Hawaii lawmaker denies fear mongering in counter-terrorism flyer

Hawaii lawmaker denies fear mongering in counter-terrorism flyer
Published: Apr. 9, 2016 at 1:48 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Is Hawaii safe? That's the question Hawaii Representative Gene Ward is asking in a flyer to promote his forum on public safety and counter-terrorism next Tuesday.

In the flyer, he claims the Aloha State is at risk after the recent terror attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels.

"We always assume 'Hey we're in Hawaii, we're safe, there's no problem around here' but are we really safe?" asked Ward.

Some critics say the flyer, which depicts images of an ISIS flag and a soldier holding an assault rifle over a crowded Waikiki Beach, is taking it too far.

"I think it's very sensationalist to have the flag of ISIS flying over Waikiki when there's not a credible threat to Hawaii," said Hawaii News Now Political Analyst Colin Moore. "Seems fear mongering to me."

Ward says those are not his intentions and clarifies that no discussions about ISIS will take place at the forum. Topics will include terrorism, identifying threats and how to survive an active shooter. There will also be presentations by the Honolulu Police Department, FBI, Coast Guard, and TSA.

"Terrorism includes active shooters and international terrorism," said Ward. "The point of that is to get peoples' attention and know that we are not immune and Waikiki is a place that's out there."

Nonetheless, critics say the flyer should be reconsidered.

"I'm surprised that a state representative would have put his name on a flyer like this," said Moore. "I think it should be withdrawn and a more neutral flyer that actually explains what the forum will be about should be resubmitted."

The FBI reiterates there is no credible threat targeting Hawaii or the Pacific at this time.

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