Just yesterday we were discussing what I’m still holding out hope turns out to be one of the most widespread pranks in history. Nearly 400,000 people have signed on to a crackpot scheme on Facebook to “storm” Area 51, the top-secret military base located near Groom Lake in Nevada. The guy who actually started it is assuring the authorities it was a joke (and begging not to be arrested) but his followers don’t all seem to agree. The situation is being taken seriously enough that the Air Force actually responded to a question about it. While not coming out and specifically threating to burn all of these people to cinders if they cross the fence, they sure sounded like they were implying it. The following was offered up by Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews. (The Hill)

Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews declined to elaborate on specific details.

However, she did issue a warning to those who may be serious about a plan to infiltrate the Nevada Air Force base.

“[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,” McAndrews told the paper.

“The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets,” she added.

The Air Force stands ready to protect America and its assets. And you can rest assured they have plenty of assets out at Groom Lake. Whether it’s the next generation of stealth fighters being developed or an interstellar cell tower so ET can phone home, they don’t allow anyone in. The other assets they have on hand include both Apache choppers and fighter jets.

Depending on how you read the spokeswoman’s rather veiled comments, it’s not hard to imagine that she’s hinting at precisely what I was suggesting yesterday. If one or two people show up and try to sneak in, odds are some guys in an SUV will show up, tackle you, detain you for questioning for a few days and then let you go. But if more people than can be tackled all swarm the place at once from multiple entry points, particularly if it looks like some of them will make it to the airstrip, what do you think they’re going to do?

Do you really think they wouldn’t give the order to just start ripping the crowd up with weapons? That’s an awfully big assumption to literally bet your life on.

Our Air Force and other military officers take the same oath as most elected officials. They will protect against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Don’t become one of those domestic enemies. You won’t like how it ends.

For those who are really curious about what Area 51 looks like but don’t want to wind up as a grease stain in the middle of the desert, here’s one of the most recent videos anyone managed to take of the base. A guy and his son scaled their way up to the top of Tikaboo Peak, from which Area 51 can be seen at a great distance. You’re not supposed to climb that mountain, but they managed to not get caught. The guy dragged up a video camera with an extremely powerful zoom lens and start filming. Spoiler alert: He didn’t see any aliens.