"Cito necatus insignis ad deformitatem puer esto"TranslationBury Your Disabled happens when a disabled character is killed off in a movie or TV Show. There are four types of Bury Your Disabled.
- Type 1: Someone who is disabled and dies at the end of the movie due to natural causes. Usually due to complications arising from their disability (Rory O'Shea Was Here). Depending on the nature of the disability, may be Truth in Television.
- Type 2: This type occurs when the disabled person is killed off in a violent manner. This can be because they (the disabled character) were considered, by the writer and audience, an easier victim because of their disability. Type 2 tends to carry the Unfortunate Implication that someone who is disabled can't protect themselves. note Type 2 usually involves murder or neglect.
- Type 3: Suicide, which carries the Unfortunate Implication that one is better off dead than disabled. Or, worst case scenario, the writer who uses this trope really does believe that one is better dead than disabled.
- Type 4: Mercy kill. Someone close to the disabled kills - or even murders - the disabled, either by his/her request or thinking that life as disabled would be too hard to bear. This type overlaps outright murder, Mercy Kill and euthanasia, and carries the same Unfortunate Implications as Type 3.
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Anime & Manga
Film — Animation
- Francis' first love interest in Felidae is a blind cat named Felicity. She is a Type 2 example, as Felicity only lasts a few minutes because she ends up killed and beheaded.
Film — Live Action
- The eponymous character from Rory O'Shea Was Here (aka Inside I'm Dancing) died due to complications from his Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Truth in Film; Duchenne is a life-limiting condition and those affected rarely survive beyond early adulthood.
- The Viet Cong sniper girl in Full Metal Jacket. Joker is compelled to perform a Mercy Kill for the sniper who has gotten a paralyzing wound in the firefight with Animal Mother. This qualifies as Type 4.
- The wheelchair-bound Franklin Hardesty from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) has the dubious honor to be the film's only person to be actually killed with a chainsaw.
- Marvel Ann from Psycho Beach Party. Though it may be possible she was killed because she was a huge bitch.
- In Breakfast on Pluto Patrick "Kitten" Braden's childhood friend dies in an IRA bomb blast. The police sent in a simple robot to disarm it, and he rushed out assuming it was a toy. The friend in question, Lawrence, had Down Syndrome.
- In the first Final Destination they make a point of showing that one of the passengers on the ill-fated Flight 180 is a physically and mentally handicapped man.
- Derek, the Token Minority in Hellraiser: Hellworld, has very severe asthma, and "dies" in his hallucination when he wanders off alone to look for his inhaler after losing it. In the real world, he just had an attack and died from it.
- Gattaca subverts this trope then plays it straight. The subversion comes along in the form of Inspirationally Disadvantaged Vincent Freeman, who is disabled by society's standards by not being genetically engineered. He has a life expectancy of 30.2 years, yet he's alive by film's end. Played straight with Jerome Eugene Morrow, who is paralyzed from the waist down and commits suicide at the end of the movie by climbing into an incinerator. Toyed with, however; Jerome's disability is revealed to be from a failed suicide attempt earlier in his life.
- The Steven Seagal film Out for Justice has the villain shoot dead the paraplegic Chas the Chair. Right before he does so, he tells him he's putting him out of his misery.
- In Blade: Trinity, one of the Nightstalkers, Sommerfield, is blind. She doesn't make it to the end of the film.
- In Barb Wire, the titular heroine's blind brother is tortured to death by the bad guys.
- One of Jason's kills in Friday the 13th Part 2 is wheelchair-bound Mark, who gets a machete buried in his face, which sends him rolling down some stairs.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- One of Freddy's kills in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is wheelchair-bound kid, whom he torments with a more monstrous version of the wheelchair.
- Freddy kills a deaf kid in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare by tricking him into wearing a hearing aid which amplifies sound so much that his head explodes.
- In The Curse of Frankenstein, the Creature kills an old blind man.
- In the film version of The Relic, the wheelchair-bound Dr. Frock is killed by the monster plaguing the museum (in the original novel, Frock lived).
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Randle McMurphy, a Type 4 after Big Nurse has him lobotomized.
- Million Dollar Baby. A combination 3 and 4, Maggie would rather be dead than quadriplegic.
- One of the many Jews that Amon Goeth murders in Schindler's List is a man with one arm.
- Dragon Queen: Trava's father is blind, but dies of natural causes, making this a type 1.
- Played straight in the second-to-last Animorphs book, where all of the Auxiliary Animorphs (all of whom had been handicapped at some point and most of whom still were) are ruthlessly murdered by Visser One/Three.
- Played straight in Louisa May Alcott's books. Between Little Men and Jo's Boys, two minor characters die, one physically disabled ( Dick, the young hunchback, the other mentally ( Billy, the boy driven to mental illness by his dad).
- Narrowly averted in The Great Brain when Andy Anderson loses his leg to gangrene and tries to kill himself with J.D.'s help. Neither attempt is successful to begin with, but Tom walks in on the two trying to hang Andy in the barn and offers-for a fee, of course,- to teach Andy to do his chores and play games with his peg leg.
- The books Jason X Death Moon and Jason X To The Third Power both feature blind characters who get their heads chopped off.
- Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, includes a blind character who is killed by a murderer wearing his dead wife's perfume.
- The death of the titular character of Stephen King 's novel Blaze is a combination of this and Suicide by Cop.
- Lenny from Of Mice and Men, is killed by his friend George because he was incapable of controlling his strength and accidentally killed a woman, and George couldn't bear the thought of Lenny being subjected to imprisonment or (even worse) the savage violence of a lynch mob.
- Warrior Cats:
- Snowkit is killed by a hawk, because as a deaf kitten he can neither hear the bird, nor warnings about it.
- It's mentioned that cats with disabilities rarely survive kithood. This is Truth in Television as disabled animals usually can't survive in the wild.
- Smike in Nicholas Nickleby.
- In A Single Shard, Crane Man (who has always been forced to live as a beggar due to his bad leg) dies. However, it's justified for three reasons: one, it's established that Crane Man was very old, two, he had a heart attack from a fall into a river, and three, Death by Newbery Medal demands it.
- In Iron Fist, Ton Phanan appears to be between Types 2 and 3. He crash lands on a hostile world and his wingmate follows to try and save him, but though Phanan tries his best he refuses to let them be captured by the enemy, who after all would treat the injuries created in the crash. He suffered from a great deal of Cybernetics Eat Your Future, and Word of God is that though he feared death and tried to avoid it, he didn't feel any great impetus to live. It was more important that the mission continue and the Big Bad be killed, than that he lived and the Big Bad went on making more people like him before he could be stopped.
- The blind man in Guy de Maupassant's short story.
- Option 3 is encouraged by the Tendu of The Color of Distance. They're fantastical healers, but if an injury is too severe to be completely restored within a year they expect the injured party to "die honorably". One even asks a human why her wheelchair-bound brother hasn't killed himself yet. The two who go to Earth quickly learn to think past that mindset, and in the end Ukatonen, given a traumatic brain injury and losing much of his old healing skill, decides that he will live.
- In the German Scare 'em Straight book Die letzten Kinder von Schewenborn (The Last Children of Schewenborn), which is set in a Germany devastated by nuclear war, a boy whose legs were lost in the catastrophe commits suicide following the death of the girl who took care of him.
- Also, the narrator's youngest sister (conceived shortly before the bombs dropped) suffers radiation damage in-utero, resulting in her being born with no eyes and stumps for arms. She is mercy killed by her father.
- The Hunger Games:
- The District 10 boy has a crippled foot. Despite this, he manages to survive for a few days in the arena, before dying from unknown causes. Katniss suspects he was killed by the Careers, but this is never confirmed.
- Rue mentions an incident where a boy with the mental capacity of a young child was killed for stealing a pair of the night-vision glasses which District 11's agricultural workers use if they have to continue working after dark. The boy in question only wanted to play with the glasses, but this made no difference to the local Peacekeepers.
- Averted with Katniss (permanently deafened in one ear) and Peeta (leg amputee), however, who survive the entire trilogy.
- The book and subsequent movie Me Before You uses the Type 3 method of this for its male lead, Will (who has quadriplegia), with all the Unfortunate Implications that entails. It then goes further and has him leave the female lead a ton of money so that she can "live boldly."
- The Red Tent mentions that babies born with some kind of deformity or defect would simply be left outside to die of exposure. When Leah was born, the midwife called for this to happen, because Leah had heterochromia, and the midwife thought she was cursed or a demon child or something like that. Her mother, Adah, however, firmly told the midwife that she would not be abandoning Leah.
Live Action Television
- Subverted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics". Worf becomes paraplegic after an accident. By Klingon tradition, he can commit ritualistic suicide (and he comes close to it). However, he takes another presented option when a research doctor wants to test her theory that she can create a new spinal cord for him.
- Inverted on Cold Case, when a student at a school for the deaf kills his best friend because he'd gotten a cochlear implant and stopped being disabled, which made the culprit feel both insulted and abandoned.
- But played straight with a disabled teenage boy, talked into standing before a train.
- Three Evil Cripples featured on Criminal Minds (horribly burned Randall Garner in "The Fisher King", paraplegic Ian Coakley in "Roadkill" and quadriplegic Mason Turner in "To Hell and Back") die at the end of their respective episodes. Averted with wheelchair-bound Jeffrey (another Evil Cripple) in the episode "A Family Affair" and with the UnSub from "Into the Woods" (he only had a limp but still had a ton of painkillers).
- In Dead Set, the Jerkass producer, Patrick practically pushes a wheelchair user in front of a zombie so that it can eat him and save his own skin by hiding in a toilet cubicle.
- In Glee: Jean Sylvester, Sue's older sister, had Down's Syndrome, and died of pneumonia. Subverted with Becky, who attempts suicide, but is stopped by Sue. Averted with the Inspirationally Disabled Sean from Season 1—he attempted suicide by driving into the pool, but was found before he could succeed.
- American Horror Story has several examples:
- Adelaide, who has Down Syndrome, is fatally hit by a car in the fourth episode. Although of the characters who die she probably has the best fate since she's not stuck as a ghost in the house for eternity and actually gets to pass on.
- Nan, played by the same actress, has Fiona and Marie drown her and give her soul to Papa Legba.
- Most of the freaks in Freak Show, notable exceptions being Jimmy, Dot, Bette, and Desiree, who are all played by disabled actors.
- Played straight in ER when Dr. Romano is killed by a falling helicopter after having lost an arm to a helicopter in a previous season. Possibly subverted when Dr. Weaver has surgery that improves her gait and leaves the show to pursue a new career opportunity and new love interest.
- The original Survivors plays it straight with wheelchair user Vic Thatcher, who died at the start of the second season when a fire broke out in the Big Fancy House the main cast had moved into. Almost qualifies as a Type 1, however, as this was long before British fire-safety law was tightened up to ensure that escape routes were suitable for wheelchair users.
- There was a mentally disabled immortal in Highlander who was killed off specifically because of his disability. He does the deed himself by laying his neck on a train track as a train approaches.
- The Darker and Edgier second season of War of the Worlds started by killing off two characters from the first season, one of whom was wheelchair bound.
- In the final season of The Wire, Blind Butchie is killed off.
- In the Blake's 7 episode "Aftermath", where we are introduced to Dayna, Servalan murders Dayna's blind father. After destroying the device that helps him see.
- In Our Friends in the North, Mary's physically and mentally handicapped brother Patrick passes away of natural causes.
- The Doctor Who serial "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" sees Dortmun, the wheelchair-bound leader of the rebels, die facing off against the Daleks.
- In the musical When The Switch Is Pressed, almost all the characters have committed suicide by the end. One of them is a wheelchair user.
- The Deconstruction of this trope is the main plot of the play The Cripple Of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh: Billy is born disabled, making him walk poorly and prone to illness. He claims to be dying of TB to gain a sympathy favor from Babbybobby (whose wife died of TB), and Billy is then seen to die from that (Type 1). Then it is revealed that the death scene was Billy playing a cripple dying of TB in a film (subversion of Type 1). Babbybobby is so furious to be deceived that he gives Billy a savage beating (Type 2), but Billy survives. After being beaten, Billy plucks up the courage to ask his crush Slippy Helen out, and she rudely turns him down. Billy is seen to prepare himself for suicide in the same manner of his parents (Type 3), only to be interrupted when Helen comes back and changes her mind. Billy's jubilation over his success is cut short by an Incurable Cough of Death with Blood from the Mouth (Double Subversion of Type 1).
- Strangely averted in Mass Effect 2. Joker, the brittle-boned pilot who walks very slowly (at times with a cane), is the only member of your crew who cannot be killed during a playthrough. You can kill literally everyone else in your crew, including yourself, and still finish the game, but Joker simply will not die except under very specific circumstances, such as when the crew is abducted by the Reapers while walking him around the Normandy. If he walks up the ladder too quickly in engineering, he'll be killed by a scion. This gives you a Non-Standard Game Over, meaning he is the only playable character whose death guarantees that the player loses the game. It's also implied he may die in some of the worst endings for the third.
- Alexander Caine in Hitman: Blood Money, who dies at 47's hands due to his being the game's Big Bad. He's a Flunky Boss and a Handicapped Badass, so achieving this trope isn't easy.
- In the horror game The House 2, the family that lived in the house had a daughter by the name of Alrena. Alrena was born severely disabled, and the couple poisoned her and stuffed her body in the safe because they didn't want to see her suffering any more, making this a case of Type 4. But Alrena wanted to live, no matter what, and she was not happy about what her parents had done to her. After trying to "start over" with an adoptive daughter and killing the maid that they hired because she had found out too much, they eventually couldn't deal with the guilt of what they had done any longer and killed themselves.
- Narrowly Averted in Puella Magi Madoka Magica Portable—in this version, Kyosuke's angst about his Career-Ending Injury is upped so that Sayaka actually walks in on him trying to kill himself, prompting her contract to heal him.
- In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, Dorias, who is missing an arm from an earlier battle, eventually pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to save his troops from an Imperial Army ambush.
- The final version of Katawa Shoujo contains only one death (which is only in a Bad End), though a leaked Darker and Edgier beta version does:
- Subverted with Misha, as she's the only student in her school who isn't physically disabled (she transferred to the school to avoid the bullying she had at her old school]). After Shizune and Hisao begin dating, her Stepford Smiler traits come to light due to her being in love with Shizune herself. Shizune's father bullying her helps increase her depression and accentuates her feelings of inadequacy. Eventually she is Driven to Suicide. This causes Shizune, who is deaf-mute, to become depressed. She ends up in the hospital due to dehydration and the Bad End has her also Driven to Suicide, as she pulls out her IV.
- Hanako plays it straight. She doesn't seem to have any physical issues however she is severely burnt (and is implied to have an anxiety disorder and possibly PTSD). After undergoing a Trauma Conga Line she ends up Driven to Suicide in her third Bad End.
- One of the Bad Ends in the final product has Hisao (who has a heart ailment) accidentally falling off a building if he doesn't end up with any of the girls. In the beta game, he can die several different times in Hanako's Bad Ends.
- Zig-zagged in Homestuck with Tavros Nitram, who spent most of the story in a wheelchair and was the first troll to die completely, but only did so after regaining his ability to walk.
- Fidolus in Astray3 crawls under some rubble and refuses to go any further, explaining he's better off dead than legless. Emily's tears don't move him.
- This trope is Older Than Feudalism in real life:
- In the ancient world, around the Mediterranean sea, disabled new-borns were "exposed", that is, left in the street to die, by their parents.
- Sparta's Gerousia institutionalized this practice.
- Ancient Egypt and Israel defy this trope, outlawing infanticide in their societies and severely punishing those who committed it. The former group would even rescue children "exposed" by foreigners living in Egypt. And the latter group's influence on Christianity and Islam lead to the rise of orphanages as unwanted children were left at the doors of mosques and churches instead of being left in the woods to die.
- To improve Germany's food situation and genetic stock, on the 1st of September 1939 the German Chancellor-and-Fuhrer Adolf Hitler issued an Emergency Order implementing a program - Aktion T4 - to euthanise German citizens with congenital disabilities. The program directly "disinfected" (disinfiziert) the remaining 70,000 units which threatened to contaminate the national gene pool with congenital physical degeneracy, the other half having been killed indirectly in the period 1933-39 through the defunding of asylums. In a preceeding and related measure to uphold German Racial Health (Rassenhygiene) 400,000 German citizens with so-called morally degenerate traits (long-term homeless and prostitutes, Roma-Sinti/'Gypsies', etc) had already been sterilised from 1935 onward in accordance with the 1935 Preservation of German Blood And Honour ('Nuremberg') Laws. Nazi Germany being Nazi Germany, many of those killed through neglect or executed in T-4 had already been sterilised.
- In modern times, A majority of fetuses with Down Syndrome are aborted, according to The Other Wiki: up to 92% in Europe and about 67% in the U.S.
- Peter Singer feels that it is perfectly acceptable to kill disabled newborns.
- Sadly, type 3 is more common amongst severely disabled or terminally ill than we ever care to even think about. No further examples of this type are necessary.
- Harry J. Haidelsen left several newborns with severe birth defects to die. Though a Trial Jury Acquitted him, the Chicago Medical Board threw him out of practice.
- The horrific—and barely covered in national news—stabbing of at least 45 people in a Japanese care facility in 2016, 19 of whom died. The suspect had earlier sent a letter to Japan's House of Representatives, demanding that disabled people be euthanized. Also notable as the largest mass attack in Japan's post-war history.