Pranks and funny ideas can quickly escalate out of hand.
The idea of gathering enough people to storm a top secret US military base is outlandish and pretty hilarious on the surface, but when over a million people sign up for it, it’s going to attract attention from a fair few sources – and not all of them good.
The internet and its excitable users have been positively buzzing over a recent Facebook event called ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us’, which, as the title suggests, involves storming Area 51 with enough people to overpower the military base’s defences – presumably to get to the bottom of what’s there once and for all.
The man behind Facebook’s “Storm Area 51” page has come forward, calling it “kind of a joke,” and expressing fears that government agents would come knocking on his door.
Matty Roberts spoke to Nevada’s KLAS-TV via video call and expressed shock at how his humor has turned into a viral sensation.
“I posted it on like June 27th and it was kind of a joke,” Roberts said. “And then it waited for like three days and like 40 people, and then it just completely took off, out of nowhere. It’s pretty wild.”advertisement - story continues below
More than 1.8 million people have signed up on Facebook to storm the top secret military facility on Sept. 20th, with another 1.3 million expressing interest. The Air Force has warned the foolish that they will take all measures to defend the base if there is an attempt to breach its security.
Roberts is now speaking out in an attempt to calm the beast he created.
Robert’s did the right thing by speaking out, because the Air Force issued a stern warning to the 1.8 million people planning to storm Area 51.advertisement - story continues below
Speaking with The Washington Post on last week, U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said officials were aware of the Facebook event. When asked how authorities might respond to ardent explorers who may attempt to enter Area 51 in September, McAndrews said she could not elaborate on specific plans or security procedures at the base.
She did, however, issue a warning to those itching to try their luck.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train America armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
But she failed to elaborate on specific details around how officials would react to potential intruders.advertisement - story continues below
Area 51 is a highly classified zone around 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, part of the Edwards Air Force Base. No one really knows what the base is used for, though it’s speculated to be for aircraft development, and as such Area 51 has become a source of public intrigue.
For decades, Americans were told Area 51 didn’t exist at all. That notion was officially debunked in 2013 when the CIA confirmed its existence through documents obtained in a public records request by George Washington University.
Yes, Area 51 is definitely real – and even though the report indicated it was nothing more than an aircraft-testing facility and mentioned nothing about extraterrestrial life, the revelation gave credence to conspiracy theories alleging the government uses the base to hide aliens and their spacecraft. The CIA has since published information about test flights that took place there, and the alien aspects in many of those theories have been debunked.
But then in 2017, the Pentagon confirmed the existence of a $22 million government program to analyze “anomalous aerospace threats” – a.k.a. UFOs – giving alien-obsessed kooks fresh fodder for their conjectures.
Even though the facility is not publicly accessible, the area around Area 51 is a popular tourist destination, sprinkled with alien-themed motels, museums and restaurants. (In 1996, Nevada renamed state Route 375 to “Extraterrestrial Highway”) But those who venture too far into the land surrounding the base are greeted with warning signs indicating they could be fined or jailed for trespassing and taking photos.
Some signs suggest those who enter could be subject to “deadly force.”
A tour bus carting four passengers near Area 51 in 2014 inadvertently drove through the warning signs and entered the base, Las Vegas Now reported. The truck was stopped by men in “military garb,” and everyone in the vehicle was threatened with a misdemeanor conviction and $650 fine. The incident was caught on video, making it obvious the tour’s passengers thought it was all part of the experience. Only the driver was charged.
Photos: Google images