Just when you thought the whole "Balloon Boy" saga out of Fort Collins couldn't get any more bizarre, along comes Robert Thomas, an associate of Richard Heene, with the revelation that Heene, the boy's father, staged the elaborate hoax in an effort to land himself a TV show in order to make enough money to save his family from the coming apocalypse.
According to Thomas' attorney, Linda Lee, Heene thinks the world is going to end in 2012 and figured that being a TV star would net him enough cash to build an underground bunker "where he can be safe from the sun exploding."
Now, I'm no astrophysicist, but I'm guessing that if the sun explodes, a backyard bunker in Fort Collins probably isn't going to save anybody. Does Heene think that after the cataclysm has ended his bunker will be floating safely through space, minus the rest of the Earth? Maybe he intends to build it out of kryptonite or something.
I suppose he could be forgiven for assuming there was such a thing as an exploding-sun-proof bunker if he was just your average idiot, but Heene aspires to much greater things. The theme song for the TV show, which he has already written and recorded, includes the lyrics: "When you want to learn the mysteries of how things work/The weather, the planets, the whole universe/Tune in to the show that's really effective/Watch Richard Heene, Psyience (sic) Detective."
OK, so maybe Heene doesn't really understand how exploding suns work -- or how to rhyme something with the word "work," for that matter -- but you can hardly blame the guy for wanting to land a TV show. This is America in the 21st century, after all.
The Octomom is getting a show. Hell, even that crying kid with the YouTube videos imploring the world to leave Britney Spears alone was in line to get a TV show before sanity prevailed. Everyone wants to get on TV these days. Heene's no different.
And if you don't think everyone wants to get on TV, I'd like to direct your attention to a Denver Post article about the "Balloon Boy" incident that claimed "hundreds" of emergency responders were involved in the effort to save Falcon Heene from the runaway balloon. That's one balloon and one 6-year-old boy. How many rescuers could that possibly involve? More importantly, do you really think all those people would have responded if there were no TV cameras covering the story?
So now the authorities are trying to figure out what crimes to charge Richard Heene with, and all sorts of terms are being bandied about: conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities, attempting to influence a public servant.
If he's found guilty of some of the more serious charges, Heene could spend up to six years in jail and face a $500,000 fine. In addition, if he's convicted, the Heene family will have to pay for the rescue operations, which, since they involved roughly 95 more people than was necessary, will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
I think we can all agree Heene is an imbecile for trying to pull off a stunt like that, but is what he did really that criminal? He didn't kill anybody or steal anything. He didn't even put his child's life in jeopardy, as Falcon was safely hidden away in the garage during the whole ordeal. It seems obvious to me that many of the charges being levied at the Heenes are the result of people being pissed off because they were duped so easily.
Realistically, if anyone should face criminal charges, it's the morons in charge of Good Morning America and the Today show. Admittedly, they didn't engage in any overt criminal activity, but they sure committed crimes against common sense and reason. Both shows had the Heenes on as guests even after it was discovered that Falcon Heene never left his house.
Are people really that dumb, or are morning shows just that desperate for guests? What the hell did they ask Falcon anyway? "What was it like not being up in that balloon? Were you scared?"
At least by inviting the Heenes onto their shows Good Morning America and Today allowed Richard Heene to nearly realize his TV dreams. But the only one who had the right response to the whole situation was Falcon himself. He puked on live TV during both broadcasts.