Hawaii state bureaucrat who sent out fake missile alarm escapes any punishment – and remains anonymous

The words "accountability" and "government bureaucrat" are strangers to each other for many of the almost 22 million people who work for governments in the United States.  Imagine having a job where you can totally screw up and seriously inconvenience a million people and not only remain unpunished, but not even be identified to the people you scared the wits out of.

That is the privilege being enjoyed by the person (a male, apparently, based on the gender pronouns employed) who told Hawaiians that a missile strike was incoming last Saturday at 8 a.m.  John Fund writes in National Review:

[A]pparently, no one is resigning, and the staffer in question is merely being "counseled" and retrained so he doesn't do it again.  According to state officials, the staffer answered "yes" when asked by the system if he was sure he wanted to send the message.  He wasn't even aware of his mistake until mobile phones near him began displaying the alert.

"This guy feels bad, right.  He's not doing this on purpose.  It was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it," explained Hawaii EMA administrator Vern Miyagi, a former Army major general.  But Miyagi declined to say that the staffer would face any disciplinary actions.  Richard Rapoza, the official spokesman for EMA, declined to identify the errant employee and added, "At this point, our major concern is to make sure we do what we need to do to reassure the public.  This is not a time for pointing fingers."

I can't speak for the people of Hawaii, who have always impressed me as rather laid back, but I am not reassured that no serious consequences follow an error so fundamental.  It appears that others share my concern.

The repercussions are already beginning.  Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, lambasted state officials for not having reasonable safeguards in place.  "False alerts undermine public confidence in the alerting system and thus reduce their effectiveness during real emergencies," Pai said.  Brigette Namata, a television reporter in Honolulu, said it was "mind-boggling that we have officials here, we have state workers that are in charge of our public safety and a huge, egregious mistake like this happened."

But as former Hawaii state senator Sam Slom once observed to me, "[n]o state worker on Hawaii ever gets fired for anything."  Apologies are also very rare.

The largest ethnic group in Hawaii is Japanese-Americans.  I can assure you that the attitude taken by the state government they elect – dominated by Democrats forever – is the opposite of that in Japan, where a deep bow of apology is the bare minimum expected.  For instance, last October, top executives at Kobe Steel bowed to the public in a press conference called to apologize for false data on some of its products:

The words "accountability" and "government bureaucrat" are strangers to each other for many of the almost 22 million people who work for governments in the United States.  Imagine having a job where you can totally screw up and seriously inconvenience a million people and not only remain unpunished, but not even be identified to the people you scared the wits out of.

That is the privilege being enjoyed by the person (a male, apparently, based on the gender pronouns employed) who told Hawaiians that a missile strike was incoming last Saturday at 8 a.m.  John Fund writes in National Review:

[A]pparently, no one is resigning, and the staffer in question is merely being "counseled" and retrained so he doesn't do it again.  According to state officials, the staffer answered "yes" when asked by the system if he was sure he wanted to send the message.  He wasn't even aware of his mistake until mobile phones near him began displaying the alert.

"This guy feels bad, right.  He's not doing this on purpose.  It was a mistake on his part and he feels terrible about it," explained Hawaii EMA administrator Vern Miyagi, a former Army major general.  But Miyagi declined to say that the staffer would face any disciplinary actions.  Richard Rapoza, the official spokesman for EMA, declined to identify the errant employee and added, "At this point, our major concern is to make sure we do what we need to do to reassure the public.  This is not a time for pointing fingers."

I can't speak for the people of Hawaii, who have always impressed me as rather laid back, but I am not reassured that no serious consequences follow an error so fundamental.  It appears that others share my concern.

The repercussions are already beginning.  Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, lambasted state officials for not having reasonable safeguards in place.  "False alerts undermine public confidence in the alerting system and thus reduce their effectiveness during real emergencies," Pai said.  Brigette Namata, a television reporter in Honolulu, said it was "mind-boggling that we have officials here, we have state workers that are in charge of our public safety and a huge, egregious mistake like this happened."

But as former Hawaii state senator Sam Slom once observed to me, "[n]o state worker on Hawaii ever gets fired for anything."  Apologies are also very rare.

The largest ethnic group in Hawaii is Japanese-Americans.  I can assure you that the attitude taken by the state government they elect – dominated by Democrats forever – is the opposite of that in Japan, where a deep bow of apology is the bare minimum expected.  For instance, last October, top executives at Kobe Steel bowed to the public in a press conference called to apologize for false data on some of its products: