UFOs again in the headlines

Silly belief that advanced civilization would visit this place

Warning: This column includes some graphic details that readers may find disturbing.

Those who read The Pipestone Flyer’s website noticed there have been a couple of stories recently from Canadian Press describing unidentified flying objects; photos, videos and other “evidence” just slightly out of focus and tantalizingly incomplete.

I’ve always been fascinated by the UFO phenomenon and all of its disparate parts: close encounters of the third kind, alien abduction, captured flying saucers and so on. Most, if not all of it, was conducted by the U.S. military as part of the Cold War.

But I digress. Many years of reading about the UFO phenomenon have led me to develop my own philosophy that no extraterrestrial has ever stepped foot this planet and I’ll tell you why.

According to the laws of physics, the speed of light is the fastest speed possible in nature. It equals roughly 186,000 miles per second, very fast by human standards, but not very fast by galactic standards. The Andromeda galaxy is the closest spiral galaxy we have to our own Milky Way; the Andromeda is estimated to be 2.54 million light years away; that is, if we had a spacecraft capable of travelling the speed of light, it would take two and a half million years to get to Andromeda. Thus, for practical space travel to occur, a very technologically advanced civilization would have to be involved capable of inventing faster than light travel.

The late Carl Sagan, looking at the vast scope of our universe, calculated that the universe should contain about half a million civilizations, and that civilizations capable of space travel would have to be peaceful; violent civilizations would destroy themselves long before inventing faster than light travel. Thus, aliens visiting other planets would be unbelievably scientifically advanced, and embrace a philosophy of non-violence.

The Rwandan genocide is a horrifying massacre that was perpetrated by the Hutu majority of Rwanda against the Tutsi minority in the spring and summer of 1994. The Hutus organized armed gangs that hunted down every Tutsi they could find and either shot them or hacked them to death with machetes. Estimates conducted after the massacre claim about 70 per cent of the Tutsi population of Rwanda was killed, equalling about half a million to one million people.

It’s also estimated, judging by survivor accounts, that the Hutu gangs raped between 250,000 and half a million Tutsi women.

In the late 1990s I was working in Fort Macleod down by Lethbridge, and it happened that a local fellow who was in the Canadian forces had been sent to Rwanda just before the massacre as a United Nations peacekeeper and I had a chance to interview him. This fellow told me things he saw after the massacre, including driving along a dirt road that had a wall of hacked corpses piled up on the side. He said he drove for kilometre after kilometre and the wall of corpses just kept going. Thousands and thousands and thousands of human beings murdered.

I submit to you this: if a peaceful, incredibly advanced civilization came across this planet, there is no reason they would be interested in this place, let alone step foot here.

Stu Salkeld is editor of The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the newspaper.

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