Japan has a false alarm too

Good Lord, what is going on with the world?

After Hawaii just suffered through a scary false alarm of a ballistic missile attack, now Japan has also had a false alarm, this one sent out by Japanese broadcaster NHK by mistake.

I just read an article on Salon from a Hawaii resident who experienced the ballistic missile false alert.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her and her family and friends.  Clearly, they were pretty unprepared for such an event.

I wish I could say that we stood up like responsible adults, grabbed our prepared emergency bag and our daughter, and evacuated the condo calmly. We didn’t. We start running madly around the apartment while Anna follows us around, looking like a lost puppy.

“Where’s the nearest evacuation shelter? Do we even have a shelter?!”

“Let me put on pants! Can you get Anna? And grab water from the top shelf!”

“TOP SHELF OF WHAT? WHERE IS THE WATER?!”

“THE TOP SHELF! GET THE WATER!”

“I CAN’T FIND IT. I have Anna’s diapers and her food! Let’s go!”

On the way down to the lobby, we run into our neighbor. His hands are shaking and he can’t get them to stop. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this is happening,” he keeps repeating.

At the lobby, my best friend’s waiting for us with her husband. She’s crying quietly, holding her 4-month-old son. It’s surreal. We could die.

As far as we know, no one was injured in any way during the brief period of panic.  Thank God.  Because clearly this alert caused major freakouts all across Hawaii.  Few people seem to have been prepared, or had any idea where they should go.  I can’t blame them, really, since Hawaii has so few fallout/bomb shelters.  People are probably much more prepared to respond to a tsunami than they are to any sort of nuclear threat.

So to find the silver lining (and I am generally a silver lining kind of guy), this mishap has illuminated major problems with the system, which can now be improved (hopefully).  Perhaps people will be better prepared for the next alert, which will hopefully be a planned drill and not an accidental one.

~Geoff

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