On Saturday, the island of Hawaii was thrown into a panic when a state worker accidentally hit a button triggering a message that went to every phone in the state and told citizens that a ballistic missile was inbound.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is not naming the worker who hit the wrong button, but they have released a photo of the screen showing the commands. Unfortunately, for the worker (and the entire state that was sent panicking) there’s not much difference between the false alarm and the real alarm.
Here’s that same screen, but with the options highlighted.
The message that was sent out read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The people of Hawaii spent roughly thirty minutes saying their goodbyes and desperately trying to find shelter before a correction was issued. HIEMA said that they have reassigned the employee to a post that “does not provide access to the warning system.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) quickly tweeted to her constituents, telling them that the alert was a false alarm.
Gabbard also used the incident to encourage President Trump to change the rhetoric with Kim Jong-un. When asked if she believes that Trump should negotiate with the North Korean leader, Gabbard said “absolutely and immediately. This is something that I’ve been calling on for a long time.” In a tweet on Tuesday, Gabbard said “we need to invite North Korea to the table and talk about peace.” Later she commented on the false alarm itself, writing that she is “not satisfied with how people have been held accountable.”
If the North Koreans were to fire a missile at the United States or one our territories (like Guam), there are a number of things that the military would immediately do in order to save the lives of Americans. In Alaska and California, we have inceptors with the sole purpose of bringing down an inter-ballistic missile. There are also a number of ships that have weapons capable of taking out a missile from the North Koreans.