Taking a quick glance around the bustling metropolis of Honolulu you’d never know that the Sandwich Islands faced a potential missile threat from the errand communist state of North Korea. Japanese, American, and European tourists are still patiently strolling down Kalakaua Avenue, taking pictures with the Waikiki Beach Boys, eating overpriced Cheeseburgers in Paradise at a restaurant that bears a similar name, and drinking florescent-colored beverages at Duke’s, all the while remaining seemingly oblivious or apathetic to a recent statement from the Obama administration that North Korea may have intentions of launching a ballistic missile toward the island chain as early as July 4.
Despite the ominous threat from the White House, daily business remains eerily normal here in Hawaii. But then again, things aren’t always what they appear.
“They’re gonna shoot a missile towards Hawaii?” said Kauai native Tyler Newton when asked about his thoughts on the subject. “That sucks. I guess I’m glad I’m in California for a contest right now, huh.”
Driving along the H-1 Freeway headed north passed Pearl Harbor and you can’t help but realize that there is something missing from the seascape. Amid the half-dozen or so battleships and cruisers that line the militarized harbor, the oddest of vessels in Uncle Sam’s armada remains notably absent: the Golf Ball.
Technically a mammoth-sized radar sphere, the “Golf Ball” as it commonly known among Hawaiian civvies, is nowhere to be found at Pearl Harbor.
Reports from residents living along the eastern and northern shores of Kauai, the most northern island in the chain, state that the Golf Ball has been seen off the coast of their island recently. According to a statement from the Department of Defense, antimissile interceptors and radar equipment—err, the Golf Ball—are in place and ready to defend the islands from a possible strike.
If delivered into the atmosphere, the projectile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 missile with a range of up to 4,000 miles, is reported to be launched from North Korea’s Dongchang-ni site on the northwestern coast of the state. The Hawaiian Islands are situated 4,500 miles from the Korean coast, 500 miles out of the missiles expected range.
As was aforementioned, it’s business as usual in the Aloha State in spite of the threat. For those aware of the potential launch, the overwhelming sentiment is that it’s just a nasty case of saber-rattling on the part of North Korea and it is by no means anything to lose sleep over.
According to a recent report published by the New York Times, Robert G. F. Lee, the director of the State Department of Defense, holds firm to the belief that the North Korean threat is indeed more saber-rattling than anything else. He also questioned the distance capabilities of the missile but added that the state was ready for hostile action just the same.
North Shore standout Flynn Novak echoed Lee’s sentiment and shared his own sense of apathy mixed with a bit of laconic humor.
“Yeah, I heard about that whole thing with the North Korean missile, and to be honest, I think they’re just bullshitting and I don’t think anything will happen with it,” said Novak, “but I’m still scheduled to be out of the state on a trip for the Fourth of July,” he added with a laugh.