UFO 2/24/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

The US is a little bit on edge these days in a weird kind of way thanks to that spy balloon from China. Frankly, I feel like that balloon was probably just a prank, but the administration is taking it as a significant ratcheting up of tensions between our nations. A few days ago (as of the writing of this post which, as it turns out, is ten days ago and actually on Valentine’s Day, so I have a lot of time to write it since I’m alone AGAIN) several additional objects were brought down, the government siting their altitude as a risk to aviation. But from what has been reported, they weren’t balloons. One was described as cylindrical, and because of the tundra where they fell, apparently there has been considerable difficulty in recovering the wreckage.

Or the alien bodies.

Because the wreckage remains missing to this day, the government hasn’t had much to say about it. They do not know the source of the objects, or the purpose. In fact, official word is that they probably were not from China, and likely not even spy devices (although one was shot down before it could overfly what has been described as a “sensitive” military area for the US). In the statement, it was suggested that they might be private or commercial devices with unknown purposes.

But they could be UFO’s.

Or not. In a strictly technical sense, since we currently have not identified what, exactly, they are, they actually do fit the very definition of an “unidentified (because we don’t know what they are) flying (at about 40,000 feet in fact) objects (I object)”. Of course, humans being, well, mostly human, whenever we hear the term “UFO”, our mind immediately leaps to science fiction, little green men (and always men in fact) and otherworldly invasions. But let’s be real about this. Whatever these objects were, it’s highly unlikely that they originated from anywhere other than terra firma.

I guess it has never made sense to me that, in the absence of any real knowledge or evidence, so many people’s minds travel so quickly to conspiracy theories and outlandish explanations. Back when I was married, my wife was so good at this kind of thinking. If I was running ten minutes late, of course it was because I was off having extramarital relations with Lyndsey Lohan because, well, you know the kind of woman she is, and she would call me out on it. Ironically, when infidelity did visit our doorstep, I wasn’t the one to invite it inside.

We lived in South Dakota. I doubt that Lyndsey ever set foot in the state, and if she did, it certainly wasn’t to see me. But let’s be real; that’s more plausible than UFO’s traveling across the expanse of space to see Canada.

Although I may be having fun with this topic, there is a serious side to filling in the missing pieces with conspiracy theories. While the police department with which I worked as a civilian was terrible at recognizing effort and talent, they were always very good at communicating. During an active investigation, there is often precious little detail that can be shared with the general public, but the department always did, especially in a police involved shooting. The investigation, when it was one of our people, was handled by an external agency to minimize bias, and a press release would be issued very quickly, often within an hour. Promises were made, and kept, about the next press release, and they continued like rapid fire until the final report was released.

Not long ago (but before the BLM protests) there was a story of a minority killed by a police officer in a southern state. The news, of course, broke, but what truly struck me was the silence of the police department that was involved. They never issued a press release, saying only that they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation. While this is true, they never even publicly acknowledged the shooting, or the circumstances behind the officer being at that location. As a result, rumors abounded of police brutality, race motivated killing and the tension in the community grew to dangerous levels. In the stories that were being passed along, often quoted by the parents of the victim, the man who was killed was perfectly innocent, minding his own business and clearly the police began to harass him for no reason at all.

Conspiracy theory at its best.

Eventually, when the investigation concluded, it was announced that there was a disturbance call, and the man who was shot had come at the police officer with a weapon (as best as I can recall, but it has been awhile). It was ruled a “justified shooting”. But at that point, the rumors had become so ingrained as fact that the police department had a terrible time regaining the trust of the citizens.

Is there a point to this post? Maybe a couple. First, we have to beware of believing everything that we are told. Humans enjoy “filling in the blanks”, given the opportunity, to make ourselves feel more intelligent, and we love believing the juiciest stories regardless of how outlandish they might be. Second, our police departments and politicians need to beware of this tendency, and head it off as quickly as possible by giving at least what acknowledgments and facts as possible. The people deserve better than to be left to their own ridiculous devices.


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