So in case you live under a rock or on a land with no technology (is there such a place anymore?), we had a false alarm of an incoming ballistic missile here in Hawaii. I say false alarm now, but it was not clear that this was not a real threat until 38 minutes after the initial warning. I was making breakfast and drinking coffee when a coworker sent me a screenshot of the Google alert she received; I had not bothered to look at my phone before this. I listened outside for an alarm, checked local and national news, scoured the internet, and was just about to go wake up Andy and the other kids when he ran downstairs. Shortly after this, we got the news that it was a false alarm. Talk about a wake up, right?
For many people on the islands, this was a traumatic experience. There are multiple videos of people fleeing beaches, dorms, and freeways to find cover. A local family even took shelter in a manhole here! The threat of a missile attack its something that has been discussed here and in other U.S. territories between North Korea and the U.S. but today made it feel real. The hardest part was the lack of information, especially since this was not a real threat. It took the state 38 minutes to call the false alarm. 38 minutes for the entire state to panic, run, hide, call their loved ones, and ponder their potential death. It is crazy to imagine, but it did happen.
So what do we do now? Instead of feeling angry or scared, I choose to be proactive about this. I learned that while I am prepared to shelter in my own home, with all my family here, I have no contingency for if we are separated. I also learned that while many things scare me to no end, this did not. For someone with terrible anxiety, this is weird. But I view this as something entirely out of my control, and because I cannot control it, I cannot change it. I can control the factors around me, i.e. supplies at home, our own shelter in place, plans for evacuation, etc. Everything else is out of my hands. I find this liberating, in a strange way. Finally, I learned that Andy and I can find humor in nearly every situation. After receiving the clear, we were able to shrug off this major blunder and to laugh at the memes that almost immediately appeared online about this situation. If humor does not help, then nothing will.
So after the panic of this morning, I took a note that technology is yet again not perfect, cleaned my house, snuggled my kids, and went on a date with my husband. While I do not wish to dwell on the mistake of today, I hope it does bring some key issues of planning and preparation to the state and the people. I also hope it causes us to look around and appreciate life, family, friends, and our good fortune just a little more; today showed how quickly life can change, and I do not intend to waste a second of it.
Again, with the humor…