Now although AT&T verified that this emergency alert was a mistake, it still leaves me wondering: can the U.S. government utilize these emergency alerts at any time they want for any reason they want?

They already have the “Wireless Emergency Alert" system shipping out with every new smart phone, where you get mandatory 'Presidential alerts' whenever the government feels like it has to issue its edicts directly to its subjects.

I feel as though there’s something really depressing and sad and eerie about all these videos released showing these people just before they do unspeakable acts (the Canada shooter, the abductor of that young woman, hatchet man). The horror inherent in these videos is levels more terrifying than actually seeing it, because our minds are meant to construct what happened to these poor people just after the people in question walked out of view. This effect on the psyche of the viewer cannot be underestimated.
A cynical man would say: “That’s exactly the point of showing it.”

People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as ‘parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.
—  Jason Read