On Saturday, an emergency alert was sent out to people in Hawaii that a ballistic missile was incoming, and residents were urged to take "immediate shelter." The push notification on their mobile phones read: "This is not a drill." As it turned out, that last part was true; it wasn't a drill — it was an unthinkably huge screw-up. And as a quick scan of social media shows, people were pretty pissed ― here's how Twitter reacted to Hawaii's ballistic missile false alarm.
The false missile alert caused widespread panic until the state's emergency management agency tweeted that there was no actual threat. Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard quickly tweeted that it was a false alarm, and confirmed to the media that it was a mistake, making it clear that no missiles were headed towards the Hawaiian islands.
It took about 40 minutes for state officials to clarify that the notification was a mistake, which made for 40 minutes in which plenty of people believed their lives were at risk. In short, it was an enormous mistake, one which Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz described on Saturday as "totally inexcusable." Here's how some of the denizens of social media reacted to the false warning, both in the moment, and after it was corrected.
1. With The Push Of One "Wrong Button"
Hawaii Gov. David Ige had confirmed to the media that the mistaken alert was sent out because an employee pushed a "wrong button."
2. TV With The Alert
The terrifying alert even went out on TV, which would've been a useful thing if it hadn't been totally false.
3. Big Issue Here
The amount of time it took locals in Hawaii to be given the all-clear kind of boggles the mind.
4. Does Anybody Else Pine
Former UN ambassador Samantha Power is clearly fatigued with all the talk of nuclear strikes and missile launches.
5. They Were Hiding In The Garage
For many people in Hawaii, that 40 minutes between the alert going out and being retracted was deeply terrifying and uncertain.
6. You Did This
Jamie Lee Curtis was clearly incensed by the news, and blamed it on President Donald Trump. For the record, the sending of the actual alert was by all accounts a mistake made at the state level, not the federal level. Trump himself was reportedly on the golf course when the false alarm went out.
7. Think About Those Minutes
It's hard to overstate how many people awoke on Saturday to mistakenly believe their friends, family, and loved ones were in mortal danger.
8. Nowhere To Go, Nowhere To Hide
Gabbard chimed in after the all-clear went out with this sobering observation.
9. On Earth-4
While this kind of alert would've surely been alarming under any circumstances, it was likely even more so given escalating conflict with North Korea.
10. What A Relief
Although public awareness of how to respond to a potential nuclear strike was pretty widespread during the Cold War, it's been a long time since people living on the U.S. mainland have had to seriously consider it.
11. Footage Of Children Entering Storm Drains
Caught unaware and without time to prepare, some residents of Hawaii tried to move quickly to protect their loved ones.
Simply put, the events in Hawaii on Saturday are a stark reminder of the importance of having safeguards in place to prevent panic-inducing false alarms, as well as the tumult and stress of living at the outer edge of a country embroiled in continually escalating military tensions with a nuclear-armed power. According to the news agency Reuters, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be launching a full investigation into how the false alarm took place.