Everything You Need to Know About "Storm Area 51"
In pop culture mythology, Area 51 is where the US government is keeping all the extraterrestrials. In reality, it’s an open training range for the US Air Force in Lincoln County, Nevada, and is otherwise known as Nellis Air Force Base Complex.
The Washington Post writes that while existence of the base had been denied for decades, a public records request by George Washington University led to the CIA confirming its existence in 2013.
Then, in 2017, the Pentagon revealed a $22 million government program to analyse “anomalous aerospace threats.”
So, like, aliens. Honestly, there are only a few people who actually know what goes on at Area 51, and the truth is probably far closer to a few test flights than the testing of alien technology. But God, it’s intoxicating to dream, isn’t it?That’s exactly what a bunch of people on the Internet are doing, except on September 20th, they’ve decided to not let their dreams be dreams and to just storm the place.
What is the plan?
The Facebook event description says it better than we ever could: “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.”
There’s not much else beyond that. Will participants “save” the aliens allegedly kept there? Smoke weed with the aliens? Have sex with the aliens? Also, exactly what sort of fortifications does the US government have to defend themselves against this pack of death wish-induced youth? And are Australians invited too?We can only answer that last question: yes, Australia. It’s a public event, so go ahead and put a first class stamp on it and send it. There’s actually even an event for Melburnians specifically:
How did all of this start?
Where does anything on the Internet ever start? Somewhere in the annals of some random dude’s Reddit account, or Tik Tok, or Instagram, or what have you.ET credits the Facebook group “Shitposting cause im in shambles,” with the original idea, but as Vanity Fair writes, what really made this harebrained scheme national news in the US was the Facebook event started by the group “Supreme Memes,” which, as its name would suggest, posts top-tier memes.
Is it illegal to storm Area 51?
Umm, not exactly, but on July 11, Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews sternly to told the Washington Post that “we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” and that “the US Air Force stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
The last documented instance of activity like this in Area 51 was in 2014, when a tour bus with four passengers inadvertently drove through the signs and entered the base. You can watch the video of what happened on Las Vegas Now, but basically the truck was turned around by men in military clothing and the participants were threatened with misdemeanour charges and $650 fines.And while the region around Area 51 has capitalised on the extraterrestrial rumours with alien-themed motels and chotchkes, there are also posted signs that trespassers too close to the base could face “deadly force” for trespassing and taking photos.
Okay, so it sounds like a terrible idea. What time should we show up?
The “Supreme Memes” event is set for 3pm - 6pm on September 20, 2019. The “Shitposting cause im in shambles [sic]” event is set for 3am - 6am on the same day.
How many people are going?
Some news sources put the number at half a million. Others put it at 1.1 million. At GQ Australia, we are serious journalists, so we’re going straight back to the source: Facebook. And according to Facebook, 1.2 million are going and 1 million are interested.
We’re still checking on airline data to see if ticket sales to Las Vegas, which is a half hour drive from Amargosa Valley (Area 51’s location), have spiked in the time since the event blew up, but we’d hazard a guess that while some people really will be wild enough to try their luck, the majority of this is obviously an overblown meme.
And speaking of memes, here are some of our favorites. Thank you, Internet! You never disappoint.