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Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us

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Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us
Area51 Aerial photograph.jpg
Aerial photo of Area 51
DateSeptember 20, 2019 (2019-09-20)
LocationLincoln County, Nevada
Also known asRaid Area 51, Storm Area 51
CauseFacebook Event
MotiveFind extraterrestrial life

Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us is an American Facebook event currently planned for September 20, 2019 at Area 51, a United States Air Force (USAF) facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, to raid the site in search for extraterrestrial life. The event was created by Matty Roberts, who confirmed it was comedic and disavowed responsibility for any casualties if people actually attempt to raid the military base.[1] Roberts posted the event on June 27, 2019.[1] Over 2 million people have responded "going" and 1.5 million "interested" on the event's page.[2][3][4][5][6]

Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said government officials knew about the event and discouraged people from attempting to enter military property.[7] Nevada law enforcement also warned potential participants in the event against trespassing.[8] The event, although purely comedic, has had an effect on businesses both locally in Nevada and around the United States, which are creating preparations for visitors and products for both those "going" and others who are interested.

Background

Warning sign near Area 51

Area 51 has been the subject of conspiracy theories regarding aliens since the 1950s, when some individuals reported seeing UFOs at the location of the base, around the time the military started flying CIA U2 spy planes in the area. The CIA declassified documents related to Area 51 and recognized its existence in 2013.[9] Conspiracy theorists believe aliens, UFOs, or secrets related to them are stored at Area 51.[10][11] In June 2019, The Pentagon provided a briefing on UFOs encountered by Navy pilots to members of Congress.[12] U.S. president Donald Trump had also been briefed on UFOs.[13]

College student Matty Roberts, the creator of the event, came up with the idea after watching Area 51 conspiracy theorist Bob Lazar and filmmaker Jeremy Corbell on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on June 20, 2019.[14][15] Lazar claimed to have worked with alien spacecraft when working at an underground facility at Area 51.[15][16]

Facebook event and Internet meme

Matty Roberts, also known as video game streamer SmyleeKun,[8] created the event on Facebook on June 27 as a joke, not imagining the viral spread the event would receive.[17] The event plans for the raid in Amargosa Valley from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. PDT on September 20, 2019.[1][7][8] The Facebook event writes, "If we naruto run [sic], we can move faster than their bullets. Lets [sic] see them aliens", referring to the unique running style of anime character Naruto Uzumaki and several other characters, who run with their arms stretched behind them, head down and torso tilted forward.[5][12][18] Roberts said the event had around 40 signatures 3 days into the event's listing and then suddenly went viral.[1][19] The meme possibly spread first on the app TikTok, as well as Reddit and Instagram later.[20] The Facebook page for the event is filled with thousands of satirical posts discussing the best way to break into Area 51.[7] After the viral spread of the meme, Roberts was worried that he would receive a visit from the FBI.[19][15] The event received 2 million "Going" and another 1.5 million "Interested" signatures as of August 22.[15] Roberts has since made plans to organize a music festival based on the event known as "Alienstock."[21]

Rapper Lil Nas X released a music video for the Young Thug and Mason Ramsey remix of "Old Town Road" about the planned raid.[22][23][24]

Copycat events such as plans to storm a genealogical vault of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,[25] Loch Ness,[26] and the Bermuda Triangle[27] have also been created. In the Netherlands a left wing meme page known as "Memes for the Masses" created "Storm the Education Implementation Office Headquaters" event as a protest to student loans [28]

Government response

On July 10, speaking with The Washington Post, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said officials were aware of the event, and issued a warning saying: "[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", adding: "The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets".[7] A public information officer at Nellis Air Force Base told KNPR that "any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged".[29] A viral Reddit post showed what it claimed to be an Air Force briefing on the Naruto run.[30]

Impact

Lincoln County

In August 2019, Lincoln County officials drafted an emergency declaration and a plan to pool resources with neighboring counties, anticipating the region being overwhelmed by a crowd of 40,000 people. The county has just 184 hotel rooms, and officials expected the local cellphone network to be unable to cope with the additional traffic, as well as expressing concern over crowding at campsites, gas stations and public medical services.[31]

The town of Rachel posted a caution on its website, advising attendees to be "experienced in camping, hiking and surviving in a harsh desert environment and have a vehicle in good shape". They advised that the town would likely be unable to provide sufficient food, water or gas to visitors, and expected local law enforcement to be "overwhelmed". The website warned that local residents would be ready to "step up to protect their property", adding that "It will get ugly."[32]

Business

Business owners in Rachel, Nevada, a town of just 56 people just outside of the base, have made preparations for visitors who want to go to Area 51.[29][33] Connie West, co-owner of the Little A'Le'Inn restaurant and inn, has had all 13 rooms of the inn booked and plans to open up 30 acres for camping and might create merchandise for the event.[5][29][33] Las Vegas businessman George Harris is planning to hire bands to play at an annual festival called "The Swarm".[29] Matty Roberts has also expressed interest in a music festival to be made outside Area 51.[17] Kosmic Kae, owner of the shop Aliens R Us in Boulder City, says that even though the shop is 170 miles away from Area 51, business has increased due to fascination regarding aliens.[34]

Other businesses around the U.S. have based products and services on this event. A collection of merchandise related to the event from online retailers was launched.[35] Bud Light plans to release a promotional alien-themed beer label and promised a free beer to "any alien that makes it out" as long as a tweet with the new design gets 51,000 retweets.[36][37][38][39] Fast food restaurant Arby's has planned to deliver food with a special menu to the event.[40]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Betz, Bradford (July 17, 2019). "Creator of 'Storm Area 51' comes forward after satirical Facebook page takes off". Fox News. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  2. ^ Montanaro, David (July 16, 2019). "'Storm Area 51' social media movement is 'getting somewhat out of hand,' says UFO expert". Fox News.
  3. ^ Allyn, Bobby (July 15, 2019). "More Than 1 Million People Agree To 'Storm Area 51,' But The Air Force Says Stay Home". NPR.
  4. ^ Matei, Adrienne (July 16, 2019). "1.5 million people have signed up to storm Area 51. What could go wrong?". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b c Fortin, Jacey (July 15, 2019). "Storm Area 51? It's a Joke, but the Air Force Is Concerned". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Boom, Daniel Van (July 16, 2019). "1.3 million want to raid Area 51 to 'see them aliens'". CNET.
  7. ^ a b c d Brice-Saddler, Michael. "Half a million people signed up to storm Area 51. What happens if they actually show?". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ a b c Whalen, Andrew (July 16, 2019). "Nevada Law Enforcement Already Overreacting To Area 51 Raids' Naruto Runners". Newsweek. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "Area 51 Is the Internet's Latest Fascination. Here's Everything to Know About the Mysterious Site". Time. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Youn, Soo. "Half a million people pledge to storm Area 51 to 'see them aliens'". ABC News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Lou, Michelle. "Forget Area 51. This Oklahoma animal shelter wants you to raid it instead". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "More than 600,000 people sign up to raid Area 51 military base to 'see them aliens'". The Independent. July 13, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Choi, Matthew. "Trump says he was briefed on Navy sightings of UFOs". Politico. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  14. ^ PowerfulJRE (June 20, 2019), Joe Rogan Experience #1315 - Bob Lazar & Jeremy Corbell, retrieved July 21, 2019
  15. ^ a b c d Prior, Ryan. "Meet the guy behind the 'Area 51' page. He's terrified of what he's created". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Willingham, A. J. (July 17, 2019). "Area 51: A travel guide for the person who signed up for the raid but isn't ready to storm the gate". CNN Travel. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  17. ^ a b Youn, Soo. "College student floats idea of 'Area 51' festival after joke invitation catches fire". ABC News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  18. ^ Phelan, James (2014). The Last 13. ISBN 9781742831961. OCLC 896985116.
  19. ^ a b Haring, Bruce (July 18, 2019). "Area 51 Facebook Prankster Comes Forward For TV Interview, Claims It Was A Joke". Deadline. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  20. ^ Bryant, Kenzie (July 15, 2019). "The Absolute Joy and Utter Relief of the Teens' Area 51 Conspiracy Memes". Vanity Fair. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  21. ^ McClusky, Megan (August 20, 2019). "Here's Everything We Know So Far About Storm Area 51's 'Alienstock' Festival". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  22. ^ "Lil Nas X raids Area 51 in new animated "Old Town Road" music video". CBS News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  23. ^ Zemler, Emily (July 17, 2019). "Watch Lil Nas X Storm Area 51 in Animated Video for 'Old Town Road'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  24. ^ Maxouris, Christina. "Lil Nas X is ready for the Area 51 raid. And his new 'Old Town Road' music video proves it". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  25. ^ Tanner, Courtney (July 20, 2019). "There's a Utah version of the Area 51 raid. It's called 'Storm the Church Vault.'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  26. ^ "There's a Warning for the Thousands Who Signed Up to 'Storm Loch Ness' Because 'Nessie Can't Hide From Us All'". Time. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  27. ^ Croucher, Shane (July 17, 2019). "Area 51 raid spawns rival event: "Storm the Bermuda Triangle, It Can't Swallow All of Us"". Newsweek. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  28. ^ "NA OPROEP VOOR AREA 51-BESTORMING NU OOK DUO AAN DE BEURT". funx.
  29. ^ a b c d "Bring It! Biz Owners Welcome Million-Person March To Area 51". Nevada Public Radio. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Valdez, Nick (July 20, 2019). "Area 51 Raid Prompts Official Military Lessons on Naruto Running". Comic Book. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  31. ^ "Area 51 events in Nevada prompt emergency crowd planning". AP NEWS. August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  32. ^ "Storming Area 51 started as a joke. But it's a mystery as to how many will show up". Los Angeles Times. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  33. ^ a b "Tiny Nevada town at the center of 'Storm Area 51'". KTNV. July 17, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  34. ^ Santos, Rachel (July 19, 2019). "Business booms over Area 51 hype". WILX-TV. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  35. ^ Banias, MJ (July 19, 2019). "The 'Storm Area 51' Event Has Turned Into a Marketing Stunt". Vice. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  36. ^ Beer, Jeff (July 19, 2019). "If the Area 51 raid happens, Bud Light promises to be its official beer". Fast Company. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  37. ^ Kim, Allen. "Bud Light is offering free beer to any alien that makes it out of Area 51". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  38. ^ "Here's why Area 51 is in your news feed". PolitiFact. July 12, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  39. ^ Moreira, Gabrielle (July 17, 2019). "Bud Light offers Free Special Edition Beer to any Alien that makes it out of Area 51". fox5ny.com. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  40. ^ Moreira, Gabrielle (July 26, 2019). "Arby's Plans to Bring the Meats to Viral Storm Area 51 Raid". fox10phoenix.com. Retrieved July 26, 2019.

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