Scott Hollifield mug 2019


As bad ideas go, this one may be in the running for worst of 2019: “Hold my beer – I’m storming Area 51.”

The beer part may be optional, but a group of people – around 450,000 or so as of this writing – have signed up online to bum rush the top-secret desert military base on Sept. 20 and once for all get to the bottom of this space alien thing. For those unfamiliar with Area 51 (and I’m guessing people who regularly read this column are familiar with topics like Area 51, monkeys, attack squirrels and people making terrible decisions), Wikipedia describes Area 51 as “a highly classified remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base within the Nevada Test and Training Range (which) ...most likely supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems…”

Others believe it’s where the government keeps space aliens, Bigfoot and Santa Claus.

A Facebook page is promoting an event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.” Here’s a passage from the page: “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.”

I didn’t know what “Naruto Run” meant either but, being a serious journalist with a crack research team (Google) at his disposal, I quickly found out. According to report on the Deadline website, “Naruto Run” refers to the unique running style of a Japanese cartoon character who “is often depicted sprinting with his hands behind him to decrease wind resistance.”

Uh…yeah. That’ll work.

Whether this is an online prank or an actual gathering of people who believe the truth is out there, the government is taking it seriously enough to issue a statement. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post the military was prepared to vaporize all intruders with a top-secret, high-tech laser weapon. Well, she didn’t actually say that, but she did hint at it. “(Area 51) is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

As a newspaper columnist regularly read by dozens of people, I believe I have a responsibility to add to this warning in case any of the 450,000 or so signed up really intend on storming Area 51. Here is my additional warning: Bad idea, dude. Even if your inspirational theme “they can’t stop all of us” turns out to be true, they sure can stop a lot of you, especially those in front. It’s just not worth it.

Have you seen what those top-secret, high-tech laser weapons can do? Of course you haven’t. That’s why they’re top secret. But, as a member of the media in on the whole thing, I can tell you they do wicked damage. You don’t want none of that, bro.

Space aliens, Bigfoot, Santa Claus, they’re all fine. Area 51 is like a resort for them, kind of like Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville”-themed retirement community. Bigfoot and Santa Claus hang out by the pool. Space aliens do yoga in the morning in the rec room. Elvis patrols the whole place in a golf cart and issues novelty citations to people who aren’t “takin’ care of business, baby.”

Heed the advice of Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews (who may or may not be from the planet Andoria) and stay away from Area 51. No amount of pre-event beer consumption will help you escape the wrath of the military’s top-secret, high-tech laser weapon, no matter how much you practice your Naruto Run.

Please believe Laura (or Zandromeda as she was known on her home planet) and me, it’s a bad idea, maybe the worst of 2019. Live long and prosper.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, NC and a humor columnist. Contact him at

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