— Forbes (@Forbes) September 20, 2019
These are the brave souls on the frontline of the #Area51storm . Remember their faces and appreciate the sacrifice they are about to make in pursuit of Alien Booty & Freedom! #StormingArea51 pic.twitter.com/3944Un5n78
— OldDirtyBrett (@OldDirtyBrett) September 20, 2019
One the one hand, it’s sad we’ve got so much overtly political idiocy that there’s not enough space to mock mere ‘viral’ stupidity. On the other hand, Facebook ‘pranksters’ don’t need any more encouragement. Per Kotaku:
… “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” began as a joke Facebook event earlier this year. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens,” the post read. Two million people hit “Going.” There were plans for a music fest called “Alienstock.” But in the intervening months, the Facebook event’s creator has condemned the initiative, citing a lack of infrastructure and safety issues, and the event has been removed. A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force told the Washington Post that 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 American armed forces.”
Today is the planned date of the event, and according to 13 Action News, Rachel, Nevada, is still preparing for an onslaught of alien truthers and Naruto fans…
— Popular Mechanics (@PopMech) September 20, 2019
Original ‘organizer’ Matty Roberts actually disowned the event some days ago, per the Washington Post (Sept. 10)…
… Dueling accusations of dishonesty and sabotage have derailed “Alienstock” — a Woodstock for alien watchers — which creator Matty Roberts promoted as alternative programming to any plans to storm the base on Sept. 20 despite officials’ warnings.
With just over a week to go until the event, Roberts and the host town’s website are both comparing Alienstock to the Fyre Festival, which was supposed to be held in April and May of 2017 in the Bahamas but became synonymous with “epic failure” and led to a fraud conviction. Roberts has pulled his name and support from the three-day gathering in Rachel, Nev., but the owner of a motel in the town who had signed up as a partner plans to go ahead…
For Roberts, it all fell apart unexpectedly. But the town of Rachel — where residents were reportedly less than pleased with the “Storm Area 51” media swarm — has expressed less surprise.
The outcome was “just as we had predicted,” the town’s website declares in red lettering. Officials in two counties prepared earlier to declare emergencies, unsure how many people might descend on rural Nevada.
Roberts and fellow organizer Frank DiMaggio blame their ex-partner on the ground in Rachel: the inn owner who they say was handling most of the logistics and became increasingly evasive about her preparations as the big date approached. Little A’Le’Inn proprietor Connie West accuses them of betrayal, saying she has lined up the necessary infrastructure and support staff, confirmed performers and sold 2,400 camp sites…
… Which didn’t prevent a couple of young Dutch YouTubers — veterans, no doubt, of the Dutch tradition of “dropping” — from getting arrested in the interim, per NYMag:
… According to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office, vloggers Ties Granzier, 20, and Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep, 21, walked three miles (!) into Area 51 before they were detained and questioned. Upon their detainment, Granzier and Sweep granted the authorities permission to review their footage, which I have to imagine means that the footage is now gone forever.
In classic influencer style, Ties posted a photo to Instagram stating his plans to break into Area 51 before going on to break into Area 51. (Many of the comments now read #freeties.) Ties and Sweep told officials they had seen and understood the many “No Trespassing” signs posted at the site, but had “wanted to see the facility” anyway. Can’t argue with that!…
Per CNN, the government has no sense of humor about this issue:
… The two pleaded guilty to trespassing and illegal parking, both misdemeanors, Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said. They were sentenced to a year in jail. But that sentence was suspended and the two will spend a total of three days in the county jail if they pay a fine of $2,280 each on Thursday — when they’re scheduled to be released.
They have additionally given up the electronic equipment found at the time of their arrest, Arabia said.
“It was important to us that these men serve jail time and pay a substantial financial penalty,” he said. “We take this crime seriously. And people need to understand that we will not put up with this kind of nonsense.”…
— KTNV Action News (@KTNV) September 20, 2019