At 9:52 this morning, sharpshooters engineered a direct strike on the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon near the intersection of 67th Street and Central Park West, resulting in parade termination. Despite the parade not turning out as everyone hoped, from an emergency preparedness standpoint, we’re pretty damned proud of our Balloon Infantry Task Force.

These men and women train 364 days a year for scenarios should the balloons get loose. We’ve never had to call in a tactical balloon strike. Before this year, that is. To summarize:

• SpongeBob: Snipered

• Buzz Lightyear: Snipered

• Dora the Explorer: Still adrift over the Eastern Seaboard

• Kermit the Frog: Snipered

• Horton Hears a Who!: Snipered

• Pikachu: Adrift

• Energizer Bunny: Snipered

• Pillsbury Dough Boy: Units are currently cutting him off the side of a high-rise on 53rd Street

• Pokémon: Snipered

• Shrek: Adrift

• Snoopy: Snipered

• Hello Kitty: Snipered

• Spider-Man: Shot down by Air Force jets off the coast of Maryland

The investigation is ongoing as to what caused the balloons to get loose in the first place. Folks, typically it’s a wind burst that disrupts one set of balloon handlers, in this case the aforementioned SpongeBob crew. As the footage attests, once one got loose and our sharpshooters responded, things went downhill. Fast. Most parade viewers are not privy to the logistical tactics that go in to maintaining a safe parade environment. While all of you at home are enjoying the floats and marching bands, our Balloon Infantry Task Force is crouched on rooftops with Barrett Model 98B sniper rifles with bolt-action precision tactical .338 Lapua Magnum centerfire cartridges, tracking the festive balloons through scopes along the parade route.

Due to the constant TV footage being replayed, I’d like to address certain visuals before we begin the Q&A.

1. Why Snoopy?

Look, folks, let’s get something straight. This isn’t a personal vendetta between our Task Force and the balloon characters. They get out of alignment, we act. Now I realize Snoopy is a staple of Thanksgiving Day. But only so long as he’s connected to 70 handling lines and trailed by a van full of emergency sandbags. Once he gets loose, we have a 90-second window before he breaks international air space regulations, which have been in place since the Cold War, and becomes a menace to jetliners and satellites. For that reason, I ordered our Task Force to take Snoopy down. So if you want to point fingers, you point them here. Our units were just following orders.

2. Why did Kermit the Frog’s head explode?

Lieutenant Daniel Whitmore engineered a perfect kill shot at an angle maybe two, three balloon snipers in the world could manage. He had one shot before the target escaped our kill zone, which was to shoot for Kermit’s jugular. What that means in balloon speak—where the nylon fabric of neck meets shoulder, we fasten a precautionary CO2 canister to each balloon pre-parade. If we have one shot, we shoot for the CO2 jugular, which as footage showed caused the upper mandible of Kermit’s jaw, plus portions of the left eye and nylon skull, to disappear in what we call a “braining effect,” instantly grounding the target. What many of you in the media have likened to a massive bomb was actually the sound of the Muppet’s head exploding.

3. Why was Infantry filmed stabbing a half-deflated Tom Turkey balloon once it was already grounded?

You know, folks, it’s easy when you’re at home on the couch with Uncle Frank and Aunt Wilma, watching our Ground Artillery advance on and then repeatedly stab the Tom Turkey balloon, to develop an uneducated opinion that we’re using “excessive force.” We consider all balloon characters threats until they are emptied of air. The streets of Manhattan are wind tunnels. One gust and Tom Turkey becomes an airline pilot’s worst nightmare.

Okay, I’ll open it up to questions. Just have time for a few, as some of us have been working all day and we want to get home for Thanksgiving dinner with our families. One thing before we get started: I’m not addressing the Mickey Mouse situation. We chain-sawed that balloon in half because it was blocking one of the main evacuation routes for parade goers. It was a safety issue. It had nothing to do with “sending a message,” as many have speculated. Believe me, the last thing I thought I’d be doing today was disemboweling Mickey Mouse in Times Square.