Close encounters with furious UFO believers

Wednesday, October 6, 2010; B2

With the possible exception of columns on the correct way to hang toilet paper (tail dangling from the back) and the correct way to make a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich (spread peanut butter first), nothing I've written has garnered as much reaction as last's week column about the UFO press conference I attended.

The e-mail has not been kind.

"Were you always a fool?" wrote Gabe. "Or did you recently just become one?"

Someone who signed his message "A friend" wrote: "You smug, shallow, myopic [expletive]. I grew up in Wyoming and have personally seen UFOs. They are quite real. Do some research and stop being a skeptical windbag. You know nothing."

That was nice compared with what Anders had to say: "You are a cynical, uninformed and slow person. You should not be so keen to 'dis' people's versions of events such as these, especially when you are coming off as a smug, self-satisfied plumper who only likes to make light fun of things he refuses to entertain in his little brain (and probably told to generally dismiss by his bosses), whilst stuffing his pudgy little face with trans-fats.

"Enjoy your sleep, corporate clown."

I really must change that photo of me on the Web site.

Some readers had more specific complaints - about my writing, as opposed to my face. Wrote Connie: "Why are you clowning around in your reporting when U.S. Air Force officers who were in charge of ICBMs - perhaps the most serious responsibility in the world - explain that UFOs hovering right above the missiles (not just 'lights in the sky') caused total system failures?"

A reader from Castro Valley, Calif., mused: "Maybe the DOD found out something a long time ago that scared the hell out of them and they figured that 'in the name of national security' they would cover it up because the American public could not handle it. And when they did figure out what the hell was going on they decided to keep it to themselves. Don't you think the American public has the right to decide what they can handle and what they can't?"

He predicted: "When the truth really comes out about how the military and others have lied to the American public for over the past 60 years about the existence of ETs, the members of the press, like yourself, will be asking themselves, 'Where were we all this time?' "

Me? Stuffing my face with trans fats.

Steve wrote: "Hell, we certainly believed the government with far less 'evidence' (George Bush WMDs, Colin Powell presenting 'evidence' at the UN)."

He has a point there.

Art from Olney said his dad was a World War II Navy vet and one of the NSA's earliest employees. "He was quite simply not one to fool around," Art wrote. "I cannot put a specific date to it, but I can clearly remember the circumstances. We lived off East West Highway in Chevy Chase. There had been a flurry of UFO 'sightings' reported in the media, with the usual speculation about who or what that might be. We were at dinner one evening, when he simply said, 'You see all those UFO reports in the news? . . . Believe it.' He never spoke of it again."

Many readers thought all I needed was educating, and provided links to Web pages, YouTube videos, books and documents that, if I only read them carefully, would convince me that UFOs exist.

Or don't exist. A guy from Albuquerque has been in a pitched battle with the men who organized last week's press conference. "What do I have to do to get your attention?" he wrote. "I wrote a [expletive] 357-page book that proves these people are lying to the public, and I am giving it away for free so why haven't any of your reporters read it? Why do you allow these crank-head UFO proponent [expletives] to get away with saying the things they are saying about the military that my father and I have both served?"

To be honest, I bet there is other life in the universe. It's just that I'm so busy with my Earthly pursuits, I don't have the time to get in the weeds on this whole UFO issue.

Aliens: If you have intergalactic spaceships, I assume you have e-mail.

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