Bomb Scare

Some readers might know we live in Hawaiʻi. To most, Hawaiʻi seems like a paradise; a promise of idyllic life filled with skin products made from coconuts. 

That last part is true, but there’s a darker, dangerous, and, frankly, unsettling aspect to living here. 

Yes, I’m speaking about the infrastructure. There is no Natural Gas service here, so people who want to use gas for cooking (much better than using electricity, I can tell you) have tanks outside their buildings and these tanks are regularly serviced by Hawaiʻi Gas. 

What you see there, dear readers, is a powerful bomb. Enough destructive power to take out most of the surrounding buildings, including our own.

Sure, sure, experts will tell you propane is safe, but experts also said that no way Trump would win. Besides, I’ve watched movies where people set off tanks by merely looking at them wrong.   

On a lighter note, this is what we read this morning to the sound of the emergency tone blaring on our phones . . . 

Well, crap. We hadn’t even changed into our exercise clothes yet! What the heck does one wear during a nuclear attack?

Well, I opted for my gym shorts and a dark t-shirt with pocket. The pocket to carry my sunglasses so I could watch the fireball and the dark shirt to better absorb the energy of the blast (I don’t particularly want to be around in the aftermath). 

Melisa opted for her favorite plaid shorts. If she was going to die, she wanted it to be in her favorite shorts.

That took two minutes during which we processed some things. 

One, the sirens were not going off. That’s right, Hawaiʻi has nuclear attack sirens (HERE and HERE).

Two, none of the TV channels had anything about a nuclear attack. We figured that at the very least Fox would be blaming Hillary and Obama, CNN and MSNBC would be blaming Trump and Republicans in general, and that the religious channels would be celebrating the Rapture. 

Instead, there was a basketball game on, some pundits talking about something that happened a few days ago, and the religious channels were doing what they always do . . . asking for money. 

So, I got on the internet. It took about ten minutes before Twitter confirmed it was a false alarm. Another five minutes before local news reported it. Finally, 38 minutes after the first alert . . . 

I saved those because, you know, if I survived the attack, sure as fluid excrement I was going to do a post on it. 

Here’s a screen capture of the two alerts . . . 

Now, I joke about this because we did find it funny. It was funny and we were making jokes even before we got confirmation it was a false alarm. 

The lack of sirens and lack of television coverage helped, but even before that, there was something about the alert that I knew was wrong. 

North Korea — the only probable source of said attack — does not have the capability to launch such an attack. This might come as a surprise to people used to reading scary headlines, but that’s a fact. They’ve not even tested a ballistic missile and they’ve yet to miniaturize a nuclear bomb to fit into a missile. That day might come, but today is not it.  

Now, some people in Honolulu — the probable target of any such attack — reacted as one might imagine and while I make light of the event, I do have some sympathy for people who panicked. I can imagine the stress associated with worrying both about oneself and one’s loved ones. Nuclear bombs are pretty scary. 

But, at the same time, I’m dismayed at the level of knowledge in the general population. Dismayed at the lack of critical examination of the event.  

Especially if one is concerned about this stuff, I would think one would want to be on top of it. One would inform themselves of the facts regarding North Korea’s capabilities, of the current state of tensions, of the fact talks have opened up between North and South Korea, and, most of all, that this is Hawaiʻi. I love the place, but honest, they don’t have their shit together in any other area of governing. Why would this be any different? After all, their very first test of the sirens kind of failed and their second test was little better. 

At the very least, check with someone before stuffing your kids into a sewer. Yes, that actually happened. 

I know people will want someone to lose their job over this, but I hope not. I have to assume this was an honest mistake and not one born of gross stupidity, and as such, I would expect the organization to stand by their personnel and not hang them out to dry. 

Besides, there were some positives from this because it exposed a number of flaws in the procedure for sending out warnings. It also showed that not all phone carriers received the warning, so not all people received the phone alert (why the sirens are also typically used). It also showed that local stations either did not received the emergency signal or were slow to respond. Finally, it showed that the system was not prepared for the flood of people trying to call or get on the website (both were jammed) and that it took too long to get reassurances out to people.  

I can appreciate that some people were stressed out, but one has to look at the benefits of this incident: we learned something about the system that would otherwise not have been evident until an actual attack occurred. 

Meanwhile . . .

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