RACHEL, NV. – One of only about 100 ended up in handcuffs early early Friday morning in the Nevada desert. The plan was concocted as an idle bit of social media fun that people would storm the infamous Area 51.
It was just a meme. Matty Roberts, 21, who lives with his parents in Bakersfield, California, never expected everyone to take the Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All of Us hubbub seriously.
But they did.
Eventually Matty distanced himself from the whole affair as it became clear he might be a bit too effective at his now-world-famous and historical meme-making. Hey, he’s just a video gamer kid who was just yukking it up with his Sponge Bob meme, not trying to start a cosmic war.
For weeks people have been signing on to show up, law enforcement and military have made statements and beefed up their already beefy security for the curious-minded interlopers who make sojourns to the enormous desert mystery.
On September, two Dutch Youtubers were arrested for getting a little too close.
At first the Facebook joke was just that, but gained seriousness as tens, dozens, scores, hundreds, thousands, and then over a million people pledged to show up and demand to know what the military base near Groom Lake was housing.
The Air Force eventually, gradually, was forced to take it serious and discourage anyone thinking of showing up to think again. The formerly nonexistent military base was acknowledged by officials as being real as more people began forcing the issue. The myths and conspiracies, as it turned out, were true.
But today there were not millions, there were no aliens or spaceships (not visible, at least) and the Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee wound up arresting one “guy” for indecent exposure from Canada because he urinated near the gate, according to USA Today.
Sheriff Lee has spent the past eight weeks trying to manage the unknowable. Were millions actually going to show up? Viral social media storms are as tempestuous as Mother Nature’s often, so he couldn’t take any changes.
Rachel, Nevada, which dubs itself the “UFO Capital of the World” is on State Route 375 and is the closest inhabited area to Area 51, which jokes about aliens or not, is a highly classified test and training range that has more secrets than it might ought.
A fun festival for people who believe, or don’t, maybe a little bit of both, are just having a little fun and helping the local economy.
And probably giving the Air Force personnel guarding the Area 51 gates a little chuckle.
They moved them underground and to other D.U.M.B.s like Dulce.