You Don’t Need To See His Identification
If you’re a jack-booted thug, one of the saddest moments in Star Wars is when Obi-Wan Kenobe and Luke Skywalker slip past the Imperial Stormtroopers, out looking for stolen property. Had the Stormtroopers been a little more on the ball, all of those innocents on the Death Star would still be alive.
You may not be surprised to find I have a different take on matters.
TROOPER: How long have you had these droids?
LUKE: About three or four seasons.
BEN: They’re for sale if you want them.
TROOPER: Let me see your identification.
BEN: You don’t need to see his identification.
TROOPER: We don’t need to see his identification.
BEN: These are not the droids your looking for.
TROOPER: These are not the droids we’re looking for.
BEN: He can go about his business.
TROOPER: You can go about your business.
Notice start of a perhaps useful line of questioning: How long have you had these droids… which could be followed with a series of in depth-questions. But instead the trooper goes to an identification check. Not like the Empire has any idea who its searching for on remote Tatooine. But that’s not the point of the roadblock. The point of the roadblock is to find a pair of droids, and the trooper becomes distracted by a desire to see some id. (Maybe he was about to offer Luke a drink?) The two droids the Stormtrooper is looking for are right there in front of him. Why doesn’t he look at them? (Presumably, they have Driod ID numbers engraved at the factory.) But its simpler and easier to check identification papers, rather than to examine the scene. The bureaucratic impulse crawls to the forefront of this rapidly aging clone’s mind.
It’s an impulse we see all too often: It’s easier to check ID than it is to make a judgment call. Maybe we can defer to the computer. We can fail to fix the voter registration system, and just check their IDs. We fail to secure the airplanes, and just check IDs. We let a fellow with a bloody sword into the country, but we checked his ID.
Better to take Obi Wan’s advice: You don’t need to see his identification.