We all make mis­takes. But some­body needs to get fired for this one!

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - LEE CATALUNA

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.

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