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In Attack of the Clones there is a scene that makes me cringe. Anakin comes back after slaying an entire Tusken town. I can concede that Anakin was angry and unable to hold back his inner rage but... How can Amidala react like this? She's not only horrified but she is comforting him after the slaughter.

Are Tusken Raiders considered animals or subhuman? Is it just her or is it the morality of Naboo/the Galaxy that supports this reaction? Or was it just love, how can't she see that he is a murdering monster?

From the script for Episode II:

PADME: What's wrong, Ani?

ANAKIN: I-- I killed them. I killed them all. They're dead. Every single one of them. And not just the men... but the women... and the children too. They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals! I hate them! [ Anakin Exhales ]

PADME: To be angry is to be human.

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She's overwhelmed by the situation

Padmé sat back a bit, too stunned to respond. She knew that Anakin needed her to say something or do something, but she was paralyzed.

Attack of the Clones (novelization)

As we also see here:

Padmé pulled him in and hugged him close, never wanting to let go. She still didn’t know what to say.

“Why do I hate them?” Anakin asked her.

“Do you hate them, or do you hate what they did to your mother?”

“I hate them!” he insisted.

“And they earned your anger, Anakin.”

Attack of the Clones (novelization)

At the moment, she's a bit too shocked to spend too much time thinking of the morality of the situation.

She cares for Anakin

We cannot underestimate how much caring for a person can lead someone to overlook their misdeeds. Padme's first reaction is to back up and comfort Anakin, not condemn his actions. That doesn't mean that, coming from an objective standpoint, she might not disagree with what he did.

She views it as justice

“Do you hate them, or do you hate what they did to your mother?”

“I hate them!” he insisted.

“And they earned your anger, Anakin.”

Attack of the Clones (novelization)

Don't forget, while Anakin's revenge was vicious and disproportionate, the Tuskens had tortured and killed his mother. Padme seems to view his anger and actions as justified when seen in that light.

That said, this attitude might not have been shared by the courts of Coruscant, which is probably why Anakin kept it quiet. There is no doubt that Padme's reaction here is colored by her friendship with and feelings toward Anakin. There is also no doubt that this was a contributing factor in Anakin's fall to the Dark Side later on.

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    It might also very well be that Padme simply doesn't know enough about the Tusken. She's not from Tatooine, and it seems that "natives" of Tatooine do not have a lot of contact with and understanding of the Tusken either. She doesn't know if she should consider this more similar to "massacring a pride of lions that killed a human", or to "massacring a bunch of non-christians that killed a human", or to "massacring a bunch of fellow (criminal) sentients who killed a human". – Luaan Jun 1 '16 at 9:50
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    If someone emotionally confided in me that he had just killed a lot of people, I would want to avoid saying anything that might upset him. Going for support is safer, gives me time to run away back to my starship. – Amy Jun 1 '16 at 15:51
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    thinking the collective slaughtering of an entire tribe can be "earned" by the actions of some of them is so so so so far off from padmé's character. – sara Jun 1 '16 at 18:23
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    @Liath Ahsoka was prosecuted (for a crime she didn't commit) in The Clone Wars, so apparently they can be, at least in the Old Republic. – reirab Jun 1 '16 at 20:15
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    @kai I agree in regards to slaughtering them, but in regards to collective guilt, is there anything at all in Star Wars canon to suggest that being ruthless, indiscriminate killers wasn't pretty universal among the sand people? I can't think of anything off hand. Even in the specific case of Shmi, she's being held and tortured in their camp with no suggestion (that I can recall, at least) that any of them even disapprove. – reirab Jun 1 '16 at 20:23
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In addition to the other answers:

The sand people are viewed as sub human.

The question even states this

ANAKIN: I-- I killed them. I killed them all. They're dead. Every single one of them. And not just the men... but the women... and the children too. They're like animals, and I slaughtered them like animals! I hate them!

The (old EU) novel Kenobi goes into depth on the relation between the sand people and the settlers. While the settlers fear the sand people they think that even trying to communicate with them is pointless as they are no more than animals. (it must be said the sand people also think the settlers are sub-sand person)

If a herd of buffalo stampeded over your mother, would slaughtering them seem so overblown.

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    Why does he use "men" and "women"? If they were sub human, wouldn't female and male be more appropriate? – KyloRen Jun 1 '16 at 10:52
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    I think Anakin opinion on sand people doesn't count in that moment. Does the rest of civilized persons of the Galaxy sees the Sand people as animals? – Averroes Jun 1 '16 at 11:06
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    The settlers on Tatooine see them as animals, so I would think so. – Jeremy French Jun 1 '16 at 11:12
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    "If a herd of buffalo stampeded over your mother, would slaughtering them seem so overblown." Yes, because if they aren't sentient, what good would it do? They can't connect cause and effect the way we can, which means that attempting to instill within them, or other buffalo, either remorse for what they did or fear of doing it again (deterrence) would be futile. – Mason Wheeler Jun 1 '16 at 15:23
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    +1 It's a sketchy morality, but this answer accurately portrays how their universe "works". Anakin's point-of-no-return is his slaying of the Jedi younglings; the Sandpeople children therefore must be seen as creatures, not sentients. – brian_o Jun 1 '16 at 18:47
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She's comforting him because she cares about him. He's become very dear to her in their travels. But the main reason is that she can see he's really cut up about it. She can see he's affected by how he let his anger go, and he's horrified at himself for killing them all. Yes, he hates them for killing his mother, but at the same time, he hates himself for doing what he did. He knows it's not the Jedi way, and he knows that what he did was wrong.

Padme, on the other hand, understands where the rage comes from. She understands that it would only be human to feel as he did, and to want revenge. Especially after having met his mother herself, and knowing how much Ani loved his mother. So she understands why he did what he did.

She also understands that he is beating himself up about it, because he's trying so hard to be a proper Jedi. He's visibly hurting, not only because of his mother's death, but also because of how he took revenge on all the Tuskans. She doesn't need to berate him, cos he's already doing it to himself. What she sees now is that he's conflicted inside, and she's trying to reconcile him to it.

I'd bet, if she had been there, she's have stopped him. She'd have tried to tell him to walk away and to remember that he's a Jedi. But the thing is, it already happened, and there's nothing she or anyone else can do about it. She knows he's a good boy, and that he didn't slaughter them all for fun. He was angry and in pain, so he did it without fully thinking. She can see by his guilt that he knows his own mistake. All she's trying to do now is help him come to terms with what wrong he did, and move on.

After all, she loves him.

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It's interesting that after three years, Anakin felt guilt over his slaughter of the Tuskens, despite the fact that they had killed his mother. Yet, Padme had not given them a second thought. Then I remembered how Cliegg Lars described them - "Those Tuskens walk like men, but they're vicious, mindless monsters."

Padme regarded Anakin's actions against the Tuskens as "justice". She regarded the Tuskens' actions against Shmi, and Anakin's actions against the Jedi as "monstrous". She saw nothing wrong with Anakin enacting revenge against the Tuskens. She never considered the idea that revenge is not justice. Ironically, Anakin did.

This is not about bad writing on George Lucas' part. This is about Lucas revealing that Padme was never the ideal female character that many fans wanted her to be.

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