Close Call in Paradise

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Hawaiians received this emergency alert on their phones around noon on January 13.

Panicked Hawaiians took steps to protect themselves from an impending nuclear attack. Within the next hour, signs on highways broadcasted the message that the emergency alert was false  and that Hawaii was in no danger. This close call could have been extremely disastrous, as the chaos caused by the alarm could have caused casualties among citizens, and possibly a response from the US Military.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, infamous for his decision to repeal Net Neutrality said in an official statement that Hawaii lacked “reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert,”

Hawaii governor David Ige said that a human error caused the alert to be broadcasted. “It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,” he said.

Governor Ige also said that he would be meeting with top emergency management officials in Hawaii in order to prevent anything like this false alarm from occurring in the future.

The FCC is also launching an investigation into the matter in order to possibly change protocol that allowed this mistake to happen in the first place.

This scare could have been a disaster if officials hadn’t responded to it quicker, and hopefully, the government will figure out a way to prevent anything like it from happening in the future. The lack of a response from President Trump to this error is concerning, as this could have further strained the United States’ relationship with North Korea, a country that has boasted that its nuclear program has the capability of hitting the United States with a nuclear ICBM. It has made threats of hitting Guam, a United States territory near Hawaii.

Overall, Americans should demand that the president respond to the very real threat of a hacker causing chaos by sending out a false alert. Trump must also make a statement on the error that caused the issue in the first place.

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About the author

Tom Paugh is an 18 year old from Wayland, MA and a member of the St. Mark’s Class of 2019. Tom is actively involved in St. Mark’s student life as a Dorm Prefect, Pathways Prefect, member of the St. Mark’s Model UN, Admission Prefect, and Peer Tutor. He is also currently pursuing a classics diploma from St. Mark’s as well. He aspires to get a degree in Business Management/Entrepreneurship so that he can start his own company. Tom has a strong passion for serving his community, and has completed stints at the Boys and Girls Club in Marlborough, MA, as well as volunteering at Brantwood Camp in Peterborough, NH. In addition to his academics, he enjoys playing soccer, hockey, and golf. In his free time, Tom likes to spend time with family, travel, and enjoy the outdoors.

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