Man with sniper rifle points it skyward at satellites



By Dr. Fred Potato
Radio Free Ozarks Editor
March 3rd, 2022

Starlink CEO and Chief Engineer Elon Musk appears to have personally disabled Starlink satellite internet service for users in Arkansas. Musk, acting in an unreasonable fit of pique, slammed in-state service to a halt after at least two of his company’s satellites were shot down in the past five months. A local investigation by Radio Free Ozarks had determined that two gun enthusiasts in the Mountain Home area of Arkansas were responsible for the feats of marksmanship. Musk made his brash and unfair decision without regard for those notable and upstanding Arkansans who depend on his satellite internet service to do investigative research and post articles on their news blog website.

This sad tale of wireless misery starts on the evening of November 15, 2021, when reports of possible meteorite strikes in the North Central Arkansas region were heard on a local ham radio repeater. Amateur radio hobbyists in the area set aside their usual geriatric medicine discussions to piece together a handful of reports from around the region, describing a lone, bright meteor streak across the sky that appeared to hit ground with a booming thud in an area northeast of Mountain Home, out past Vidette. No further investigation took place until more than three months later, when Radio Free Ozarks determined that this event was most likely the crashing debris of a Starlink satellite, brought down by local small arms fire.

Our investigation was sparked by a second, similar incident that occurred in the evening of February 5, 2022. This time a wider trail of multiple meteor streaks was reported, likely hitting ground in the Ozark National Forest area north of Mountain View. Anonymous sources and general community scuttlebutt pointed this reporter to the backwoods cabin of Duke Blaylock, 57, of Vidette or near enough. With an introduction and advance warnings provided by a mutual contact over the radio, Blaylock agreed to sit and tell his boastful tale.

On a warm afternoon in late February, Blaylock was found outside, sitting next to an abandoned 1970’s automobile and cleaning a very long sniper-type rifle. Blaylock declined to discuss his past, saying only that he served in Afghanistan, had done some things, and that he was now on disability. “I’m just an old country boy who come back home from the war. I want to hunt and kick back and look at the stars. But I have to say I shed a tear when I first saw that line of satellites coming over right after sunset. I set up my .338 sniper rifle, I call her Darlene, and fired my best a few times, but I can’t waste ammo. Darlene told me I needed some more brains, and Nat here had the brains.”

Another man joined the gathering and Blaylock introduced his neighbor and fellow gun enthusiast Nathan “Nat” Gasser, from across the way. Gasser, 39, described himself as a former math analyst for Baxter Healthcare, now retired after acquiring significant wealth in buying NFTs.

“I had the right gun, the right ammo, (and) the right night scope, properly sighted in,” Blaylock said. “The right mount, a steady hand, but Nat here ran the numbers, so we knew how to lead the target. Then, by the grace of God, we let Darlene do her thing.” Gasser, sitting down on a nearby tree stump, pulled out his smart phone. “Sometimes you also need to check the latest solar flux index,” Gasser noted.

Gasser showed this reporter a picture on his phone, of Blaylock and Gasser standing proudly next to what appeared to be a charred remains of a Starlink satellite. “That was back in the fall. I used a stopwatch to call out to him on the trigger. (expletive), he’s got the steady hand. We thought we’d missed them all, until we heard the crash back over yonder on Hank’s back pasture. Old Hank had no idea. All he cared about was that his cows were okay. I helped him pull it out of the crater with his tractor. So he got himself a new cattle watering pond. We took the photo after pulling it out of the hole. Got $150 for it at the scrapper down in Batesville last week. No questions asked.”

Two men proudly stand next to satellite debris.
Duke Blaylock (right) and Nathan Gasser pose with the remains of a Starlink satellite at the Griggsby farm in November 2021 (Courtesy Nathan Gasser)

Gasser then showed this reporter a brief gunsight video on his phone, recorded through a Bluetooth connection to the electronic rifle scope. “That’s this second one. A couple weeks back. It blew up all real pretty. That’s what hitting the fuel tank gets you. They said it went down in the forest. I bet it burned up. But (expletive), what a shot and what a show.”

Animated gif image - gun camera video of satellite getting shot.
Video clip from schmancy electronic gun scope, showing the purported February destruction of a Starlink satellite (Courtesy Nathan Gasser)

Out of earshot of Blaylock, Gasser noted that Blaylock had been a sniper in Afghanistan.

“Lower is better,” Blaylock elaborated. “Pop ’em not long after they launch. Them Starlinks is good hunting because they come up in a row. Better odds is good hunting. Pow pow pow. Hitting one is golden. Hitting two is like winning a big parlay. But bringing one down and it hits in Hank’s back pastureā€¦that is the hand of the Almighty at work. All them boys claiming to have shot down a satellite, they ain’t got no proof. They’re liars. Shooting all willy-nilly is a waste of ammo,” Blaylock said, laughing for several seconds, which morphed into a coughing fit.

In taking credit for the satellite shoot-down, Blaylock and Gasser at great length described their actions as a defense of a generations-long mountain man lifestyle that is under assault by liberal ideologies such as knowledge and equality. Under the heavy weight of perceived cultural persecution, Blaylock praised his life as a simple, common man and made no apologies for taking up arms and shooting at things in the sky.

Pressed further to justify his actions, Blaylock took out a beat-up guitar with only 5 strings and began to sing a crude lament about the decline of their hillbilly [Editor’s Note: There, I said it] lifestyle that, to hear Blaylock explain it, dates back to the 1500’s. Accompanied by Gasser on a fiddle that was in need of tuning, Blaylock sang about his family’s traditional self-sufficiency and the fear of any Social Security investigators who might put his disability check at risk. A second verse denounced the opioid epedemic yet also mourned their recent lack of availability. A tag to the second verse also lamented the high cost of ammunition. Luckily, Blaylock stopped after the second verse, noting that the third, unwritten, verse would speak to the loss of the night sky and somehow blame Joe Biden for it.

Working from photo evidence and online records of currently active Starlink satellites and their launch dates, Radio Free Ozarks has determined that the November image of the downed satellite is very likely authenic and very likely Starlink satellite #3123, presumed lost from the Group 4-1 batch of satellites launched on November 13, 2021. The February gun scope camera video could not be verified as a Starlink satellite, but the Feburary 5th reports of multiple meteor streaks across the area does correspond with the February 3, 2022 launch of the Group 4-7 batch of satellites. Most of that group were lost due to increased solar storm activity, so a definitive satellite ID number could not be determined.

Elon Musk looks unhappy
Elon Musk
(via Zoom)

Radio Free Ozarks contacted Starlink for comment, stating that we had information about the possible downing of two of their satellites. During a followup Zoom meeting with a Starlink media representative, Elon Musk himself abruptly joined the meeting, appearing from an undisclosed location. “So I hear that you know what happened to satellites 3123 and 3168?” Musk asked, setting aside niceties. This reporter identified his affiliation and responded in the affirmative, and began to lay out the events leading up to that point. As he was listening, Musk pulled out his cell phone and began using an unseen app. Several seconds later the Zoom call abruptly ended due to an interruption of this reporter’s internet service. At press time, this service outage had not ended.

Per reports from a highly-regarded local citizen and per discussions in the Starlink internet forum on Reddit, internet service to Arkansas-based users went down at 2:12pm CST on February 22nd and has not returned as of press time [Editor’s Note: Press deadline extended due to having to freaking drive half a county over to get a steady 4G signal]. Anecdotal reports on the Reddit forum indicated that the shutdown was for all users who signed up with an Arkansas zip code, as a handful of users who had traveled out-of-state to RV campsites also reported the service interruption. Users with zip codes bordering Arkansas reported no issues.

Neither Starlink nor Musk could be reached for comment or for receiving desperate pleas to reconsider, because this reporter’s VOIP phone and internet service is no longer working, in case anyone from Starlink is reading this. This blog site did not shoot down your satellites! Helloooo??