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The US Keeps Shooting Down UFOs—But Put Down Your Tinfoil Hat

The truth (probably) isn't out there

Xenomorph in 'Alien Covenant'

If you’ve been hoping that aliens will come and take you away in Close Encounters of a Third Kind style to a better life in a distant galaxy, you probably have to wait a bit longer friend. I’m sorry because, while the White House refused to say exactly what all these mysterious things they’ve been shooting out of the air are, they did confirm they’re not believed to be extraterrestrial in origin, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre today. I’m sorry. Per The New York Times:

White House does not believe aliens are involved in the U.F.O.s being shot down by the U.S. military. “There is no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns,” [ Jean-Pierre] said. ([Jean-Pierre] also said she loved the movie “E.T.”)

OK, first off, who doesn’t love E.T.? Second off, as much as I’d love to dust off my bejeweled tin foil hat I keep for special conspiracy theory-related occasions, I think all of us alien-loving people need to accept this loss at face value and accept the reality that 2023 is (probably) not the year we make contact but it is the year the Biden administration got sick of some government’s less-than-covert spy games and decided to humiliate it on the world stage?

First, before we move on from the alien point, I think it’s important to accept the reality that if we ever were to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligent life form, the way it would go down would not be like this. It would be a tightly controlled government operation and not a casual breaking news announcement to fill up space in a 24-hour news cycle. We know things that affect national security because the government lets us know. Never forget that. If this weird balloon “invasion” were extraterrestrial in nature, don’t you think the president would call a press conference and tell us (if they couldn’t cover it up)?

The most important thing to note here about all these objects that are getting shot out of the sky is that the government does not consider them a danger to civilians on the ground. That’s very important! We all have enough to worry about without the danger of random spy balloons added to that list.

Now, a bit of context. On February 4, this all kicked off with the U.S. shooting down the first suspected spy balloon, widely accepted to be sent by the Chinese government. Then, on Friday, February 10th, another balloon, of unknown origin, was shot down over Alaska (hold that thought.) The next day, another object was shot down in Canada. Then, on Sunday, yet another object was shot down over Lake Huron. Busy weekend for shooting down floating objects in North American airspace, huh?

So, a little bit of context as to what these stupid objects could possibly be observing. As someone who grew up in Alaska, there are some massive military bases up there. We grew up knowing where the decommissioned missile silos were (so who knows if/where there are still active missile silos) and it’s a land rich with natural resources. So it’s not really a surprise someone (or some government) might want to know what’s going on up there.

Here’s another piece of the puzzle that might shed some light: China is on the defense, accusing the United States of also sending spy balloons into its air space, per The New York Times:

China accused the United States of regularly sending balloons into its airspace—more than 10 times since the start of last year, a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday. But the United States rejected the idea: “Any claim that the U.S. government operates surveillance balloons over the P.R.C. is false,” said Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokeswoman, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

New York Times

Sure, this could be held over from last week’s balloon “issue” but … probably not. As the saying goes, the best offense is a good defense and we all lived through Trump right? You accuse people of what you do because why not! Nothing matters!

So why does it seem like this is happening all of a sudden? The answer is pretty simple. After the big-ass balloon was spotted last week, NORAD adjusted its sensors to start looking for these dumb things, and low and behold, has started finding them.

The fact of the matter is, these things are a threat to commercial aircraft. They’ve been tracked flying at altitudes between 20,000 and 40,000 feet and commercial aircraft flies at about 30,000 feet. That’s reason enough to take them down. What I personally love, though, is that we’re being petty about it, and instead of taking them down in one piece, we’re utterly destroying them so that whoever made them can’t ask for them back. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Am I upset it’s not aliens? Not really. After living through the pandemic, I don’t think humanity is really ready for a cataclysmic shift that would affect literally every aspect of society that making contact with an extraterrestrial race would cause. I’ll settle for low-stakes balloon spy games and hope that somehow this doesn’t affect the price of eggs further.

(featured image: 20th Century Fox)

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