News and Commentary

NOT FIRED?! Employee Who Set Off Hawaii False Alarm Is Reassigned

The Hawaii government employee who caused mass panic by accidentally sending out a statewide warning that a ballistic missile was incoming has been “temporarily reassigned” pending an internal investigation into the blunder, officials said.

The worker, employed by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, pressed the wrong button — twice, in fact — during a shift change Saturday. Officials said the employee, using a drop-down menu on a computer, selected a missile launch warning instead of one that conducts an internal test alert.

Compounding the error, the employee, a 10-year veteran who has still not been named, then clicked “yes” when the computer prompt appeared asking whether to he’d like to continue. “The worker realized the epic proportions of his error after receiving the same frightening missile alert on his own phone,” the Associated Press reported.

At 8:07 a.m. Saturday, this alert went out to all Hawaii cell phones: “Missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Hawaiians went into full panic mode. Some residents shoved their children into storm drains, thinking they might survive the massive explosion from the missile. Others contacted relatives on the mainland and elsewhere to say good bye. The error was not corrected for more than 40 minutes.

While it might seem that the worker should be fired — and perhaps run out of town on a rail like the old days, or maybe tarred and feathered — the employee was simply “reassigned.” And state officials are defending the clearly incompetent — and dangerous — worker.

On Saturday, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator Vern Miyagi defended his worker when asked if he will face consequences for the technical gaffe.

“You gotta know this guy feels bad, right? I mean, he’s not doing this on purpose,” Miyagi said. “It was a mistake on his part. He feels terrible about it and it won’t happen again.”

But many found it the height of insanity to keep on the worker who made the grievous mistake.

Yet some blamed President Trump for the snafu. Actress and yogurt salesman Jamie Lee Curtis wrote on Twitter: “This Hawaii missile scare is on YOU Mr. Trump. The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU. It is on YOUR ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISSISM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY. Shame on your hate filled self. YOU DID THIS!”

“Hale Razor” set the record straight with this tweet: