When the Balloon Boy saga unfolded on live TV, it captivated much of the nation. The viewership was made up of a little bit of every type of person: concerned and horrified viewers, conspiracy theory nutjobs, fans of the morbid and everything in between. And perhaps the one unifying element that pulled these disparate groups together was a collective judgment of the rescue and response efforts.
And, of course, there would be no shortage of suggestions on how to bring Falcon Heene safely down from his escaping flying saucer nightmare at 7,000 feet.
Spectators watching the alleged balloon boy hoax unfold on live TV suggested paragliders, skydivers, fishing hooks and more to bring down the flying saucer-shaped craft thought to be carrying the 6-year-old boy - of course we learned it was an apparent publicity stunt.
The e-mails flooding Larimer County, CO., Sheriff Jim Alderden's inbox have turned to criticism of his actions in the case. And Alderden, to his credit, has responded in his weekly blog post - "Up, Up and Away." Alderden writes that people have sent e-mails from around the world, some of them calling him gullible, fat and bald with an over-inflated ego. They compared him to Barney Fife, the bumbling sheriff's deputy on the 1960s TV show "The Andy Griffith Show."
Fat and bald he'll cop to. As for the rest? Full of hot air, says the face of balloon justice. Here's a look at some of the negative response the native Illinoisan has gotten:
The majority of e-mails I received later weren't nearly as complimentary.
* Ok Barney Fife........ Law enforcement shouldnt be sceptical??? Then OJ was totally innocent in Larimer County. You are an Idiot!!!!!!!!!
* You seem to be a real pushover..... why do you want an interview again....you are sold on their story....and your department doesn't seem able to determine events. With your frame of mind, your futher investigation would retrive nothing - what do you think the family would say.... and don't you think they (family) are scripting soty at present?
* Are you ignorant? Watch the damn Wife Swap show... this was a total hoax.. hell even watch the damn home video of the parents who where THERE WHEN THE CRAFT WENT OFF. Watch the DAMN INTERVIEW VIDEOS. Your department is so god damn gullible. How you are a sheriff is beyond me.
* Anyone can see this guy set this whole thing up. If you do not proceed with charges you are a fool. And I'm certain your desk will soon have someone elses name on it. So take your arm from around his neck and stop kissing this creep. He's been endangering these kids for a while now and yoko ono is in on it also....Good luck on your book.
* THIS MORNING ON CNN I HEARD THE BIG MOUTHED,FAT ,BALD HEADED, OVER INFLATED EGO OF A SHERIFF GO ON AND ON AND ON ABOUT THE KID IN THE DAMN BALLON. WHO CARES? EVERYONE GETS THEIR FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME IN LIFE AND NOW THIS BLOW HARD OF A SHERIFF HAS HAD HIS. THERE HAVE BEEN SERIAL KILLERS AND TERRORISTS WHO HAVE NOT GOTTEN THIS MUCH PRESS THANKS TO MR. BIG MOUTH.
"In fact, I'm pretty ticked off that I had to spend my weekend dealing with them instead of some quality time in the saddle," Alderden wrote. "That said, sometimes the Sheriff just has to be the spokesperson instead of putting it off on the Press Information Officer. I did my best to put an end to the media circus and have refused to do any more interviews or morning TV shows, even turning down Dr. Phil."
Yet more theater from this whole Heene affair and, in the Age of the Blog, it's only fitting that a sheriff who favors star spangled cowboy shirts become a celebrity - and then blog about it.
The only real question worth asking Sheriff Alderden at this point is "Orton or Cutler?" Clearlyy, he has an opinion:
Fortunately, I also had some supporters.
* Sheriff I sure wish you lived in Illinois I am Glad to see you go after the parents of ballon boy I hope they have to pay for everything. Is it possible to charge the reality show as a co-conspriritor? But mainly I want to congradulate you on having the "cajones" to publicly state that TV reality shows are plain garbage. If you ever get to Harvard IL I'll buy you a beer and I don't even drink.
I'm originally from Illinois, so I might look you up next time I'm there. I've been known to have beer or two during a Bronco's or Bear's game.