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Storming of Area 51 canceled

Jessie Garrison 

Head Copy Editor 

Associate Opinion Editor

Aliens made national news over the summer when Matty Roberts, a college student, created a Facebook page urging conspiracy theorists to storm Area 51, a hidden military base in the desert of Nevada. The event scheduled for September 20, 2019, quickly became viral with over two million people interested in “naruto running” into Area 51 to “clap dem cheeks.”

Background

Area 51 is an Airforce Military base secretly located in southern Nevada, reported by the Encyclopedia of Britannica. Since the 1980s, Area 51 is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Many people believe that Area 51 is hiding an alien spacecraft. CNN has reported that Area 51 is used as the  “…Nevada Test and Training Range.” More specifically, “Today it is used as an open training range for the US Air Force.”

However, for the 60 or so years of Area 51’s existence, there have been numerous reports of alien sightings. The government site for Roswell, New Mexico specifically reports “something” flying in the air during a severe thunderstorm. It wasn’t until the 1980s when Stanton Friedman, a leading UFO researcher, began investigating the incident. From his investigation many others began investigating the incident however, the researchers kept coming up short. There were still no clear answers on what the debris was WW Mack Brazel recovered on his ranch farm, the only thing clear is the military quickly retrieved the debris from the rancher. 

What is even more interesting about the history of Area 51 is that there is no record of when exactly Area 51 was built. The United States public can assume it was built after April 12, 1955 because in the timeline provided by CNN, the first time finding Groom Lake, Area 51, and decided the place would be a great location to test U-2 Missiles, the spot was founded by CIA officer Richard Bissel and colleagues and documented in “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974.”  

A recent poll was conducted by YouGov asking Americans if they believe the US government knows more about UFOs then what is being reported. After the New York Times spoke to the US Navy about potential UFO sightings in 2014 and 2015, YouGov conducted a poll that concluded, “54% of Americans believe the government knows something about UFOs that is not being shared with the public.” 

Much like a majority of the public, Matty Roberts a 21-year-old college student with plans on studying engineering, believes aliens exist. Even more so, he believes in the conspiracy theory that Area 51 homes information to aliens. Roberts created a Facebook post “jokingly” telling the public to storm Area 51 in order to get answers to the alien conspiracies. 

Facebook Joke Turned Meme Turned Music Festival 

About a month after the initial post went viral, Roberts was overwhelmed with the response and urged the public that the whole event started out as a joke. Roberts’ joke first appeared on Facebook in June of 2019. However, after a month of radio silence on the post, another user posted Roberts’ post to Reddit. From there the Roberts’ suggestion to raid Area 51 turned into a Facebook page and event. Within weeks the page had over 2 million followers. Even more recently, the page was removed from Facebook.

 After visits with the FBI due to the quick rise of the Facebook page, Roberts decided that he would organize a music festival, the Alienstock Festival. According to Alienstock’s website, Roberts and other organizers chose to cancel the event, “due to the lack of infrastructure, planning, and risk management, along with concerns raised for the safety of the expected 10,000+ attendees, we decided to transition Alienstock away from the Rachel festival towards a safer alternative.”

 Additionally, the webpage urged that it will “…no longer offer our logo, social media, website or Matty Roberts likeness or scheduled appearance. In short, the relationship has ended permanently.” The reason for Roberts and others to suddenly back out is because they “…foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”

However, at the end of the homepage, Roberts and other organizers have pointed to the event being canceled temporarily as, “[the festival has] grown into much more than a location. [The Festival is] a phenomenon that can only promise absolute safety and peace, and we need to move the Festival to guarantee that. Stay tuned for more news… it’s BIG!”