At 8:07 this morning, residents of Hawaii received a terrifying text message. “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii,” it read. “Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
As it turned out, it was a not a drill, but a colossal mistake. Although officials were quick to correct it, the text still sent shock waves throughout the state. “HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM,” tweeted congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard soon after. “THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE.”
Still, though, it took thirteen minutes after the original alert to send out a correction text. By that time, of course, many people were scrambling for cover, flipping over bathtubs and wishing they got around to building that bomb shelter they’d been talking about.
While many took to social media to express their displeasure at the rudest of awakenings, Kelly Slater had a lot to say on Instagram (hashtags and other social media annoyances removed by us):
“So how does this happen?” he wrote. “Was it a false flag to gauge public reaction? Did North Korea hack the system for fun or was it Steve Harvey?! What took 38 mins to correct that ‘mistake’ via follow up warning? Did a missile get launched and blown out of the sky and do we have Star Wars defense capabilities (or does space not exist and there are no satellites for the flat earth-minded)? Who has their finger on the text button to send out an alarm like that (never mind it being 8am to start your day like that)? And is Trump or Kim Jong-un the bigger antagonizer in this back and forth? It’s a weird little game people play with each other and other people’s lives. I think we all want some answers but given the trust the average person I know has in government agencies, the answer will sound like more cover up than sensible response. I’m slightly confused but gonna go take cover in some barrels somewhere while I’m Waiting For the End of the World (name that artist).”
While it’s still unclear how, exactly, the message was sent out, it seems as though it was part of a reinstatement of air raid sirens because of rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S—which, if you think about it, is pretty damn terrifying in and of itself. Oh, and someone’s getting fired.