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Playing With / Would Hurt a Child

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Basic Trope: A character, almost always a villain, has no moral compunctions about hurting or killing children.

  • Straight: Officer Alice, an amoral Killer Cop known for Police Brutality, doesn't care if her target is a child and has already killed some.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • Alice would give the child a less painful death than she would adults.
    • Alice does not like the idea of hurting children, but she knows our hero Bob is quite dangerous.
  • Justified:
    • The child she is sent killing is an Enfant Terrible.
    • The child in question is an Eldritch Abomination.
    • The child in question can fight back, so Alice has to be on her guard.
    • Alice, a terrorist, has convinced a child to place a bomb or wear a vest made of explosives and be in a public place. Then...
    1. Either Alice detonates the explosives while the child is nearby them, or a sniper sees what Alice's up to and is forced to Boom, Headshot! the child (as the Sadistic Choice would have been let the child's explosives kill countless others).
    2. It might also be that there is only time to just act and not think; in which first instinct is "take the shot and deal with the consequences later." In a war-based or anti-terrorist piece of work this wouldn't be that far from the truth.
  • Inverted: Alice, a child, has no qualms on hurting or killing adults.
  • Subverted
    • Alice is in a shootout, and shoots a child. But she fires with a tranq gun to prevent them being shot by someone else.
    • The "child" turns out to be an evil robot built with the appearance of a child to fool the heroes.
  • Double Subverted:
    • The tranq gun is poisoned.
    • The dose turns out to be too much for a child, and he dies. Or he dies because he's allergic to the drug.
    • It turns out Alice had no way of knowing the child was an evil robot, and just shot it because she wanted to.
    • Alice is about to shoot someone, realizes it's a child, hesitates and then shoots anyway.
  • Parodied: Alice, about to make her escape, breaks into a child's bedroom and draws on his face with permanent marker.
  • Zig Zagged: Depending on her own whim or the amount of her contract, Alice carries out child execution or doesn't.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced:
    • "We want Alice to be taken seriously as a villainess. There's no other way to do that than have her kill children intentionally."
    • "Our hero of the story is a child and his conflict with Alice would be pretty boring if she has moral compunctions about hurting children."
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  • Lampshaded: "Alice, you wouldn't shoot a child, would you?" "Why not?"
  • Invoked: "Killing is killing, death is death. Man, woman, child... What difference is there once the body is cold?"
  • Defied:
    • "No thanks. I don't do children, no matter the bounty you offer. It's my sole principle."
    • The child characters are aware that Alice is out to hurt them, so they launch a pre-emptive attack on her.
    • "I don't give a damn whether or not you think it was necessary — you hit a kid, I break your spine. You kill a kid, and your brain will get splattered all over a wall a split-second later. Do you all get me?"
  • Exploited: Alice is hired toa assassinate families, as they know she can go through with it.
  • Implied: Alice is shown to keep trophies from her victims, and a brief shot of her trophy room shows that some of them seem to be children's toys...
  • Discussed: "Don't you feel any remorse whatsoever? He was just a kid..." "Why should I? I'm just doing what I'm paid for."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Alice is seen as a monster and treated accordingly for what she's done. Even by other villains.
  • Reconstructed: Said child was an Enfante Terrible, or a Kid Hero in the villains' way. Alice is treated well, depending on the side she's on.
  • Played For Laughs: Alice's daughter comes home from school in a bad mood because her classmates bullied her. The next day, she's the only one left in class, and clearly annoyed.
  • Played For Drama: Alice, a sniper, notices that a child has explosives on him, as well as a detonator. She sees he's about to detonate them and take out a lot of folks with him. She prevents the explosives from going off, either by shooting the detonator and wounding the child, or shooting the child's head and killing him. She's shaken in that it's one of those things she never thought she would need to do, and it haunts at her in there was no time to think of a better way. Even "wartime realities" don't ease the grief.

What, you thought I made exceptions for children? Go to Would Hurt a Child and see if I do.

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