Photo credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

Saturday’s brief missile scare is destined to become an obscure bit of trivia, especially after our idiot president inevitably fires a nuclear missile at, like, Luxembourg, over construction delays in the building of another gaudy Trump property. It already seems surreal and dreamlike that just yesterday, for 20 minutes, it seemed very much like we were going to see Hawaii get wiped out in a mushroom cloud. I don’t mind saying, for about 15 minutes there I was absolutely terrified. I can’t even imagine what actual residents of Hawaii were going through.

Kolten Wong, second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, was in St. Louis yesterday, participating in the club’s annual Winter Warm-Up. Wong grew up in Hawaii, and his family is still in Hawaii, and so you can imagine, the false alarm caused a period of sheer panic and terror for the Wong family, as those of them on Hawaii worried about getting vaporized in a nuclear explosion, and the one Wong in St. Louis tried frantically to contact his loved ones. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talked to Kolten Wong about those awful minutes (video here):

“I was freaking out,” Wong said. “It’s something you don’t know what to do. A missile is basically coming to take out Hawaii. From what I’ve read and what I know about it, it takes 15 minutes for a missile to get from Korea to Hawaii.

“It’s insane to be put in this situation and to think, ‘This could be the end.’ Just crazy time.”

“Honestly, I was in shock at first trying to figure out who to call, what to call,” he said. “Called my brother, he didn’t answer. He was frantically packing at the time. I called my dad. He just woke up because of the phone. It was a crazy situation.”

Obviously the scene on the ground in Hawaii was chaotic, as Kolten learned from his brother, Kean, a prospect in the Rays minor league system, who was on the Big Island when the alert was sent:

“He got the text sleeping during the morning on the cliff and just started panicking,” Kolten said. “He said the whole line down the beach was panicking. People were throwing their chairs into the cars, fishing poles into the cars, just hauling out trying to find cover or find something to do.”


Kolten gave his assessment of Hawaii’s readiness to deal with a missile strike to Jenifer Langosch of

“We don’t have underground shelters there. We don’t have basements. If that thing hits, it wipes out everything.”

Probably you’d like to forget all about Saturday’s hysterics as quickly as possible, but I recommend reading the full report. From thousands of miles away from any real danger it can seem like yesterday’s false alarm was just a massively embarrassing communications error, but it sure takes on new meaning when you read accounts like these, and see videos of panicking adults stuffing frightened children down manholes. Imagine being the poor idiot who “pushed the wrong button.”