Don’t cast blame for false alert
Many of the responses to the false Hawaii missile warning on Saturday, Jan. 13, were surprising. Many early responses were in the spirit of, “who is to blame?” throwing out words like “inexcusable” before any investigatory information was released.
The reaction was not only from the public, but also from some of our community and media leaders, which sets a poor example. Yes, this was an unfortunate mistake that caused some real problems. However, these prematurely reactive responses cause problems of their own.
Shouldn’t the first step be to understand the issue? Was the cause a system, process or human error? If human error, was it a training issue? I certainly advocate for transparency and accountability.
But how is the public demanding to know “exactly how this happened,” outside the context of what is likely a very complex system, going to help?
A root cause analysis will reveal the underlying issue so that lasting and effective corrective action can occur. Of course, anyone who has never made a mistake themselves should feel free to cast the first stone.
Mark Walsh, Lihue
Threats come in more ways than missile scares
Congratulations on pulling from your archives the dramatic picture of the nuclear fireball as seen from Kauai (TGI, Jan. 14).
I was surprised that the story that accompanied the photograph omitted a reminder about the significance of the test date, Oct. 19, 1962.
Many of your younger readers may not realize that the test was done in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis while a terrified world waited to see if the United States and the Soviet Union would engulf the globe in a nuclear war. As I understand it, the test shown in the photograph was one of 36 “Dominic” tests that were undertaken by the United States in response to atmospheric testing being conducted by the Soviets.
Although I do not recall any of the books I have read about the Cuban Missile Crisis mentioning these tests, I feel certain that the decision to continue these tests at such a critical moment was a decision that was carefully discussed and assessed by the Kennedy administration, with the ultimate decision being to continue “sending a message” to the Soviets and Cuba. Several additional tests were undertaken during the remaining days of the crisis. As we all know, cooler heads eventually prevailed on both sides.
Of course, in today’s world, similar diplomatic signals are sent via different ways. An atomic test or a nuclear missile launch gets people’s attention, for sure. However, power and capability is also exhibited in more subtle ways, such as tapping into classified computer systems or disrupting power grids.
The United States has publicly declared this capability. Nobody doubts that the Russians and the Chinese know how to do these things, and Sony Pictures knows all too well that the North Koreans have such capabilities, too.
Tom Blankley, Princeville