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It's a dawning of a new drone day in Colorado.EXPAND
It's a dawning of a new drone day in Colorado.

Ten Explanations for the Mysterious Drones Over the Plains

A new mythology is growing on the eastern plains of Colorado. It’s the sort of thing we’re going to see on one of those Mysteries of the Unexplained Paranormal Experience Adventures shows all over cable: weird phenomena in the skies, caught on camera. And even if the mystery is eventually solved, with Governor Jared Polis calling for a full investigation and the FAA analyzing the drone invasion right now (allegedly), the effects of the initial fear and loathing (people like their privacy on the plains to the east of Denver) will linger. Evidence will be denied. Theories will take on a life of their own. And so stories are born.

We decided to get ahead of the urban-myth curve by offering some explanations of our own. You know, totally serious and reasonable shots in the dark — much like the illegal potshots being taken at the night-flying drones out east.

The NRA’s Secret Plan to Stimulate Gun and Ammo Purchases
Speaking of gunplay as a response to the drones’ sudden appearance, that reaction is so widespread that it auto-fills on Google if you type in “can I sho...”. Think about that for a moment: There are lots of rational questions that can start with “can I sho...”. Can I shop at Amazon without destroying my local economy? Can I shower every other day because of dry skin? Can I show a football game at a party without express written consent of the NFL? But, no: It’s “Can I shoot down a drone?” Because this is what people want to know. (The answer, by the way, is no, not legally.)

So it’s entirely possible that these drones have been sent from the National Rifle Association. After all, the NRA's primary strategy is the stoking of fear, so why not send out mysterious fleets of flying robots just begging to be plugged out of the night sky? Shotgun and rifle sales would skyrocket, as would sales of the necessary ammunition. And if this practice has the side effect of drawing more residents of the eastern plains into the NRA’s fundraising web — and gives folks some good target practice at the same time? That’s win-win-win, Wayne LaPierre style.

Disney Mapping Out a Potential Site for Disney Over Mid-America
Now that Disney essentially owns everything that your children and pop-culture-loving Americans could possibly love, they’re obviously looking to expand their mousy empire. Where better to link the coasts than the eastern plains of Colorado, since we were courteous enough to put Denver International Airport right out there, what, a few miles from the border of Kansas? So it’s right there: The drones are just surveying the area for the Disney Imagineers. You can almost hear the planning: “We could put Star Wars Land over here, and the Merry Marvel Marching Society over here, and Elsa’s Frozen Castle over here, which would of course also be the repository for the cryogenically frozen remains of Walt Disney himself. Themed hotels everywhere. And all of Nebraska for parking.”

The Illuminati Lizard People Need Fresh Ground
Even with all of DIA’s expansion, the vast empire of the lizard people who live beneath the airport have run out of room. So they’ve sent out drones to survey new underground areas by which to grow their subterranean kingdom. They have to run at night because they’re looking for heat signatures, hollow spaces beneath the soil where they can build their cave-homes and Illuminati-worshiping chambers. They need to keep their numbers hidden until the 2024 elections, when they will emerge from hiding in order to vote en masse for the GEICO gecko to take the presidency, the nation and, soon enough, the world. Sun lamps and live crickets for everyone!

Pot Farmers Looking for Fertile Ground
With Colorado’s longstanding pot-friendly laws, and Illinois just now recognizing that the water in the marijuana pool is fine and cannonballing in, maybe pot farmers are looking at Kansas and Nebraska as the next areas of growing expansion. Eastern Colorado is just additional and already legal (if not exactly welcoming) ground. The cannabis expansionists are just doing it with drones so as not to make it look like they’re interested and drive up potential prices per acre. That’s why the drones are flying in grid patterns; they’re just trying to get a lay of the land — and the profit potential.

Maybe Steven Spielberg’s Batteries Not Included…Was a Documentary
The feel-good 1987 movie about the little living space-drones coming to save Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy from both rampant gentrification and senior dementia was prescient in a lot of ways, but maybe that was no coincidence. Maybe Spielberg (along with director Matthew Robbins and writer Brad Bird, in his cinematic debut) were just telling the story like it was. The drones on the eastern plains aren’t surveying at all; they’re just looking for a place to set up a small drone community. And also warm hearts and all that. So yes, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos...it's aliens.

It’s a Public Relations Stunt for Drone Manufacturers
A pretty simple marketing strategy calls for putting a product out into the field, raising awareness of both its existence and effect, and watching customers clamber to be part of it all. Drones themselves are no exception; people are talking about them, and they’re even on the news. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

It’s Internet Trolling Bleeding into the Real World
Maybe the rabble-rousers on the Internet have become bored with trolling on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker forums and have moved to mess with people on a physical level, what the Internet dudes (because really, we all know these are mostly dudes) like to call “meatspace.” Aggravating people online can only satisfy a real troll so long before all that misplaced aggression has to find a more physical outlet. Drones are distant enough not to risk any actual confrontation, but direct enough that seeing the effects ripple through the real world? For lovers of chaos for the sake of chaos? Sublime.

Denver Developers Looking for the New Stapleton
Since Denver is running out of infill space for new construction, maybe Denver is sending up drones to annex waaaaaay out east. Not only could developers have a field day advertising Far East Stapleton (just a quick two-hour drive from downtown!), but Denver residents could finally say that they boast a city-close airport again. We just have to change the definition of what “city” means.

It’s the Russians
Putin has tired of manipulating American government through its semi-elected POTUS, so he’s sending out armies of drones launched and controlled by sleeper cells throughout the Midwest, with the goal of terrifying the locals and distracting from the damage being done to the 2020 elections and democracy. Just in case the attack on Iran doesn’t wag the dog, we’ll always have mysterious drones to take up the smoke-and-mirrors slack.

It’s the Ukranians!
Or Obama. Or Joe Biden’s son. Or Benghazi, birth certificates or Hillary’s emails. Pick your favorite Trump administration alternate history for pretty much anything.

Have your own theories about the drones? Email us at editorial@westword.com.

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