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Too Dumb to Live

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Uh... do I get a third option?

"Nature abhors a moron."
H. L. Mencken, 1949

There's simple ignorance, when you just didn't know something. There's catching the Idiot Ball, which is a momentary lapse. There's fear and panic in a chaotic situation. All those situations are understandable reasons for making poor decisions. If these guys survive with, at worst, serious but not life-threatening injuries, that would be grounds for What an Idiot!

Then there's these guys. People who are so stupid that they simply do not deserve to survive.

Walking down the alley alone to tell his friend about the Serial Killer in town. Telling everybody in earshot he has vital evidence that he'll be taking to the authorities very shortly. Hovering in a known dangerous area without backup. Not telling the rest of the heroes about the upcoming trap laid out for them. Bullying a Dragon or Mugging the Monster. Touching buttons when told not to. Juggling Loaded Guns. Refusing to believe his glory days are behind him. Blackmailing someone about murder. Not only possessing Genre Blindness, but putting Zaphod Beeblebrox's Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses on over it. Even close friends have to facepalm upon hearing of his or her exploits. Who Would Be Stupid Enough? These people, that's who!


This trope is, surprisingly,note  Truth in Television, as many people can attest to, although we won't.

Note that it's not actually a requirement for the character in question to die. Death is often the result, but as long as it's a foolish action that very well could have gotten the character killed, even if it didn't, then the trope applies. As this is still a Death Trope, however, expect unmarked spoilers on the subpages.

Compare Artificial Stupidity, the video game equivalent of this which is a result of AI rather than the script being against them. Contrast Death by Pragmatism and Let's Get Dangerous!. Not to be confused with Evilutionary Biologist or The Social Darwinist, although they generally consider it a Moral Event Horizon to not kill the dumb. See also Suicidal Overconfidence, another video game version. Lethally Stupid is when someone's stupidity causes havoc for others.


For Real Life examples, see the Darwin Award and What the Fuck Is Wrong with You?.


Alternative Title(s): Too Stupid To Live, Dumbass Victim