Nobody blamed the light saber.

(Full disclosure: this post was written by a guest author, Chad R. MacDonald. The only Star Wars movie I've ever seen is the first one. Once. When it came out in the theaters. I support the premise wholeheartedly but all the references are completely lost on me.)

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There is a popular Star Wars internet meme that pops up from time to time. It talks about how, when Anakin Skywalker turned to the Dark Side and killed younglings, nobody blamed the lightsaber.

No. Nobody blamed the lightsaber. But it never should have fallen into Anakin Skywalker’s hands. Yoda, Mace Windu, and the Jedi Council could see this. They said no. They knew there was something terribly wrong with him. He shouldn’t own such a powerful weapon.

But Senator Palpatine, hungry for power and motivated by his religion, manipulated events so that the lightsaber would fall into the boy’s hands. He knew the violence that would come of it. Indeed, he planned on it. His future as Emperor hinged upon it.

The senator made greater and greater power grabs, finally ousting the elected leader. He began building an army of unquestioning clones to solidify his power base. He created conflict after conflict, sacrificing his minions along the way, to keep the people distracted from his selfish climb to the top.

Anakin was buffeted with war and tragedy, while his fears were played upon by this evil man. He eventually succumbed to the unrelenting fear and rage and did horrible things. He killed innocent people. Friends. Children.

Palpatine became Emperor. With all humanity stripped from him, Skywalker became Darth Vader. He continued to commit monstrous atrocities in the name of his religion. He justified to himself he was doing the right thing.

The Emperor continued to build the military to overwhelming numbers while flooding the galaxy with munitions. Soon, even a freighter captain couldn’t go anywhere without a sidearm, regardless of his seven-foot tall Wookiee partner. The galaxy was ruled by violence and fear.

So, no, don’t blame the lightsaber. Blame a dark and greedy sub-culture justifying itself with religion and false patriotism, while glorifying violence and promoting fear. They created the atmosphere that put this weapon in the wrong man’s hands. And it caused the deaths of countless people.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Don’t let them scare you.