This Is Not A Drill



The recent “mistake” in Hawaii which sent many people running for cover, as if they could actually protect themselves from an incoming ballistic missile from North Korea pushed my envelope on several counts. It’s too early to have a handle on all of the important variables at the moment, but I can ask a few questions:

  1. Why — at the initial press conference following the historic faux pas — wasn’t anyone clamoring for the identity of the person who pushed the wrong button? I mean, if some starving homeless person stalking the streets of Honolulu stole enough fruit from a vendor to feed his family and knocked someone down in the process accidentally at 7:30 in the morning, his puss could very easily wind up being plastered all over the six o’clock news… if it had been caught on someone’s cell phone.
  1. Speaking of which, why weren’t ALL cell phone users and everyone else alerted that there was a missile on the way via sirens or some other means? The authorities had, apparently, successfully tested a new warning system about a month ago.
  1. Why did it take so very long (over a half-an-hour?) to retract the warning? Many people who were privy to the warning remained discombobulated for a very long time, it seems.
  1. Why didn’t it take two workers to set off such an alert, one serving as a check against the other?
  1. Why is it so easy to make such a monumental mistake? Why wasn’t the technology in place that would automatically let the public know to not pay attention to the initial warning? I ask this because officials asserted that the error was immediately detected.
  1. Will the person responsible receive consequences of any kind? If so, what kind? Was that person immediately checked for alcohol or drug abuse?
  1. Why did the governor and Early Management Administrator say

“…they had suspended regular testing of the Wireless Alert System until fixes could be put in place to avoid the error made Saturday morning.”


without clarifying how those in Hawaii might be protected during the interim?

  1. Why are members of the mainstream media taking the advice of Governor Ige (about how to protect oneself in the event that a real nuclear missile heads for Hawaii)… as if the recommendations which came out of Ventura County, California recently could actually give one hope of survival? Look at the statement directly below:

“We are committed to providing the public with a good notification system,” said Ige. “We do understand that there is a short window for us to inform the public and for them to respond. We do encourage the public to follow the recommendations if this should happen: to get inside, stay inside and get informed. We are already taking action to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

  1. Why aren’t journalists asking for details respecting what exactly is involved in the routines of regular “internal tests”… like what went awry.
  1. Why doesn’t everyone have 1001 other questions about the misrepresentation made by reporters like the fellow featured on MSNBC footage (from the link given above)? To cite one horrid bit of misinformation, there is absolutely no basis for anyone telling the public that only 10% of citizens would perish under a nuclear attack, or that it would be safe to emerge from shelters after 48 hours.

It wasn’t a drill, but perhaps someone should bore a hole into the brains of those in charge of our early warning systems. And not just in Hawaii. Yeah, fifty drills might do it.

Richard Martin Oxman can be reached at [email protected].


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