Not everyone who finds themselves drawn to UFO-related subjects believes, unequivocally, that extraterrestrial life exists. For one’s interest to be piqued, all that’s really required is an interest in the unknown.
A belief in at least the possibility that extraterrestrial life exists, an open mind — well, that doesn’t hurt either.
Of course there are many true believers out there. Either because of a personal encounter or experience or an inability to ignore the math, for them no leap of faith is required.
But unless or until a “Day the Earth Stood Still” moment plays out for all the world to see, many people interested in the lore that surrounds the UFO phenomenon are curious, open to the possibility, perhaps on the verge of that leap of faith — but require proof before taking the plunge.
For those unfamiliar with the 1951 science fiction movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, in it a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C. and is promptly surrounded by the military and crowds of onlookers.
In short order, an alien emerges from the ship, followed by a giant robot.
A lot happens in the movie, but the most memorable moment for most is that spaceship showing up in Washington with all the stealth of a Super Bowl halftime act.
If that happened today it might be spun as fake news — but it wouldn’t be easy. For most, it would eliminate a need for any guesswork when it comes to the UFO phenomenon and what’s behind it.
There was no “Day the Earth Stood Still” moment when, a couple of weeks ago, the documentary “Roswell Mysteries Decoded” — parts of which were filmed right here at the Roswell Daily Record — aired on the CW network.
Perhaps the best chance for such a moment involved bits of metal found by a local man in the area of the alleged 1947 UFO crash site northwest of Roswell. But the lab doing the testing wasn’t able to vet all the samples, and the ones that could be subjected to scientific scrutiny contained mostly aluminum, which caused the ufologist who co-hosted the documentary to express disappointment.
The program is a fun and worthwhile watch, and for those not already familiar with the 1947 event, a decent primer.
But the one thing really proven by the documentary — launched before the network’s new “Roswell, New Mexico” television series premiered — is that interest in the unknown as it relates to the Roswell incident remains.
Roswell’s mysteries might not have been decoded, but they were promoted — and from the standpoint of a city with a stake in UFO tourism, that’s not a bad outcome at all.
Public records bill raises concerns
There’s a lot on the Legislature’s plate this session — far-reaching, future-of-the-state considerations that will impact the lives of New Mexicans for years to come.
Education. Energy. Crime. It wouldn’t be a session without the big picture.
But along the way, many proposals that don’t garner huge amounts of publicity will also be taken up and considered. These are often impactful and far-reaching, but it takes watchful eyes to keep them from flying under the radar.
When it comes to proposals that could impact citizens’ access to public information, groups like the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG) provide those watchful eyes — and what they saw in Senate Bill (SB) 232, by District 7 State Sen. Pat Woods, raised a red flag. NMFOG executive director Melanie Majors called the bill, “… a blatant attempt to block the public’s access to their own information.” The New Mexico Press Association (NMPA) has raised concerns as well.
The measure, as reported in the RDR on Jan. 17, would increase fees that could be charged for public records and could limit access in certain cases. The RDR’s full story on the proposal can be found online here: www.rdrnews.com/2019/01/16/public-records-bill-could-increase-costs-limit-access/
Majors, who said SB 232 would “gut the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA),” offered to meet with Woods to discuss IPRA, including ways the act could be improved.
He should avail himself of that. And in the future, lawmakers who wish to change laws related to accessing public information should, on the front end, involve NMFOG and NMPA, organizations dedicated to keeping the public informed and safeguarding the free flow of information.
It would help dispel suspicions that understandably arise when politicians begin tinkering with laws that exist to keep the public informed.
But that might be wishful thinking — it makes too much sense. Good thing those watchful eyes are out there.
John Dilmore is editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.