Well, we’ve all heard about the “balloon boy” escapade by now. Allegedly a hoax in the venue of a publicity stunt, those responsible should be charged with making false reports, public endangerment and whatever else might be sifted from such an alleged ridiculous event.

Supposedly, the 6-year-old son of Richard and Mayumi Heene was feared to have drifted away in a homemade balloon that, on television, appeared to be shaped like a flying saucer.

So authorities took off chasing this thing for 50 miles and over three counties in Colorado.

Authorities got suspicious when Heenes allegedly said, “We did this for a show.” Ya think!

Come to find out, these people are actors. They actually met in acting school in Hollywood. If the hoax proves to be true, then maybe they can’t distinguish between the silver screen and the silver skies.

Now many times, hoaxes are simply no-harm ventures. But in this case, lives could have been endangered as authorities sought to chase down the balloon. The sheriff of Larimer County said he is pursuing misdemeanor and felony charges, the most serious of which could lock up the Heenes for six years in prison plus a $500,000 fine.

It’s unlikely that a sentence that stiff will be imposed, but this case (should it prove to be a hoax) should put on notice those who would like to develop and promote such events to think more than one layer deep. In other words, consider what could go wrong in such a plan and how lives might indeed be endangered. Let’s just imagine that an officer wrecked his vehicle while chasing this gadget and someone got killed. A manslaughter charge could result in addition to severe lawsuit verdicts.

Richard Heene was quoted as saying that the event has become “convoluted.” Well, perhaps a jury can unconvolute it.

Of course one must ask, what could a person seek to gain from such an alleged stunt. At some point, the balloon had to come down (Newton’s law of gravity) and the fact that no child was inside would immediately arouse suspicions.

Or maybe a Hollywood syndrome would have kicked in and the alleged perpetrators would have rewritten the script as the day went along.

Fortunately, no one got physically hurt. But a lot of people got really mad.

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