5 Ways Mankind Would Screw Up Lightsabers For Everyone
A new Star Wars movie is coming out, and lots of people are getting really excited for it. And if past experience has taught us anything, they won't be disappointed in any way.
"So now the midichlorians shot first?"
It also means many more people will be flailing around their garages in imaginary lightsaber battles. There's something very deep in the human psyche that is desperately attracted to the concept of laser swords, and the Internet is full of examples of people staging epic pretend fights with their neighbor Kenny.
But what if they didn't have to pretend? What if, by simply wishing it so god damned much, we could make lightsabers actually exist in our world? I decided to find out. Using the six existing films, a painted broomstick, and my childlike imagination as references, I analyzed all the ways the world would change if we suddenly all had lightsabers.
It gets pretty grim, actually.
Massive And Immediate Casualties
The first few seconds of mass lightsaber ownership will go fine. But eventually, people will notice the large bulges in their front pockets, and wonder who they're specifically happy to see, and discover that they have lightsabers, and try to figure out how to turn them on. When this happens, depending on how well-labeled these things are (is there an "Aim Away From Face" sticker?), we're going to lose a sizable percent of the human population more or less immediately.
You're not going to want to be on an airplane when this goes down.
For most of the world, this will result in tears, chaos, and many people taking a half day at work. Not everyone will fare that badly, though. People isolated from each other should do better, and anyone at a rave will find the dance floor getting really exciting for a few seconds.
"Put your hands up in the air, put your hands up in the air!"
Once the initial carnage settles down and we take the lightsabers away from the children, the survivors will have to take a long look at the power they've just been given.
Lightsabers are incredible pieces of technology, portrayed as being able to cut through almost anything. The implications this has for industry are significant. Workers in a variety of sectors would be instantly more efficient. Construction alone would become a lot easier, to say nothing of demolition. Entire buildings could be knocked down by a single guy.
Maybe give him a helmet, though.
Lightsaber wounds cauterize instantly, which could be potentially useful in some types of surgical procedures (hand amputations come to mind). One can imagine that every hospital will soon have a team of specially-trained lightsaber surgeons to work on these particular cases; elite practitioners who will speak softly and take to wearing robes in their free time.
Even for household activities, lightsabers would be a blessing. Perfectly sliced tomatoes, ultra close shaves, and finally, something capable of opening those stupid plastic clamshell packages.
But rapid increases in productivity aren't always good news, as this increased efficiency can make workers redundant and put them out of a job. Within months, the world would see a mass increase in unemployment, which would lead to a new problem ...
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The thin concrete and wooden walls that keep thieves away from us and our cool things obviously won't slow down lightsabers very much at all. This will of course be a problem as soon as lightsabers arrive in our world, but once the wave of displaced workers arrives, it will get a lot worse -- just hordes upon hordes of unemployed lumberjacks roaming the suburbs, looking for easy money. There honestly wouldn't be much point in locking your door at night once this happens, so likely is the chance of a burglar-shaped hole appearing in the wall beside it.
"What's this shit? An irregular oval? Care a little, man!"
This will inevitably lead to a lot of confrontations between lightsaber-armed homeowners and lumberjacks, and some seriously clumsy fucking sword fights. Around this point, the government will consider its dwindling supply of body bags and street sweepers clogged with limbs, and decide it's seen enough. Martial law will be more or less inevitable, and we can expect to see massive sweeps of the population to collect lightsabers.
You'll also be able to exchange them at your local high school -- no questions asked -- for a Jar-Jar Binks KFC cup.
But many, many lightsabers will fall through the cracks, from criminals stealing them to people hiding them to countries where the government sweeps just aren't that effective. For someone who genuinely wants one, a lightsaber will still be pretty easy to come by.
Lord Of The Flies
And in a world with readily-available lightsabers, how are horrific terrorist attacks not an everyday occurrence? Attacks would no longer have to be meticulously planned over months -- they could be spur-of-the-moment decisions, launched by lone wolf terrorists, and utterly impossible to defend against. Even people we wouldn't conventionally consider terrorists would be a threat. I have personally been pissed off at a Target enough to physically attack it, and I can't imagine the damage I'd have done if I'd been armed with anything more than my fists.
A lot more than $48,000 worth, that's for sure.
There'd just be nothing to stop this. The military, with their tanks and rifles and drones, could stay out of range of lightsaber-wielding villains. They could protect whatever they wanted, but they couldn't protect everything. And when any criminal or angry consumer can level a building or open a cash register with a flick of the wrist and little twirl, I don't see any way that the economy doesn't quickly break down. Eventually the store shelves will empty, and the petroleum will run out, and the soldiers will start slipping away in the night to be with their families. And after that? There's nothing but humming, crackling, lightsabering anarchy.
A New Hope
After a few decades of darkness (brightly-colored, well-lit darkness, I should point out), the human population will stabilize at a much lower level. Notably, the few who survive will all have one thing in common: They'll be pretty freaking handy with lightsabers. As society starts to reform in small clans and tribes, people will move around much more cautiously, because everyone will know that everyone else is armed with a god damned laser sword. Everyone will by necessity have the same heightened sense of posture and spatial awareness that fencers and duelists in the middle ages had.
"Is it not weird that although we are on a casual stroll, I'm armed in such a manner that I could murder you at any moment?"
"It is weird that you keep bringing it up."
But this will be more than just street smarts or experience; thanks to the pretty brutal process of unnatural selection which has just swept across the planet, there will be a genetic component to this as well. People with fast reflexes and an extraordinary sense for danger will simply be more likely to survive this saberpocalypse. Their children and their children's children will have the same advantage, and over the next several generations of societal rebuilding, brutal population winnowing, and slapstick rave accidents, a few humans will evolve enough to develop what is essentially Force sensitivity.
So there you go. No downsides. Bring on the lightsabers.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and would be one of the first to perish. His first novel, Severance, is incredible and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.
For more from Chris, check out 5 Pros And Cons Of Leaving Your Child In The Wilderness and So The Walls Of Your House Are Bleeding.
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