Today, thousands of “invaders” will be lining the gates of Area 51, hoping to find… something. There’s no collective reason for anyone to be there. Some of them for the thrill, some of them for the joke, and some of them because they genuinely believe that September 20th is the day that “government secrets” will finally be revealed.
Accidentally Founding a Movement, and What Follows
Event creator Matty Roberts never intended for the movement to become this big.
“I posted the Area 51 Facebook event at about 2 A.M,” he said during an interview with the BBC. “It was totally a joke out of the get-go. There was just a ton of attention out of nowhere and it was awesome.”
Roberts was originally excited for the event. However, he soon realized that things might have been blown out of proportion. Roberts and partners Frank DiMaggio and Connie West organized a music event to coincide with the raid: the aptly named “Alienstock.” However, after the Roberts and DiMaggio realized that the Alienstock event was not well-organized and would become, as Roberts put it, a “humanitarian disaster,” they pulled the plug on the event and encouraged people not to show up at Area 51 either.
West, meanwhile, claims that her partners left her high and dry. She is still promoting the event and encourages people to show up to Alienstock and the raid. West also states that “raiders” are still determined to show up.
“She’s saying they’re coming anyway,” DiMaggio said. “I really hope that they’re not.”
Sister Towns Feel the Burn
When people think of Area 51, most would think of a large government territory surrounded by desert. And they’d be right. The building is part of a large piece of land called the “Nevada Test & Training Range,” and is bordered by other Area’s. The range is then surrounded by miles upon miles of desert. This means that people hoping to invade Area 51 must settle in the closest Nevada towns: Rachel and Hiko.
Rachel and Hiko, combined, have a population of 173 according to the 2010 census. And, regarding population, not much has changed over the past 9 years. Both towns have been preparing for the worst the past couple of weeks, with the small towns never receiving this amount of attention before. The website for Rachel, the town receiving the most traffic and the host site for Alienstock, is currently live-updating residents, letting them know about how the town is going to deal with the situation.
“We are preparing for the worst,” Rachel resident Joerg Arnu said, who had already noticed people showing up at the Alienstock site camping the night before the raid.
Arnu owns 30-acres in Rachel and has improved his property’s security. He has also established radio connection with his neighbors, fully expecting visitors to quickly run out shelter and start asking for somewhere to stay.
The Government’s Response
The formation of and drama surrounding the event didn’t only rub Rachel and Hiko the wrong way. Talks of the government getting involved have also recently begun to spring up. This is not regarding arrests made against people invading Area 51. Instead, actual arrests could be made against the creators of the raid.
Dylan Frehner, the district attorney of Lincoln County, is currently considering pressing charges against both Roberts and Facebook. Lincoln County holds Area 51, Rachel, and Hiko. The largest possible charge that could be levied if the case when to court is “gross misdemeanor of publishing a matter in breach of peace or other crimes.” Anyone found guilty would land a year in prison and be forced to pay a $2,000 fine.
This is, of course, ignoring the punishment for anyone who actually trespasses into Area 51. The Department of Justice “prohibits any person from entering any military installation for any purpose prohibited by law.” Anyone found in violation of this law is subject to at least 6 months in federal prison and a $500 fine. However, a charge involving trespassing onto Area 51 would probably be much worse for anyone found guilty. So far, no one in history has ever made into Area 51.
However, Dutch tourists Ties Granzier and Govert Sweep were arrested this morning while “visiting” the area. More arrests are expected as the day goes on, and specifically as the raid actually begins.
Students and Schools React to Area 51
Many schools are taking advantage of the publicity the raid in coincidence with homecoming season. The Klein Cain football game against Klein High lands on the 20th and the dress-up day chosen to go along with that is Alien Day.
The actual raid is scheduled for 3 P.M. Pacific; it’s unknown how successful the assault will be. Thankfully, Klein students decided to attend school today instead of trying to invade a military base in Nevada. Hopefully, the event can go by as peacefully as possible, but considering the spectacle of the event, that’s unlikely.