By Len Wilcox
You can take a joke too far, as a young man from Bakersfield, CA, found out recently. He didn’t realize that just the mention of “Area 51” fires up a lot of people. So many people took his joke about storming Area 51 seriously that some of them – maybe as many as 2 million – are actually thinking they could pull it off.
Matty Roberts is a 20-year-old college student. One day in June he was listening to a podcast about Area 51. That’s the secret Air Force and CIA base out in the middle of Nevada. Legend has it that this is where the military is keeping those aliens recovered at Roswell and other UFO crash sites.
Matty decided he wanted to “see them aliens” and created a Facebook page about that. He said that if we all storm Area 51 together, like a mob, some of us could make it in. Like he said: “They can’t get us all.”
He quickly learned what going viral meant. It meant that his idea was picked up by media around the country, then around the world, and millions of people loved it. Most people got the joke, but there are some that didn’t – they are dead serious. They are willing to charge Area 51 – run across the desert in a mad dash to see what they can see.
I sure hope they reconsider. I’ve been to that particular desert. OK, I went to Area 51 years ago. Actually, just to the edge of it; I didn’t even want to go onto the property. It was a hot winter day, around 100 degrees, and not a bit of water around. It was brutal country and the base was still many miles away. And there were those guys in the pickup truck on the hill above, waiting to make sure I left.
I did, however, stop at the little tourist trap on the highway and ate a burger at the “Little A’Le’Inn” (which is booked solid for the “Storm Area 51” event, BTW). Somehow I managed to resist the glitzy little spacemen and flying saucers for sale in the gift shop. I didn’t even get a T-shirt.
The desert is a dangerous place for people not prepared for it. I hope those folks that are coming will just stop in Las Vegas. The people there will know what to do with ‘em, as long as they brought plenty of money.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View.
Read previous Western Views articles here.
Do you have a topic you’d like Len to write about? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org