From the Assistant Editor

Message in the phone

Posted:  Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 7:00am

I doubt anyone except those in Hawaii Saturday morning could fully grasp what they felt after their phones reported there was a threat of an inbound ballistic missile, and that this was not a drill. That must have been a unique horror, and everyone there could probably use some therapy now that, thankfully, it was all a big mistake.

Human error. There’s no getting around it, even for the most important things, apparently. Not very reassuring, but, hey, anyone could have a bad day. There should have been more safeguards to prevent the message’s release.

That being said, aside from pointing out the need to review and possibly revise the process, the governmental gaff of astronomic proportions can give us all pause on a couple of questions: One, what would any of us do if Maine phones had gotten a missile message – where would we choose to go, who would we call? Home and family, the likely answers. Maybe it’s an unintended wake-up call reminding us, the future is not a given, due to a health emergency, a flash flood, a drunk driver, or the international unease that added to the believability of last week’s errant message.

The other question is a regional one: Does the presence of all that well-stored nuclear waste in Wiscasset make the prospect even scarier here? It would add to my concern. I have a lot of faith in the casks’ design, placement and security. But when it comes to a weapon of war in 2018, no matter how skilled or primitive the weapon’s design, I just think the waste’s continued presence, where it has not been planned to be permanently stored, is not an ideal situation. So to hear falsely a missile was inbound, might finally, after 51 years on the planet, be the first time I would faint.

And a lot of good that would do. Bottom line, I know Maine Yankee keeps paying taxes as long as the waste is here, and I know a lot of people make sure it stays safe, but for peace of mind and our not being a potential target for any level of destruction, I will be pleased to see the waste go and wish the removal would come sooner than it probably will.