Hawaii has been preparing for a missile attack, but now its credibility is under fire. So seriously that in December, the state started testing its nuclear warning siren system that would alert residents to an impending nuclear missile strike. This was the first of such tests in Hawaii since the end of the Cold War, and came after several threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his country's missiles are extending their range.
Officials said the purpose of the nuclear warning siren tests is not to scare the public, but to keep them aware. But on Saturday, an emergency missile alert
accidentally went out to everyone in the state, causing mass panic as people thought they were about to die. The false alarm has come under criticism from officials, the FCC, residents and others in Hawaii. Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency and Gov. David Ige apologized for the error, which was blamed on an emergency worker hitting the wrong template during a routine drill.On Monday, the leaders of the Emergency Management Agency announced they're suspending those siren tests while they investigate. But the mistake, along with the monthly sirens, have raised questions about whether the preparations in case of a North Korean missile attack are having unintended effects. "The State of Hawaii is war mongering and scaring its citizens with its monthly nuclear attack warning siren which began in December 2017," read an online petition to stop the sirens, signed by nearly 450 people. "The sirens heighten the anxiety and stress of impending conflict and devastation, [and] make citizens afraid," it stated.A small group protested Saturday in front of a federal building in Honolulu,
reported the Star Advertiser.Another concern after the false alarm is how people could react to the next emergency alert. "How seriously are people going to take this system?" Hawaii State Rep. Matt LoPresti said on CNN. "I'm going to suggest that if there is ever ... another alert that goes out, we'll have to send a confirmation notice -- that second notice this really is happening. Because people will be waiting for a second notice to see that it's another false alarm."