Created By: HiddenFacedMattNovember 23, 2011 Last Edited By: DAN004January 3, 2015
Troped

Pacifism Backfire

When trying to avoid violence causes more of it in the long run.

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


A character insists on not exacting violence.... and he or she ends up causing more fighting in the long run than was at first avoided.

Perhaps s/he is a Principles Zealot, believing that no end justifies the means of violence, including that of preventing worse violence. Perhaps s/he is a Horrible Judge Of Character, not realizing that avoiding such a fight would cause more of it. Or maybe s/he is a Dirty Coward who just wants to wash his or her hands of the situation.

A downplayed variant of this is when someone who is willing to fight but unwilling to kill refuses to kill someone no matter how dangerous he is. That someone ends up causing more trouble later.

Indeed, the moral (if you can call it a "moral") is that Violence Really Is The Answer.

A common (but not always) telltale of this trope is when someone says "I should've killed/stopped him when I had the chance/back then."

One of the many ways to Create Your Own Villain. May stem from Good Cannot Comprehend Evil. Compare Head In The Sand Management, which sometimes overlaps with this, and The Farmer And The Viper (aka "Hospitality Backfire"). Compare also We Have Become Complacent when a community who has never experienced war for a long time is forced into a war situation and they are unable to fight back. See also No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Nice Job Breaking It Hero, Suicidal Pacifism and Neutrality Backlash.

Contrast Badass Pacifist when a pacifist manages to stop the conflict/help others using entirely non-violent means.

There may be real life examples, but perhaps it's best if we don't go there. No Real Life Examples Please

Indices: Cynicism Tropes, Peace Tropes, Index Backfire


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Trigun, Vash the Stampede will *not* kill his enemies... nor hurt them in any major way... and the show takes great pains to show that it's a noble calling, but possibly misguided considering the Crap Sack World circumstances (Vash's body is a mass of scars, the sixty billion double dollar bounty (until it's removed) means that anybody with a gun and a desperate need of money (which is practically the whole planet) is out to get him, he's constantly arguing with his companions (or at least Wolfwood) about the usefulness/futility of his Thou Shalt Not Kill code, the Quirky Miniboss Squad and the Big Bad are out to make Vash suffer by any means possible, which usually involves killing everything that moves and going the extra mile with anybody that Vash so much as gave the time of the day to, increasing in cruelty/kill count up to Apocalypse How levels as the series goes on...)
  • Rurouni Kenshin and Grenadier. The main character subscribes to a Thou Shalt Not Kill mentality backed up by impressive combat skills, and the Big Bad(s) sends outrageously powerful enemies that have absolutely no problem in killing anybody that gets in the way of their fight with the main character, and actually do so in order to unlock the full combat capability of the main character via Unstoppable Rage, while gloating that the pacifism and using non-lethal attacks (which require more finesse than simply slashing/shooting someone dead) has "made them weak".
  • Happens almost constantly in Naruto
    • Hashirama spares Madara, Madara becomes the Bigger Bad.
    • Sarutobi spares Orochimaru, many people die including Sarutobi himself.
    • Naruto lets Sasuke go, Sasuke ends up helping the Big Bad.
    • Naruto and Minato spares Obito, Madara gets revived.
  • One Piece. In Law's flashback, when Rocinante, after being beaten to near death, revealed his true nature to his boss and big brother Doflamingo that he's a Marine who's going to stop him, the two pointed their guns at each other. Doflamingo pointed out that Rocinante is too kind to actually pull the trigger note  and then the former killed the latter. And then Doflamingo went on to conquer the island of Dressrosa (something that Roci wanted to prevent) and caused a reign of sugarcoated terror there.

Comic Book

Film
  • Mars Attacks. The U.S. tries twice to make peaceful contact with the Martians. The first time, the Martian leader and his soldiers wipe out the U.S. Army forces at the meeting site. The second time the Martian leader asks to address Congress. While he's doing so he and his soldiers destroy everyone there. Later on the French government tries the diplomatic approach: not surprisingly it ends in a bloodbath.
  • In The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, King Theoden's first impulse upon being freed from Saruman's magical influence is to kill Grima Wormtongue, the treacherous advisor responsible for said magical influence. Aragorn stays his hand, saying "Enough blood has been spilled on his account." But Wormtongue rejects the offer of absolution for his crimes and flees to Saruman. There, Wormtongue provides intelligence to Saruman (the path that the people of Rohan will take to reach Helm's Deep, and the weakest point of the walls at Helm's Deep), enabling Saruman's army to kill many more than they otherwise would have.

Literature
  • An important theme in Robert Merle's novel The Island, which is based on the story of the mutiny on the Bounty. English mutineers and Tahitians start a settlement on an island, but tensions quickly build up between them, because some of the English treat the Tahitians as inferior. The protagonist, Purcell doesn't allow his friends to kill the main troublemaker because of his pacifistic Christian beliefs. Eventually war breaks out, and all men on the island die, except for Purcell and a Tahitian. Purcell ends up blaming himself.
  • In the Babylon Five novel Clark's Law, the station security officers try and break up a fight between the Narns and the Tuchanq using stun guns. Unfortunately, the Tuchanq's brains are wired such that any interruption in consciousness causes them to lose all their long-term and short-term memory and revert to base survival instinct, essentially making them Ax Crazy. Fixing this problem requires even more violence, and of course, one of the still-crazy ones gets loose and accidentally kills a human, which sets the real plot of the book in motion.
  • In Island In The Sea Of Time, Pamela Lisketter and her followers aid William Walker's betrayal in the hopes that his plot will hobble the Republic of Nantucket so that it can't intervene in the Alban War. Unfortunately, their plan is incredibly stupid (amounting to kidnapping the Chief's wife and shooting Marian Alston, the de facto commander of the navy) and is executed incompetently (the bullet grazes Alston), and their getaway plan involved travelling down to Mexico and hoping that the locals are friendly. Not only do they fail to prevent the Republic from going to war, but they also manage to start a war between the Republic and the People of the Jaguar God. And on top of that, Lisketter and her followers all die, but not before spreading mumps throughout Mesoamerica. Nice Job Breaking It Hero, indeed.
  • In the Thomas Dixon novel Fall of a Nation, A combined suffragette/pacifist movement not only keeps the United States out of World War One, but also slashes its military. The war ends in a negotiated stalemate...and then the combined armies of Europe invade the United States!
  • A Song Of Ice And Fire. Eddard Stark refused to arrest Queen Cersei and her illegitimate children because he didn't want them to get hurt. This decision is one of the main causes of the War of Five Kings.
  • Harry Potter: Harry refuses to allow Peter Pettigrew to be killed, resulting in the return of Lord Voldemort. Downplayed because it was actually an act of Cruel Mercy and he expects Pettigrew to be put into Azkaban instead. Although Harry's mercy does get rewarded later, when Pettigrew remembers it and hesitates to attack Harry, giving Harry a crucial chance to escape.

Live Action TV
  • In the Babylon Five episode "The Fall of Night", a representative of Earth's Ministry of Peace visits the station to finalize a non-aggression pact between Earth Alliance and the Centauri—right after the latter use illegal weapons of mass destruction (mass drivers) to bombard the Narn homeworld back to the stone age, and show evidence of being on a dangerously aggressive footing in the galaxy. The minister even uses the phrase "peace in our time". Shortly thereafter, the Centauri begin conquests in the territories of many other races.
  • Battlestar Galactica Classic. In the pilot episode the Council of Twelve takes all of the Battlestars to a peace conference with the Cylons, leaving the Twelve Colonies completely undefended. Naturally the Cylons decide to use Aggressive Negotiations: they take the opportunity to ambush not only the Battlestars, destroying all but the Galactica, but almost entirely wiping out the colonies as well. In a later episode it's stated that the colonies had planetary defenses, which were sabotaged by a confederate of Baltar's.
  • Parodied in the pilot of Jessie. In the first scene we see with the kids, Emma and Luke are fighting, with Ravi pleading with them to stopnote .
    Ravi: Luke, Emma, please! Violence is never the answer.
    Emma: [whacks Ravi with a pillow]
    Ravi: To heck with the nonviolence! I am on you like stripes on a tiger! [attacks Emma]
  • Doctor Who
    • In general, the Doctor has acknowledged this is a problem with his Technical Pacifism. His attempts not to hurt anyone may not directly have him going against his morals, but he "got clever" and has indirectly caused his friends and companions to fight pretty nasty battles for him or manipulated villains into killing themselves.
    • Had the Doctor not toppled the regime of Harriet Jones as revenge for her blowing up alien invaders in The Christmas Invasion she would have been still been Prime Minister and the Master wouldn't have been able to rise the power as Prime Minster Harold Saxon and assassinate the U.S. president or cause world wide devastation in The Year That Never Was.
    • If the Doctor had just killed the Daleks before they made off the planet Skaro when he had the chance he could have avoided The Time War and seemingly becoming The Last Of His Kind.
  • Star Trek
    • In the original series episode "City on the Edge of Forever", the crew accidentally get sent back in time and prevent a woman from being killed by a car. It turns out she was a pacifist campaigner, and will go on to weaken the U.S. so that the world gets taken over by totalitarians and the Trek future never comes about.
    • In the Mirror Universe stories, started in the original series and continued in Deep Space Nine, Kirk manages to convince Mirror-Spock to get the Terran Empire to eschew its warlike ways... and it promptly gets overthrown by the Klingons and Cardassians.
    • In an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation the crew comes across a Douwd, a near Q-level race. He just wanted to live in peace with his human wife, so he retired to a small colony planet. A group of Husnock (another alien race) attacked but the Douwd are all pacifists so he didn't join the fight. The attacking Husnocks killed everyone else on the planet, including his wife, so in retaliation he killed every member of the Husnock everywhere in the universe.
  • In one episode of Supernatural, the brothers find themselves trapped in a building with a small number of survivors and a huge number of demons trying to enter and kill them all. Ruby arrives and tells them about a spell that would save them all, but it requires a human sacrifice. The Sam and Dean refuse to do it, insisting that they must find another way. However, while the two of them end up escaping just fine, after they leave, the demons return and all of the survivors, including the intended sacrifice, are killed.
  • In Breaking Bad, this formed Mike's Start Of Darkness. Back when he was a cop, there was one particular guy who he visited over and over on domestic violence calls. Eventually, he became so convinced that the guy was eventually going to murder his girlfriend that he kidnapped him to a deserted place to kill him. However, he backed out at the last minute, merely threatening the guy instead. Only a short time later, the guy did indeed beat his wife to death. He regretted his action ever since.
  • In Xena Warrior Princess, Gabrielle picks up the Idiot Ball more than a few times.
    • After her "innocence" is sacrificed by forcing her to stab a woman in self defense (because apparently bashing in people's faces and throats doesn't count), she gives birth to a Fetus Terrible that grows to term in a matter of days, and then strangles the Knight Templar who was watching it within hours of being born. Gabrielle refuses to believe a baby could be evil and fakes out Xena to make her think it's dead.
    • When Xena goes to assassinate a tyrant king, Gabrielle decides that this is somehow unacceptable. She goes to the king, warns him, gets Xena captured, imprisoned, and sentenced to death, all to find out that the king is a matricidal dictator.

Tabletop Games
  • Due to the Forever War nature of the setting, this is pretty much the status quo of Warhammer 40 K. Anytime a world is isolated enough from the current conflicts to be at peace just means it'll attract the attention of Ork and Eldar raiders (for the plunder), Chaos (for their souls), Necrons (for being alive) or the Tyranids (for the biomass), and unable to defend itself.
  • Starfire, Nexus magazine #7 article "The Drolian Conquest". After Khanate of Orion warships attacked several Drolian ships, the Drolian "peaceful expansion" lobby prevented the Drolian government from expanding its space navy. Six months later the Khanate of Orion invaded in force and quickly conquered the Drolians. During the invasion the "peaceful expansion" lobby was lynched by other Drolians.

Theatre
  • Tony suffers this in West Side Story. He goes to the rumble to stop it happening, and tries to resist Bernardo's baiting, but it backfires horribly and he ends up knifing Bernardo who has stabbed Riff.

Video Games
  • This is how Alan "Spam" Webster's mercenary career with A.I.M. ended in the Jagged Alliance series. Coming from the UN peacekeeping forces background, his MO was to negotiate enemy surrender first and only shoot if that fails. One of such failures led to the death of fellow A.I.M. member Johnny "Snake" Edwards, leading to Spam's dishonorable discharge.
  • Mega Man 7. Perhaps justified in that he's still a Three Laws Compliant robot, but still, in the end of the game, when Mega Man finally has Wily at his mercy, he points his Mega Buster at him and charged it, but he hesitated for long enough for Bass to take Wily out of his castle. And of course, it leads to Wily being the Big Bad for the games after it.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Adventure Time
    • In the episode "His Hero", the great hero Billy inspires Finn and Jake to practise non-violence at every cost... and of course, everything goes wrong.
    • In a later episode, "Crystals Have Power", Jake gets a flashback to when he was a kid, and his dad told him that he would hurt everybody if he got out of control. Jake vows to practise non-violence, which gets problematic when Finn gets kidnapped.
  • This popped up on two "Treehouse Of Horror" episodes on The Simpsons.
  • In Avatar The Last Airbender, it was eventually shown that the good Avatar Roku and world-conquering Fire Lord Sozin had been best friends. Roku's spirit tells Aang that he was too-easy on his friend when he discovered his ambitions, and that his aversion to violence in the matter allowed for 100 years of war to reign.

Community Feedback Replies: 78
  • November 23, 2011
    Pyroninja42
    No Real Life Examples. This is pure flame bait.
  • November 23, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    I would think that, if only for acknowledging the often good intentions behind this, it would be at least milder than stuff like Pay Evil Unto Evil or Knight Templar. In any case, I will prohibit specific real-life examples for now.
  • November 23, 2011
    AlexIDV
    Western animation:

    In the Adventure Time episode "His Hero", the great hero Billy inspires Finn and Jake to practise non-violence at every cost... and of course, everything goes wrong.

    In a later episode, "Crystals Have Power", Jake gets a flashback to when he was a kid, and his dad told him that he would hurt everybody if he got out of control. Jake vows to practise non-violence, which gets problematic when Finn gets kidnapped.
  • November 23, 2011
    IronLion
    See also Violence Really Is The Answer.

    This is the main theme of Naked Empire, book eight of Sword Of Truth, in which Richard encounters a village of strawman pacifists who are assisting the enemy through their inaction.
  • November 23, 2011
    azul120
    • Suzaku Kururugi of Code Geass fully embodies this trope, being part of a military that would otherwise go against every fiber of his being.
  • November 23, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    Star Trek: The Original Series' ep. "City on the Edge of Forever" had (in an Alternate Timeline) Edith Keeler sparking a worldwide pacifism movement-which ended up with the Germans nuking countless Allied cities.
  • November 24, 2011
    Lumpenprole
    On the Kung Fu television series, Caine's pacifism would only provoke many of the people he encountered, simply because they truly didn't understand the difference between non-violence and cowardice. If Caine had been a little outwardly firmer, he would have actually beaten up fewer people.
  • March 30, 2012
    SingingRain
    How does this compare to Nice Job Breaking It Hero?
  • March 13, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Head In The Sand Management covers cases where leadership of a nation or organization avoid confronting threats. Definitely a lot of overlap with this.
  • March 13, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    In the Babylon 5 episode "The Fall of Night", a representative of Earth's Ministry of Peace visits the station to finalize a non-aggression pact between Earth Alliance and the Centauri--right after the latter use illegal weapons of mass destruction (mass drivers) to bombard the Narn homeworld back to the stone age, and show evidence of being on a dangerously aggressive footing in the galaxy. The minister even uses the phrase "peace in our time". Shortly thereafter, the Centauri begin conquests in the territories of many other races.
  • March 14, 2013
    Frank75
    See also: Suicidal Pacifism.
  • March 14, 2013
    Koveras
    Compare also Neutrality Backlash.
  • March 14, 2013
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Battlestar Galactica Classic. In the pilot episode the Council of Twelve takes all of the Twelve Colonies' Battlestars to a peace conference with the Cylons, leaving the Twelve Colonies undefended. Naturally the Cylons decide to use Aggressive Negotiations: they take the opportunity to not only ambush the Battlestars, destroying all but two of them, but almost entirely wiping out the colonies as well.

    Edited to remove the number of Battlestars.
  • March 14, 2013
    yisfidri
    Tony suffers this in West Side Story. He goes to the rumble to stop it happening, and tries to resist Bernado's baiting, but it backfires horribly and he ends up knifing Bernado who has stabbed Riff.
  • March 15, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    ^^The colonies were supposed to have planetary defenses, which in one episode we learned were sabotaged by a confederate of Baltar's.

    Nitpick: Wasn't the Pegasus supposedly lost a couple of "yarin" before the peace conference?

  • March 16, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    An arguable example is "Trigun": Vash the Stampede will *not* kill his enemies... nor hurt them in any major way... and the show takes great pains to show that it's a noble calling, but possibly misguided considering the Crap Sack World circumstances (Vash's body is a mass of scars, the sixty billion double dollar bounty (until it's removed) means that anybody with a gun and a desperate need of money (which is practically the whole planet) is out to get him, he's constantly arguing with his companions (or at least Wolfwood) about the usefulness/futility of his Thou Shalt Not Kill code, the Quirky Miniboss Squad and the Big Bad are out to make Vash suffer by any means possible, which usually involves the biggest kill count possible up to Apocalypse How levels...

    The full extent of this is YMMV, but the general consensus is that Vash should be less pacifistic, even if he doesn't kills anybody).
  • March 17, 2013
    Aquila89
    An important theme in Robert Merle's novel The Island, which is based on the story of the mutiny on the Bounty. English mutineers and Tahitians start a settlement on an island, but tensions quickly build up between them, because some of the English treat the Tahitians as inferior. The protagonist, Purcell doesn't allow his friends to kill the main troublemaker because of his pacifistic Christian beliefs. Eventually war breaks out, and all men on the island die, except for Purcell and a Tahitian. Purcell ends up blaming himself.
  • March 28, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Shows like Trigun, Rurouni Kenshin and Grenadier could arguably have some examples of this: I went into detail on the previous post, but one of the things that needs be noticed is that on many of those shows, a lot of enemies see the "I'm not looking for a fight" attitude of the main characters as something just as (if not more) of a sign to attack and bully them that if they had walked into town looking like a follower of Khorne.
  • March 30, 2013
    blueflame724
    I think this overlaps with Violence Is The Only Option; if the antagonists really were convinced not to fight, there'd be no climax. This seems to happen in Earth Mightiest Heroes; Hank Pym is averse to violence as a scientist, but his teammates constantly berate him for this tendency due to its danger. It comes to a head soon enough, and he quits the team temporarily
  • January 1, 2014
    HumanTorch2
  • January 1, 2014
    MetaFour
    I'm not sure that example from Revenge of the Sith counts for this trope. It's all but stated outright that Anakin's real motivation for saving Sideous at that point was because he thought Sideous' secret knowledge of the Dark Side was all that could save Padme's life.

    Film:
    • In The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, King Theoden's first impulse upon being freed from Saruman's magical influence is to kill Grima Wormtongue, the treacherous advisor responsible for said magical influence. Aragorn stays his hand, saying "Enough blood has been spilled on his account." But Wormtongue rejects the offer of absolution for his crimes and flees to Saruman. There, Wormtongue provides intelligence to Saruman (the path that the people of Rohan will take to reach Helm's Deep, and the weakest point of the walls at Helm's Deep), enabling Saruman's army to kill many more than they otherwise would have.

    I'm pretty sure that bit wasn't in the original book. There, Aragorn and Theoden allow Wormtongue to flee, not because they had any moral objection to killing him, but because they needed to know for sure whether he was working for Saruman or not.
  • January 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Contrast Badass Pacifist.
  • January 2, 2014
    KantonKage
    Anime & Manga
    • Happens almost constantly in Naruto:
      • Hashirama spares Madara, Madara becomes the Bigger Bad.
      • Sarutobi spares Orochimaru, many people die including Sarutobi himself.
      • Naruto let's Sasuke go, Sasuke ends up helping the Big Bad.
      • Naruto and Minato spares Obito, Madara gets revived.
  • January 2, 2014
    DAN004
    This trope is one way to Create Your Own Villain.
  • January 2, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced and italicized the examples + sorted them by media.
  • January 2, 2014
    DracMonster
    I don't think the star wars example qualifies. Anakin isn't really pursuing a nonviolent solution, he just thinks he needs Palpatine alive to save Padme. What happens isn't a result of him avoiding violence so much as directing it against Mace instead.
  • January 3, 2014
    Koveras
  • January 3, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^^ Yeah, it's really more of a case of Love Makes You Evil.
  • January 4, 2014
    TonyG
    • This popped up on two "Treehouse of Terror" episodes on The Simpsons.
      • In "Monkey's Paw", Lisa wishes for world peace. This made Earth susceptible to aliens armed only with wooden sticks.
      • Once Lisa found the tombstone of a young man who wished for a world without guns. This inspires Springfield to ban guns, and then the young man (who in reality was Billy the Kid) and his fellow outlaws rise from the grave to take over the town.
  • January 4, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Treehouse Of Horror, not Terror.

    • In an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation the crew comes across a Douwd, a near Q-level race. He just wanted to live in peace with his human wife, so he retired to a small colony planet. A group of Husnock (another alien race) attacked but the Douwd are all pacifists so he didn't join the fight. The attacking Husnocks killed everyone else on the planet, including his wife, so in retaliation he killed every member of the Husnock everywhere in the universe.
  • January 4, 2014
    DAN004
    Add this plz: The telltale for this trope, more often than not, is the phrase: "I should've killed him at the time/when I got the chance."
  • January 8, 2014
    qazwsx
    Literature

    • A Song Of Ice And Fire: Eddard Stark refused to arrest Queen Cersei and her illegitimate children because he didn't want them to get hurt. This decision is one of the main causes of the War of Five Kings.
  • January 9, 2014
    wanderlustwarrior
    Compare Joker Immunity.
  • January 9, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    We should remove that "truth in television" bit, that is just as flamebait-y as actually having examples.
  • January 9, 2014
    robinjohnson
    • Star Trek:
      • In the original series episode "City on the Edge of Forever", the crew accidentally get sent back in time and prevent a woman from being killed by a car. It turns out she was a pacifist campaigner, and will go on to weaken the US so that the world gets taken over by totalitarians and the Trek future never comes about.
      • In the Mirror Universe stories, started in the original series and continued in Deep Space Nine, Kirk manages to convince Mirror-Spock to get the Terran Empire to eschew its warlike ways... and it promptly gets overthrown by the Klingons and Cardassians.

    Also seconding what Cryptic Mirror said about the "Truth in Television" note. That is contentious in exactly the same way that Real Life Examples would be.
  • January 9, 2014
    Chernoskill
    Real-Life

    • In World War II, after the invasion of Poland, France and Britain declared war on Germany... However, they only undertook a very limited, mostly symbolical, offensive in the west and then quietly withdrew. The following period became known as the "Phony War" (German: Sitzkrieg, "Sitting War" as a parody of the infamous Blitzkrieg), until Germany started it next offensives with the conquest of Norway and finally France itself.
  • January 9, 2014
    robinjohnson
    I really think this should have No Real Life Examples.
  • January 9, 2014
    jbrownf
    "Very Bad Things"?
  • January 9, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Chernoskill demonstrating why it should be no real life there. That is only a superficial interpretation of that stage of the war. To explain why it is only would take up a huge amount of the page and that type of long-winded explanation (which would likely be contested in long-winded explanations) is exactly what we don't need.
  • January 9, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Not to mention the fact that listing real life cases where not killing someone was the wrong thing to do is somewhat morally questionable in the first place.
  • January 9, 2014
    DAN004
    Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement is already up there, folks. But yeah, No RL Examples Plz.

    Speaking of which, is this Up For Grabs yet? OP seems to not notice...
  • January 10, 2014
    Arivne
    Film
    • Mars Attacks. The U.S. tries twice to make peaceful contact with the Martians. The first time, the Martian leader and his soldiers wipe out the U.S. Army forces at the meeting site. The second time the Martian leader asks to address Congress. While he's doing so he and his soldiers destroy everyone there. Later on the French government tries the diplomatic approach: not surprisingly it ends in a bloodbath.
  • January 10, 2014
    luisedgarf
    I think this kind of topic should not exist here, since it will cause lots od Unfortunate Implications.
  • March 14, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    YKTTW Bump.... so, yeah, it is more of a necro. But it really looks like a good Trope to keep working on.

    Regarding luisedgarf's post... in the end it will be up to the poster's beliefs, but I guess that if we are to avoid the Unfortunate Implications that may (and this is a pretty big may) ensue, we stick to examples that have In Universe discussions or examples (like, say, the Joker going into another murderous rampage and everybody blaming Batman because he really should have killed him this time-ok, sure, it's Thou Shalt Not Kill, but you get the gist).
  • March 14, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Since this is pretty much always going to involve a betrayal or plot twist of some sort, I'm thinking that this one ought to run Spoilers Off and be on Spoilered Rotten.
  • March 14, 2014
    SKJAM
    Literature:

    • In the Thomas Dixon novel Fall of a Nation, A combined suffragette/pacifist movement not only keeps the United States out of World War One, but also slashes its military. The war ends in a negotiated stalemate...and then the combined armies of Europe invade the United States!
  • March 14, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Literature
    • In the Babylon Five novel Clark's Law, the station security officers try and break up a fight between the Narns and the Tuchanq using stun guns. Unfortunately, the Tuchanq's brains are wired such that any interruption in consciousness causes them to lose all their long-term and short-term memory and revert to base survival instinct, essentially making them Ax Crazy. Fixing this problem requires even more violence, and of course, one of the still-crazy ones gets loose and accidentally kills a human, which sets the real plot of the book in motion.
    • In Island In The Sea Of Time, Pamela Lisketter and her followers aid William Walker's betrayal in the hopes that his plot will hobble the Republic of Nantucket so that it can't intervene in the Alban War. Unfortunately, their plan is incredibly stupid (amounting to kidnapping the Chief's wife and shooting Marian Alston, the de facto commander of the navy) and is executed incompetently (the bullet grazes Alston), and their getaway plan involved travelling down to Mexico and hoping that the locals are friendly. Not only do they fail to prevent the Republic from going to war, but they also manage to start a war between the Republic and the People of the Jaguar God. And on top of that, Lisketter and her followers all die, but not before spreading mumps throughout Mesoamerica. Nice Job Breaking It Hero, indeed.
  • March 14, 2014
    paycheckgurl
    • Doctor Who:
      • In general, the Doctor has acknowledged this is a problem with his Technical Pacifism. His attempts not to hurt anyone may not directly have him going against his morals, but he "got clever" and has indirectly caused his friends and companions to fight pretty nasty battles for him or manipulated villains into killing themselves.
      • Had the Doctor not toppled the regime of Harriet Jones as revenge for her blowing up alien invaders in The Christmas Invasion she would have been still been Prime Minister and the Master wouldn't have been able to rise the power as Prime Minster Harold Saxon and assassinate the US president or cause world wide devastation in The Year That Never Was.
      • If the Doctor had just killed the Daleks before they made off the planet Skaro when he had the chance he could have avoided The Time War and seemingly becoming The Last Of His Kind.
  • March 14, 2014
    Chabal2
    Due to the Forever War nature of the setting, this is pretty much the status quo of Warhammer 40 K. Anytime a world is isolated enough from the current conflicts to be at peace just means it'll attract the attention of ork and Eldar raiders (for the plunder), Chaos (for their souls), Necrons (for being alive) or the tyranids (for the biomass), and unable to defend itself.
  • October 15, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Rurouni Kenshin and Grenadier follow the same line of thought as Trigun above, in that the main character subscribes to a Thou Shalt Not Kill mentality backed up by impressive combat skills, and the Big Bad(s) sends outrageously powerful enemies that have absolutely no problem in killing anybody that gets in the way of their fight with the main character, and actually do so in order to unlock the full combat capability of the main character via Unstoppable Rage, while gloating that the pacifism and using non-lethal attacks (which require more finesse than simply slashing/shooting someone dead) has "made them weak".
  • October 15, 2014
    DAN004
    May I grab this?
  • October 15, 2014
    PacificGreen
    • Parodied in the pilot of Jessie. In the first scene we see with the kids, Emma and Luke are fighting, with Ravi pleading with them to stopnote .
      Ravi: Luke, Emma, please! Violence is never the answer.
      Emma: [whacks Ravi with a pillow]
      Ravi: To heck with the nonviolence! I am on you like stripes on a tiger! [attacks Emma]
  • October 15, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    ^ Sure. Been forever since it was last active.
  • October 16, 2014
    DAN004
  • October 16, 2014
    Astaroth
    Small Steps Hero should probably be bluelinked somewhere in the description
  • October 16, 2014
    DAN004
  • October 28, 2014
    Chabal2
    There's a piece of Internet humor floating around where a Straw Feminist and a Straw Misogynist are tasked with taking turns writing a story. The woman writes a bad Chick Flick, the man a cheesy sci-fi action movie, with each one derailing the previous one's plot: the woman's character ends the man's Marty Stu rampage with peace talks, the man uses this trope to write another alien invasion, until both degenerate into name-calling.
  • November 26, 2014
    DAN004
    That piece with Dirty Coward has its own ykttw now.
  • November 26, 2014
    ClockStopping
    • In one episode of Supernatural, the brothers find themselves trapped in a building with a small number of survivors and a huge number of demons trying to enter and kill them all. Ruby arrives and tells them about a spell that would save them all, but it requires a human sacrifice. The Sam and Dean refuse to do it, insisting that they must find another way. However, while the two of them end up escaping just fine, after they leave, the demons return and all of the survivors, including the intended sacrifice, are killed.

    • In Breaking Bad, this formed Mike's Start Of Darkness. Back when he was a cop, there was one particular guy who he visited over and over on domestic violence calls. Eventually, he became so convinced that the guy was eventually going to murder his girlfriend that he kidnapped him to a deserted place to kill him. However, he backed out at the last minute, merely threatening the guy instead. Only a short time later, the guy did indeed beat his wife to death. He regretted his action ever since.
  • November 26, 2014
    CompletelyDifferent
    • In Avatar The Last Airbender, it was eventually shown that the good Avatar Roku and world-conquering Fire Lord Sozin had been best friends. Roku's spirit tells Aang that he was too-easy on his friend when he discovered his ambitions, and that his aversion to violence in the matter allowed for 100 years of war to reign.
  • November 26, 2014
    mr.whim
    In Xena Warrior Princess, Gabrielle picks up the Idiot Ball more than a few times.
    • After her "innocence" is sacrificed by forcing her to stab a woman in self defense (because apparently bashing in people's faces and throats doesn't count), she gives birth to a Fetus Terrible that grows to term in a matter of days, and then strangles the Knight Templar who was watching it within hours of being born. Gabrielle refuses to believe a baby could be evil and fakes out Xena to make her think it's dead. Tragedy Ensues.
    • When Xena goes to assassinate a tyrant king, Gabrielle decides that this is somehow unacceptable. She goes to the king, warns him, gets Xena captured, imprisoned, and sentenced to death, all to find out that the king is a matricidal dictator. (Xena saves herself at the last minute by becoming an Airbender)
  • November 27, 2014
    Shinr
    Video Games
    • This is how Alan "Spam" Webster's mercenary career with A.I.M. ended in the Jagged Alliance series. Coming from the UN peacekeeping forces background, his MO was to negotiate enemy surrender first and only shoot if that fails. One of such failures led to the death of fellow A.I.M. member Johnny "Snake" Edwards, leading to Spam's dishonorable discharge.
  • December 15, 2014
    jormis29
    Why is Xena in the Western Animation section?
  • December 16, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Blue Linked media section titles.
      • Namespaced and italicized work names.
      • Deleted "follow the same line of thought as Trigun above, in that" from the Rurouni Kenshin example as per How To Write An Example - Remember That This Is A Wiki.
      • Corrected spelling (let's -> lets, US -> U.S. x2, Bernado x2).
      • Put the episode title "The Year That Never Was" in quotes as per Welcome To TV Tropes - Editing Articles.
      • Capitalized (ork, tyranids).
      • Blue Linked (alien invasion).
  • December 16, 2014
    robinjohnson
    Please take the "Truth in television" out - it's an immediate violation of the Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement that's invoked in the same sentence.
  • December 16, 2014
    Loquacia
    • Harry Potter: Harry refuses to allow Peter Pettigrew to be killed, resulting in the return of Lord Voldemort. Oops.
  • December 16, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^ Although Harry's mercy is rewarded later, when Pettigrew remembers it and hesitates to attack Harry, giving Harry a crucial chance to escape.
  • December 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^^ But it IS Truth In Television...
  • December 16, 2014
    JonnyB
    Regarding the Star Trek mirror universe entry:
    • This would have been the fate of the pacifistic Halkans in "Mirror, Mirror": had Kirk and party not switched with their mirror universes, the Halkan race would have been wiped out for refusing the Empire.
  • December 17, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^^ Since you can't give an example without violating No Real Life Examples, it's pointless to say so, and contentious for the same reason that a real-life example would be.
  • December 17, 2014
    robinjohnson
    You could put something like "There may be real life examples, but perhaps it's best if we don't go there. No Real Life Examples Please"
  • December 17, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    I think claiming truth in television, even slightly, while warning on NRLEP is flame-baity. It makes it seem like the article is trying to get the last word in an argument, and that always seems to provoke people into trying sneak counter-arguments in somewhere.

    In the end it doesn't matter whether something happens or not in real life, this wiki is about documenting it happening in fiction. Real life examples, if they occur, are the province of The Other Wiki. I say leave out any mention of whether it happens in reality or not and just leave the NRLEP and Rule Of Cautious Editing Judgement warning.
  • December 17, 2014
    NemuruMaeNi
    ^^^^^ ... Speculations are forbidden by How To Write An Example. This writeup speculates that the additional violence could've been avoided by not refraining from using violence at an earlier point in time. Why stop there? The whole plot would've changed, what do you know? More violence could come from somewhere else just as easily, maybe fueled by the "prophylactics".

    To acknowledge something along the lines of "Oh look, you should've killed him when you had the chance. You could've avoided this bad plot that way, and he wouldn't have killed her now." to have happened in the work — is fine, when that something is explicitly stated, but not a single person in the audience is just to go and agree with such reasoning. This ykttw dumbs down the writers by turning the pattern into a Contrived Aesop, inviting the complaintive examples. Bad for atmosphere.

    Come to think of it, this reminds me of Loyalty Mission case. Rights to speculate may be what rocks people boats nowadays.
  • January 1, 2015
    DAN004
    Final bump.
  • January 1, 2015
    CrypticMirror
    I restate my objection on how the "No Real Life Example" warning is worded. Just "no real life" without qualifier is more than sufficient.
  • January 1, 2015
    marcoasalazarm
    Western Animation example: On The Simpsons, this seems to be a Running Gag of sorts (at least on Treehouse Of Horror episodes:
    • One Treehouse Of Horror episode involves the Simpsons family getting a monkey's paw and them using it to get wishes which are twisted somehow. Lisa wishes for world peace... and this makes humanity not only go for full disarmament, but they become so puny that two aliens armed with slingshots are capable of taking over the world.
    • Another Treehouse Of Horror has her managing to campaign for the full disarmament of Springfield after reading a tombstone's epitaph ("I wish we lived in a world without guns"). Turns out that the man that the headstone belonged to was Billy The Kid, and once Springfield is completely without guns he and various other outlaws (and one German Kaiser) come back from the dead and raise hell, completely unstoppable by the fact that they are the only people with guns in the whole town.
    • A third Treehouse episode has Bart and Lisa going to Marge and telling her that the teachers at Springfield Elementary are eating the students and treating them like cattle to fatten and slaughter, and Marge's only proposed solution to the problem is for the kids to look at the teachers straight in the eye and tell them "don't eat me". They are both killed the following day.
  • January 2, 2015
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Starfire, Nexus magazine #7 article "The Drolian Conquest". After Khanate of Orion warships attacked several Drolian ships, the Drolian "peaceful expansion" lobby prevented the Drolian government from expanding its space navy. Six months later the Khanate of Orion invaded in force and quickly conquered the Drolians. During the invasion the "peaceful expansion" lobby was lynched by other Drolians.
  • January 3, 2015
    marcoasalazarm
    Obvious Comic Book example: Depending On The Author, this is one of Batman's biggest problems, especially because his refusal to kill is one of the biggest reasons for Joker Immunity to exist, and The Joker loves to commit atrocities for the sake of rubbing this in Batman's face (Hannibal Lecture where he points this out, and other characters committing some time to an Author Filibuster speech about this, wholly optional).

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable