“On or about May 25, 2977, you fired a proton torpedo at a design flaw in the industrial celestial object, leading to its complete destruction and the deaths of most crew members.”
Heads up, Star Wars fans – your favorite boy-who-could is in big trouble with the Pittsburgh, PA, legal system. The Jedi was charged with the murders of 5999 people and the destruction of the Death Star, with Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine testifying for the prosecution and Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke himself taking the stand for the defense.
“I destroyed it because the Empire was posing a threat to the entire Rebel Alliance and the galaxy as a whole,” Luke said, waiving his Fifth Amendment right. “The Death Star could destroy an entire planet. If I didn’t destroy it, millions or even billions of lives could have been lost. The dark forces have no regard for human life and would destroy everything in their path.”
The “trial” took place earlier this year at Dormont Public Library and was meant to introduce kids to the legal system via known and loved material. Let’s be real, it’s also so local lawyers can have a bit of fun dressing up. The kids make up the jury – last year they acquitted Harry Potter of the death of Professor Quirrell, and this year, they let Skywalker walk, too.
The group of grade-schoolers (many sporting Star Wars t-shirts) were stoic in the face of Vader and Palpatine’s admissions that they planned to use the Death Star in planet-wide massacres, as they responded to the question of whether their agenda included “blowing up their planets, destroying cities, and killing thousands of people.”
“Yes,” Vader retorted, “but is was a greater purpose yooouuuuu wouldn’t understand!”
Storm Trooper Number 12 garnered a bit more sympathy as he recounted the events from inside the Death Star:
“They surrounded us from all sides with a strategically coordinated attack. It was clear they had been planning this for a while, definitely premeditated. They were heavily armed and many of my best men were killed before my very eyes.”
Though the defense faltered slightly when Han Solo had to admit his ship (“You haven’t heard of the Millennium Falcon?”) was used for smuggling, Princess Leia brought it all home (as she always does) by recounting the horrors suffered by her own planet, Alderaan, at the hands of the Empire’s Death Star.
“By destroying the Death Star, we saved lives. Darth Vader and the Empire should be on trial. My home planet was a peaceful place with no military bases. They killed millions of people and we killed 5999 to stop them from killing millions more. This trial is an outrage. It’s unfortunate those lives were lost, but we were doing it for the greater good.”
The jury agreed, acquitting Luke and stating that they believed it was Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader who should be on trial.
As far as the bad guys, though, who lost “a gazillion galactic credits” in the attack, they might consider a civil suit.
“The Empire has much to settle,” said Emperor Palpatine after the verdict was read.
This seems like an awesomely fun way to teach kids about the legal system, dressing up, and enjoying an inter-generational love for Star Wars.