We all make mistakes. But somebody needs to get fired for this one!
When the state Emergency Management Agency tells you that a ballistic missile is bearing down on your home, it’s best to keep calm and stay as rational as possible.
But when the truth comes out that it was a false alarm and all that heartbreaking terror was caused by one person with slippy fingers fumbling through a relatively new procedure during a shift change on a Saturday morning, it is not the time for cool heads and rational tones. It’s the time for outrage. Somebody needs to get fired.
But there’s Gov. David Ige saying the incident was both “very unfortunate” and “very, very unfortunate.”
And there’s Vern Miyagi, boss of the bungler, saying, “You gotta know this guy feels bad, right?” Sure, some people want to hold on to their best instincts, dab at the corners of their eyes and say, “We should be thankful for the wake-up call” and “This was a reminder that we should tell the people we love that we love them.” If you chose to take that tack to work through the residual adrenaline, by all means. But some people don’t need the threat of nuclear annihilation to remind them that they love their family.
We do, however, need to know that the people who work for the state agency in charge of telling us when Armageddon is heading our way do not make mistakes.
OK, we all make mistakes.
We forget the code on the home security system. We mistype passwords at the ATM. We click “send” before we’re ready to send.
But the consequences of those fumbles are small and self-contained.
All hands in the Hawaii EMA control center need to be as sure as surgeons’ hands, all minds clear and steady because there are so many lives at stake. There should be no second chances or do-overs or temporary reassignments to shake off the yips. This is a pilot who crashed the plane. He should not be allowed back up with the entire
state onboard. The fact that his bosses are all, “Shrug, human error!” makes the entire state seem slipshod, lackadaisical and imprecise. The seeds of yesterday’s panic were sown months ago when the state decided to freak out everyone by dusting off the Cold War “duck and cover” routines
and bringing back the attack warning sirens for the first time in decades, as though a few minutes of advance warning is going to save any lives if Kim Jong Un volleys a flock of nukes our way. It’s like they were trying to expand their product line beyond basic weather warnings. But preparing for a nuclear attack is very different from preparing for a hurricane. There’s not much you can do but pour a drink and say goodbye.
Somebody ought to be fired, and if it’s not the person who actually sent out the doomsday text, then it’s those along the chain of command who think saying, “Sorry, it won’t happen again” will suffice. The fury of every person who was made to confront their worst fear on a sunny Saturday morning will demand retribution.