between Soviet Russia and America had people on both sides suffering from the idea that a single act of aggression could lead to a nuclear winter or worse, the end to civilization as they knew it. 2018’s problems will only get worse due to the advancement of this technology that practically every nation in the world has put into their defense systems. There are times where we come into close conflict which could almost lead to absolute chaos among the population…


Or you just push a button by mistake and create a mass spread of fear for no reason. Take Hawaii, for example.


On January 13th, at around 8:07 a.m, everyone in Hawaii went into panic when they were alerted by the Hawaiian Emergency Agency that a ballistic missile was incoming on all forms of media. It wasn’t until later at 8:20 in another alert that the previous one was, in fact, a false alarm. With the stress and anxiety one could suffer from, the outrage caused by this incident was answered with an apology and an explanation. Apparently, an employee, despite the system having a two-step confirmation process, was able to accidentally send the message to all of Hawaii. Surprisingly, the employee has not been fired, but will be put through more training to ensure that the incident doesn’t occur again.


What this incident has shown to everyone was how simple it was to send a fake alarm. A new procedure was said to be put into place so that two people would be needed to initiate the process and undergo training so that they wouldn’t activate the alarm messages by mistake as well. How one, or at least two for this context, could set another false alarm off would baffle everyone.


Surprisingly, the false alarm scenario was followed by another one in Japan, where NHK, the Japanese public broadcasting network, sent out a missile alert. The incident took quicker to resolve, simply taking 5 minutes to delete as opposed to Hawaii’s 38 minutes. Strangely, the incident has to yet to be explained since the alert came from app alerts and on the website only.


But the issue here isn’t about false alarms, it’s about how fearful the world has become over the threat of nuclear warfare and possible destruction. North Korea’s weapon advancements have America on the edge as their warheads can reportedly reach the U.S. Another issue being faced is the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario, where if alarms are continuously false, people will begin to catch on even if one of the alarms is actually real and serious. In any case, it would be a good idea to check up on actions, gear, and plans if there is ever a real missile incoming. Fallout shelters, food, water, and so forth are the ideal essentials if one is to survive a crisis. If you and your family have not checked over such procedures, then now might be a good time if Trump’s “nuclear button” goes off and eventual nuclear fallout breaks out.

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Hawaii’s Alarming Fakeout