Public not in on ‘Area 51’ raid joke


Anyone who has read stuff on the Internet, through websites like, knows that much of the content is put up as a joke. But sometimes that joke is taken seriously to the point that it’s reported on in national news, and talked about by millions of people.

What I am talking about in this specific instance is the ridiculous topic of the planned “raid” on Area 51 to “see them aliens” once and for all. The topic was brought up originally as an obvious internet joke, but has spun out of control to the point where many in the public are taking this jest as serious news.

For those who do not know, and must have lived under a rock for the last 40 years, Area 51 is the public’s name for the Groom Lake military facility located in the middle of nowhere in the desert of Nevada. The facility, up until the early 2000s did not exist according to the United States government, which vehemently denied it even existed. This was until President Obama, during his term, admitted the site existed.

Before this, however, Area 51 was very real to the conspiracy theory public, which believes the base is a testing facility for alien spacecraft somehow acquired by the government. The secret base, which is heavily monitored by security, is also the alleged location of actual aliens and other technology from beyond the Milky Way.

Why else would the government have a secret military installation in the middle of the desert? It must be space aliens and UFOs they’re guarding in the desert! Although the government has neither confirmed nor denied the purpose of the military facility, it most likely was being used, and still is, for testing experimental aircraft that was used by the military, including our U2 spy aircraft.

But because there are not tours of the military facility, or an open house event, the public really does not know what is going on in the base. This is what I believe prompted the Internet joke of storming Area 51 to actually find out what is there with a Facebook page called “Storm Area 51: They Can’t Stop All Of Us” that has garnered more than half a million people to sign up for the “event.”

The group claims that “they can’t stop us all” and that if we “Naruto run” (a type of running that is done by a Japanese anime cartoon character) then they can “move faster than their bullets.”

The “raid” is set for Sept. 20, with participants meeting near the site at 3 a.m. to storm the base. And it’s clearly a joke. The Facebook page is full of joke memes, people posting pictures of little grey aliens, other things of what they group will supposedly fined when the raid happens.

Whether this will happen is doubtful. I’m assuming some people will show up in Nevada on the day, but I doubt anything will happen; regardless many media outlets (including this newspaper apparently) have taken up the topic in reporting and opinion pieces. Many of these newspaper outlets have taken this stuff seriously. 

Many discuss what would happen, and what the military’s response would be, if half a million people tried to storm a military base. It’s all pure speculation, and I have to admit that it’s a fun prospect to think about this type of otherworldly situation, but it’s just not plausible that it would happen.

But what is the most disconcerting aspect of the whole thing isn’t the Internet joke, but the reaction to it, which I have to admit, surprised me. There are many who had heard about this second or third hand who actually believe that that people are going through with it. The unfortunate thing is people will go through with it because they’re not in on the joke.  

I don’t know if the media reporting on this, which is often “deadly serious” has been a contributing factor in the public actually taking this obvious joke seriously, but suffice it to say I’ll be watching to see what happens in the desert this September with a bucket of popcorn ready to go.