OPINION: I don’t want Donald Trump texting me


Kiera O'Hara-Heinz

The alert caused the many phones of SCHS to vibrate.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 11:18 a.m. PDT, phones all across SCHS and the United States received a notification, seemingly from President Donald Trump.

The message, which was received by over 225 million phones, read “Presidential Alert- THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The system, established during the Obama Administration, was tested for the first time Wednesday. It was created to warn the country about national emergencies, such as natural disasters or terror attacks. Though similar to an Amber Alert, the notification cannot be turned off.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the group in charge of the alert, the notification was not sent from President Trump directly but rather by several government agencies, FEMA and the White House working together.

This raises a question: If President Trump is not the person in charge of the alert, why is it called the Presidential Alert? Emergency Alert or National Alert makes more sense. Calling it the Presidential Alert may help feed President Trump’s egoism, and he is not the most qualified person to be issuing a national alert.

President Trump’s Twitter feed is notorious for its spelling and grammar mistakes, most of which he blames on autocorrect. If he becomes the person sending the alert, autocorrect may pose a serious issue.

In the past year, emergency alert systems proved to be unreliable. In January 2018, a false alert went out to residents in Hawaii informing them of a ballistic missile threat. The false alert caused widespread panic and a repeat of the incident on a national level could be disastrous.

Although officials say the alert system will not be used for personal uses by the president, some still worry of Trump using the alert system for the wrong reasons, such as for personal use and ranting as he does on Twitter. Or he decides an emergency is the White House running out of steak.

Although having a system to warn the country of an emergency is a good idea, it gives too much power to a person who believes the death toll in Puerto Rico was a personal attack against him.

Some feel the alert is a breach of privacy, and they feel they should not have been required to receive the message. Like many Americans, I have no problem receiving a notification of a real emergency that threatens my safety, but I don’t want Donald Trump texting me.