very ill conceived alert system

Californians get awoken at night, for no good reason.

Californians got a startling late-night introduction to a statewide emergency alert system when their cell phones began buzzing, blaring and flashing with the news that a pair of San Diego County siblings had been kidnapped.

I feel for the victims and their parents, but this is stupid. This feature will be turned off very quickly or simply ignored in the event that it can’t be turned off. There is nothing anyone asleep in bed can do to prevent this sort of thing or alleviate the suffering caused by the perpetrator of the crime. The logical impact of this system is to keep people living in fear for their own family’s safety; or more mundanely, the impact might be more accidents for those who are on the road when they get these sorts of alerts.

Another perspective seems to conform to my opinion above (emphasis added below).

[An attorney and legal analyst] likens the situation to the history of car alarms, which began to go off so frequently that people ignored them….

But the backlash is coming because of the manner of the alert. One woman is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as not being able to sleep after the alert went off 12 times overnight. Another man was mocked by a standup comedian who made fun of an ambulance sound coming from his pants. And others have said they felt afraid when the sounds have gone off on planes.

Defending the system was this perspective:

“The problem is lack of public education about what this is,” says However. “This is meant to be a helpful warning, like of dangerous weather coming to an area or any other imminent threat. It’s exactly the same as any other TV or radio warning.”

Nonsense. The problem isn’t the lack of public education. It’s the use of a system that should perhaps be used for true emergencies like nuclear fallout, not Amber Alerts or stormy weather, assuming we need this sort of system at all.

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