Good, I Can Scratch That Off My Ethics Mysteries List: Han Shot First After All!

Star Wars Bar Script

Peter Mayhew, a.k.a. Chewbacca the Wookie, has released to the internet the page from his original Star Wars script that answers the crucial ethics dilemma discussed on Ethics Alarms in 2012.

As it seemed when we all first saw the film, Han Solo shot the porcupine fish-headed space-thug Greedo with a blaster before being fired upon, and I have no problem with that at all. It was self defense.

Nonetheless, a large group of activists, led by Greedo’s family’s lawyer and whipped into a frenzy by cable TV, demonstrated and protested based on a bar patron’s false report that Greedo had his hands up at the time. Luckily, the film proved this was false, though “Hands up! Don’t blast!” survived as a provocative refrain.


Pointer and Spark: Tim LeVier

Greedo Ethics

Who shot first?

Jedi Emeritus George Lucas betrayed a warped concept of cowboy ethics, self-defense and ethics generally in a recent Hollywood Reporter interview in which he was quizzed about his technological fixes on the original Star Wars trilogy. The topic was the shooting of Greedo in the bar, when Han Solo blasts away at the green, fishy porcupine-like villain, who has a gun pointed at him:

Lucas: Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.

Lucas’s idea of what constitutes a “cold-blooded killer” runs counter to law, common sense, and ethics. Continue reading

Don’t Knock “The Code of the West”!

A commenter just nominated the Republicans in the Montana State Legislature for “Incompetent Elected Official” status because they have proposed “The Code of the West” as  Montana’s State Code.

Nomination rejected. I don’t want to argue about whether a state needs a State Code, although it seems a lot more useful and constructive than state birds, state songs and state pies. I also don’t feel like debating the political correctness attacks on the potential use of the Code of the West by Native American activists, who apparently think the Code glorifies cowboys and insults Indians (Oh, all right: the complaint is nonsense. Valid ideals are not sullied by the misdeeds of those who espoused them.) But I like the cowboy codes, all of them. One is already on the site. I might not choose the same ten tenets of the unwritten Code of the West that is being debated in Montana, but the Code of the West is a perfectly good statement of ethical principles, and any state that embraces it should be praised, not embroiled in a lot of political posturing. Continue reading