The Hawaiian Missile Alert and the Artificially Generated Stampede


If you watch the news, there’s an overwhelming likelihood you’re familiar with what recently happened in Hawaii.  You’re enjoying breakfast.  Sipping hot coffee.  Nibbling on a toasted bagel with cream cheese.  Enjoying some crisp bacon.  And then… Ka-Boom!

Thirty eight minutes later, the crisis was “remedied.”

However, during those 38 minutes, there was quite a bit of chaos and confusion.  After all, this mass alert went out to over a million people.  Some shared it.  Some retweeted it.  Some dialed 911.  Some called loved ones.  Some had panic attacks and difficulty breathing.  Others meditated and contemplated the meaning of life.  As you might expect, reactions were all over the place.  There is no established code of conduct for an imminent ballistic missile attack, let alone, the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

Fortunately, bad things like this never happen.  Well, except until a few days later on January 16, 2018 when NHK (Japanese Public Broadcasting) disseminated false information about another missile from North Korea targeting their country.

Like I was saying, it’s good to see that everyone’s got their act together.  Quite a relief that all of these techno-bureaucracies are on the same page.

Hear me out here.  I’m not going to examine the state of Hawaii’s jurisdiction in federal matters of national defense.  Or critique the fallout from the Hawaii Emergency Management System that cried wolf.  Or examine the potential for miscalculation and the prospect of things quickly spiraling out of control.

I could post thousands of videos of people panicking and crying, or hysterically freaking out and running for their lives.  I could post videos of people driving twice the speed limit or suddenly pulling over on a busy highway.  I could share footage of the physician and anesthesiologist who were preparing to remove a patient’s appendix.  Or share footage of a father removing a manhole cover and stuffing his daughter into the sewer.

I could write about emergency push notifications and the need for a system that requires greater degrees of specificity, coordination and verification (a two man rule as opposed to it being a unilateral decision).

I could provide plenty of input.  But it would all be unnecessary.  Because rest assured, there will be a thorough FCC investigation.  The correct people will be held accountable and appropriately disciplined.  And our government will adequately address this calamity so nothing like it ever happens again.  Kudos!

And if you truly believe that, I have some beachfront property in Maui I’d like to sell you.

Many national security experts believe the current nuclear threat is at its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis.  Now I’m not particularly well-versed in national missile defense.  But I do know a thing or two about cyber-security.

I’ve written extensively about the concept of cellular-induced panic.

In hindsight, maybe the material is too difficult to digest.  Perhaps it’s just too scholarly.  Instead of the term “artificially generated stampede,” maybe I should start calling it something a little more fun.  How about the “scaredy-cat sprint?”  Or maybe the “scoot, scurry and scamper skedaddle?”

Here’s the deal.  If you own a cell phone, you’ve likely encountered wireless alerts.  It could be an Amber Alert for a missing child.  It could be an active shooter alert on a college campus.  It could be a flash flood, tornado, tsunami, or hurricane alert.  It could be a mandatory take shelter order, water boil order, road closure, city-wide evac, and so on.  We live in a society that relies on cell phones to convey critically time-sensitive, public safety information.

But here’s the crux of the problem.  Nobody from the federal or state government is allowed to explicitly tell people that cell phone alerts would NOT be used for an emergency evacuation at the Super Bowl, the Indy 500, the World Series, NBA/NHL finals, etc.  This is a really big deal.  If there ever was a real-world emergency in a stadium, motor speedway, ballpark or arena, you do NOT use cell phones.  The reason for this is absurdly generic.

Let’s take the Super Bowl for instance…

If a stadium evacuation is deemed absolutely necessary, there’s already a comprehensive strategy in place.  The initial order would be delivered over the public address system in tandem with the video monitors.  The ushers and security would be notified via their head sets.  There are things you would say.  And there are things you would NOT say.  In most cases, you wouldn’t even reveal the rationale for ordering the evacuation itself.  Most important, you’d never blitz 50,000+ fans via their cell phones.  Why?  Because it could very well spark a panic.  Regardless, the venue would lack the capability so it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Now maybe someday in the future, we’ll all be mentally tethered to our cell phones via some kind of telepathic blue tooth inner-ear device which hooks up directly to the cerebellum.  The sensory information would then regulate motor activity allowing for a properly synchronized crowd response.

But for the time being, in the here and now, that’s not how wireless technology correlates with human bodily functions.  Hey, maybe in the future, things will be different.  But in the present… in the here and now… that is not how it works.

Even if you had the capability to inform everyone via their personal cell phone, you wouldn’t.  Because it would be an incalculable violation of the existing incident command structure.  It would shred existing industry norms and decimate the established protocol.

An aside — I often tell people that Donald Trump is not allowed to tweet a Super Bowl stadium evacuation order.  Whether or not he knows this, your guess is as good as mine.  But considering the whimsical, knee-jerk nature of his twitter rants, I think it’s a legitimate cause for concern.

So what’s the moral of the story here?

You’d hope at this point it would be self-explanatory, but I’ve discovered that it’s quite challenging to divulge information deemed “sociologically undiscussable.”

Yo, I’m more than willing to share.  But nobody’s willing to listen.

Until someone steps up and relays the mission statement from the AGSAF website, this matter will never be adequately resolved.  Perhaps you could be that person?  Or maybe you know someone who’s really important?  I’ve tried my best but I think it’s going to require someone a little “higher up.”

People have a fundamental right to know…

that if they’re in a large, confined crowd and receive an evacuation order
 and/or panic-inducing information from their cell phone or mobile device…

it’s almost certainly a malicious hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede.

So here’s the good news.  I can unequivocally guarantee that this entire dilemma will eventually be resolved.  In time, everyone will become acquainted with the truth.  But regrettably, there’s a downside too.  It’s called bad news.

An undetermined amount of people will be injured and killed BEFORE we’re all permitted to learn the truth.