Today is May 4th. Or, as we Star Wars fans like to call it, May the Fourth.
Yes, I’m a geek. I stopped apologizing for it decades ago and now I just revel in my geekdom. My journey toward geekhood began in a movie theater in 1977. I was just three years old when I first saw what is now called A New Hope.
Back then, it was just Star Wars, but I never cared what you called it. I was a fan and even the last two
abominations movies haven’t fully erased that. There’s a reason that, if you watch any video interview I do, you’ll see a rebel flag behind me.
But I’ve always known that the entire franchise was built on shaky ground.
In particular, the Galactic Empire, the big baddies of the franchise, simply couldn’t exist in the world we see.
You see, for all the evils of the Empire–and if you watch any of the shows like The Bad Batch, you see that they really were oppressive–the one thing they didn’t seem to do much is restrict guns.
Han Solo, for example, famously swaggers throughout the original trilogy with a blaster slug low on his hip like a cowboy in the Old West. His faithful companion Chewbacca has his bowcaster with him on the regular as well.
Now, these aren’t exactly law-abiding citizens, I’ll grant you. They’re smugglers who make their living moving a drug called “spice.”
Yet Solo doesn’t conceal his weapons when among the public. From Tattooine to Bespin, that blaster stays right by his side.
Then there’s his famous ship, the Millennium Falcon.
I loved that ship as a kid. One of my favorite scenes was when Han and Luke man the gun turrets to shoot TIE fighters.
Now, keep in mind that the Falcon was a freighter. It was basically a space 18-wheeler, yet it was armed to the teeth. Not just that, but these weapons were exposed, plain for everyone to see.
Sure, much of the story revolves around the Rebel Alliance, but the Falcon wasn’t a Rebel ship for a long, long time.
With all these weapons floating around in private hands and seemingly anyone being able to arm their ships, how could such an empire really get tyrannical in the first place?
Oh, we all saw how Sen. Palpatine became emperor, but how could his will be enforced like that without the private citizens of the former Republic not start stacking bodies?
“But there was the Rebellion.”
No. The Rebellion isn’t what I’m talking about. That was a uniformed force with a complete table of equipment unique to their forces. They fought as a conventional force throughout the movies. Later shows tried to retcon some of what happened before that, but they fall flat.
The reason is simple, they either forgot that there was an armed populace or don’t understand that an armed populace isn’t that likely to roll over for tyranny.
Yeah, I know, there’s no way that armed populace could take on the Imperial Navy and survive. The thing is, they don’t have to.
A handful of stormtroopers being taken out at a checkpoint. Another group taken down while guarding a spaceport. Ships sabotaged afterward.
A thousand little cuts like this add up over time, long before you end up with the Rebel Alliance.
It would have likely started much earlier, too; early enough that the emperor would have been forced to back off on many of his plans or risk outright war with everyone.
Our Founding Fathers feared this exact scenario–one we see in fiction but, thankfully, haven’t seen in reality on our streets and in our homes. That’s why they enshrined our right to keep and bear arms for special protection in the Bill of Rights.
They wanted us to be able to keep our own Emperor Palpatine in check and put down the stormtroopers in our midst.
So May the Fourth be with you, but also the Second.