Hawaiian Punch (in the gut)
As I have posted before, both our kids are in Hawaii. One, a Marine on Oahu with his wife. The other, on Maui with his wife and 2 kids.
Marine son called us yesterday afternoon (8:45 a.m his time) right after the “incoming ballistic missile–this is not a drill” alert was cancelled. The emergency alerts on everyone’s phones had gone off, scaring the crap out of everyone in Hawaii. (The Gov’s office tweeted the false alarm info after 15 mins, but they didn’t use the alert system to retract the warning until 38 minutes later.) He and his wife knew they were close to probable ground zero–they just went out on the deck figuring what the hell, and had a last cigarette.
Maui son was at the airport, where all planes were grounded and it was a zoo. He called his bro right around the time they saw the tweet retraction. But his wife back home went into a panic. The alert told people to stay inside and seek shelter. They have supplies in the garage for hurricanes and power outages, but she knew it wasn’t any protection, so she gathered everyone under the stairs in a windowless craft closet until the alert was cancelled. (Of course, 4 year old didn’t want to stop watching his cartoons on Saturday morning, and panicky Mom shrieked at him “Do you want to die?”)
Tourists and residents everywhere were herded to basements. Hawaii has no shelters, so no one really knew what to do. All together, a big cluster----. The official in charge of the office where the alert originated admitted someone pressed the wrong button on change of shift when they do a systems check. He took responsibility for not having a two-stage system to avoid this type of thing.
Anyone remember bomb drills in grade school, going down to the hallways in the basement or the furnace room (who were those grizzled guys down there, anyway?), assuming the sitting “tuck” position while hoping it was never real (while enjoying the distraction from class)? Of course, in Kansas it was also for tornados, which were real. I am glad that back then the nuclear forces had systems to avoid some caffeine deprived guy from launching by hitting the wrong button.
All this might seem like, wow, good, nothing happened. But to a few hundred thousand people in one of our states it did happen because they literally were told they were going to be incinerated any minute, and scores of thousands of others were forced to confront a “Day After” future of tsunamis, radiation, and trying to stay unconnected to the outside air for 14 days (the recommended length if a nuclear bomb hits Oahu)–in other words, death since no one has that capability in residences.
Adults may be able to put it into perspective, but I think social psychologists will be able to eat for years studying the effects on any kids who knew what was happening. Our 4 year old grandson will probably be okay because everything is dramatic and exciting and a combo of real and pretend, but I hope the 10 year old granddaughter, and all those other kids who never had to worry about anything, doesn’t grow up up overly absorbed in all this.
And I hope this is a lesson to everyone in any position of authority or power, in every party, every office, and every country, that what so far has been “only” scary rhetoric just became a nightmare scenario in the lives of millions.
Yeah terror attacks are scary, but best when they aren’t real.
About a month ago my sister was in London shopping, which is something they never do. I mean they never go to any populated city in Europe near any holiday, but this Christmas they let their guard down. As they were out and about 100s of people came running and screaming out of the subway yelling about a bomb. My brother in law who is in the army grabbed up his family and took them into a nearby shop. He grabbed the owner and barricaded the door while the “excitement” was going on. I believe he did step out at one point to help pull an elderly couple into the shop as they were getting trampled. Then for the next couple of hours people would be milling about on the street would freak out for no reason scream and run causing a mini panic. Luckily the whole deal was a false alarm. But the people were sure experiencing post traumatic stress disorder.
Glad I live here in good old Kansas!
@mayjay really sorry for your family! I can’t imagine how hard that would be.
@Crimsonorblue22 Thanks. We just facetimed with the gkids. Seem okay. At least our family didn’t try to put some poor kid down a manhole:
@mayjay At the end of the day they are still in paradise.