In June, college student Matty Roberts created a Facebook event tited ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,’ listed to take place on Sept. 20.
While the event was supposedly a joke, the extensive amount of online engagement had people wondering: Will people actually storm Area 51?
Area 51 is a classified United States Air Force facility located in Lincoln County, Nevada. The facility has been the subject of a large amount of science fiction media, such as TV shows like ‘The X-Files’ and movies like ‘Independence Day.’ It has been a large focus of conspiracy theories and paranormal investigations for years.
Because of the infamous amount of security at the facility, people are curious about what the United States government is keeping inside. The most popular guess is aliens.
“There are definitely aliens in Area 51, and if there weren’t, Howard the alien would not be alive,” senior Berto Bell said. “And Howard the alien is the sustenance for us meme lords.”
The goal of the raid was to ‘See them Aliens’ and to uncover all the other secrets Area 51 was believed to hold. Social media sites have thousands of memes and other posts dedicated to the subject.
“The memes are my favorite part about the whole thing,” junior Andrew Schuler said. “I think actually storming Area 51 is a horrible idea, but it’s fun to read and laugh about.”
The government has not taken the matter lightly. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said that the protection of the national secrets inside Area 51 is being taken very seriously. Authorities were prepared to secure any threat to the facility and advised people not to participate in the event.
“It’s kind of a threat to national security,” Schuler said. “There is a lot of important technology and other things in there that could be pretty dangerous, and people could get hurt.”
After claiming that the event was meant to be a joke, Roberts attempted to plan a music festival, called Alienstock, in an attempt to convince the 2 million people that said they would attend on the original Facebook post not to raid the facility. Due to a lack of preparation, the festival was cancelled, but people were still determined to be in the area at the time of the raid.
“I think people were just too invested in the raid at that point,” Bell said. “You can’t stop the meme.”
The security of Area 51 was not the only issue officials were facing with the raid. The health and safety of the people that travel to Nevada was a priority as well. Along with a lack of available hotels, the area around the facility does not have a gas station for 50 miles outside of town. The desert is known for its hot, dry conditions, and local officials were worried that people would jeopardize their safety.
“It’s a government facility and there are probably countless things that we have no idea about in there,” Bell said. “They have guns and we don’t, and those people aren’t going to accomplish anything.”
At around 3 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, about 100 people showed up outside of the facility, proving to some that the raid was nothing more than internet hype. But the question as to what secrets lie in Area 51 still remains.
“If the universe is as big as the scientists are saying is, then it’s highly probable that there are aliens,” Schuler said. “While storming Area 51 would be fun and exciting, I like the mystery of not knowing.”
By: Emily Chambliss, Feature Writer