The so-called plan to storm Area 51 initially began as another harmless, albeit bizarre, meme to add to the ever-growing collection of absurd internet content. In just a few short weeks, over 2 million people RSVP’d to meet up on September 20 to raid Area 51, and another 1.4 million people claim to be “interested” in tagging along. The event’s discussion page has inspired thousands of memes, as well as a Storm Area 51 store where people can buy t-shirts with slogans such as, “I was born on the wrong planet,” and “I saw them aliens.” 

However, unlike most online jokes, this satirical Facebook event has managed to make national headlines thanks to the mystical powers of viral marketing. Dozens of mainstream news outlets have covered this unprecedented situation, making it rather difficult for reporters to maintain their characteristically blasé demeanors. The U.S. Air Force has even felt the need to speak out and “discourage” conspiracy theorists from breaking into the top-secret government facility. Of course, this did nothing but further encourage the internet’s morbid sense of humor. 

But all jokes aside, there’s a legitimate chance that some die-hard alien enthusiasts will attempt to put this outlandish plan into action. Even now, there seems to be a prevalent “I’ll jump if you jump” mentality among those who have heard of the event. While everyone fully recognizes that the raid was never meant to be taken seriously, there are still thousands of people asking the same haunting question: what are the chances that this could actually happen? 

The Facts

Before you dismiss this intriguing query as completely unrealistic, let’s take a hard look at the facts of the matter. Much to the chagrin of Lincoln County law enforcement officers, the few motels near the military base are already completely booked for September 20, and campsites throughout the region are being flooded with reservation requests. It’s also important to note that Lincoln County boasts a booming population of 5,182 individuals, so the sheriff is already noticeably anxious about the possibility of a small percentage of raiders storming the area. 

Of course, event participants will also have to outmaneuver the military forces at Area 51, which may be slightly more difficult than evading the rural police officers. According to Section 1382 of Title 18, the law clearly states that those who trespass on any military base could be subject to six months imprisonment, a $500 fine, or both. If that’s not enough of a deterrent, there are several restricted areas surrounding the base where the use of deadly force is permitted. An Air Force spokesperson even alluded to this in an interview, stating that, “[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.” 

Nonetheless, the event’s slogan, “They can’t stop all of us,” still offers a small shred of hope for those who genuinely want to “see them aliens.” 

Celebrity Speculations and Possibilities 

The Facebook event has extended far beyond the reach of typical internet trolls, with dozens of notable celebrities uploading memes about attending the raid, including Keanu Reeves, Miley Cyrus, Guy Fieri, and Trevor Noah. Even though these recognizable figures are simply joining in on the fun for now, some citizens are speculating about how much they could accomplish with enough social power on their side. For instance, would Area 51 guards really risk harming trespassers if they knew Keanu Reeves was in their midst? If a well-loved public figure was critically injured during the raid, would that just add more fuel to the fire? 

But all of these questions, despite being endlessly fascinating, are still skirting around the main point: what Area 51 really contains. If military personnel would use deadly force to keep potentially millions of curious citizens out of the base, I think it’s fair for the public to ask for some real answers regarding extraterrestrial life. In other words, let’s see them aliens.

Other Suggestions and Options

The raid, whether it will actually occur or not, is still weeks away. This leaves plenty of time for this event to evolve into a genuinely doable cause and bring millions of people together to do something good. Instead of meeting up in the deserts of Nevada for a rather futile mission, some people have suggested joining together for other humanitarian efforts, such as “raiding” animal shelters to adopt pets in need of good homes, cleaning up local beaches, or planting trees.

The prospect of uncovering top-secret government info is understandably enticing, but I think this event would be truly successful if it could act as a catalyst for positive change. In any case, I have a feeling that this internet-inspired story is going to make for one weird chapter in history textbooks someday.

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