The time in between sparked a brief panic in a state where fears of an attack by North Korea have heightened in recent months. Residents and tourists reported seeking shelter, frantically gathering supplies, and calling and texting loved ones to say their goodbyes.

The alerts quickly turned a serene Saturday morning into “mass hysteria” on the roads.

“My boyfriend was like, ‘Who do we sue for this?’ We don’t just need an apology, we need an explanation. Someone could have had a heart attack,” McLaughlin, 29, said. “It took something that’s kind of incomprehensible and very quickly made it very personal. All of a sudden going through your mind is, ‘Is this the end of my life?’ I called my mom, I called my dad, I called my brother and basically said my goodbyes.”

Honolulu resident Noah Tom was picking up breakfast for a meeting when he heard of the alerts. Thinking he might only have 15 to 20 minutes before a missile strike, Tom considered how his family was split up across three locations: He had just dropped off his oldest daughter at the airport, while his two younger children were at home. His wife was already at work.

“I literally sent out ‘I love you’ texts to as many family members as I could. It was all kind of surreal at that point,” Tom, 48, told The Washington Post. He made the difficult decision of turning the car toward home, where his two youngest children were. “I figured it was the largest grouping of my family.”

Irrespective of how pathetic and juvenile the cause for the trigger of this alarm was, it shows what the fallouts of such a tragic event, wish and hope it never really happens, will be. Looking at the positive side, if we can, it also has triggered an opportunity for all, the relevant agencies, those governing and those governed, to gauge how ready we are for such a calamity. And how it deeply can affect us.

Appearing strong on Twitter is one thing. But staying strong when faced with an imminent, life altering event is a whole different ball-game.


Well, the user interface that’s one of the causes for this whole mess is even horrible than what I had imagined. It’s so amusing to find that the system that is supposed to alarm the population about a calamity is such a horrible hodgepodge of strangles text. This is no better than having nothing, which we in India have.

I know the having-nothing-like-India argument is bit of a stretch, but man this interface is horrid.