In the year 2081, true equality has finally been achieved: no one is more intelligent, better looking, or stronger than anyone else. This equality is imposed and maintained by use of handicaps, or items that citizens wear to create physical obstacles to make them equal to others, and enforced by the United States Handicapper General.
In April 2081, agents for the Handicapper General took Hazel and George's teenage son Harrison away to jail for suspicion of trying to overthrow the government. The Bergerons are sporadically sad because they can’t think about it for very long. George’s thoughts are routinely interrupted by a transmitter in his ear that emits loud noises every 20 seconds.
Hazel and George are watching a ballet performance on television. The ballerinas are handicapped by weights and wear masks to equalize their looks. A bulletin comes on the screen and announces that Harrison Bergeron has escaped from prison. At age 14, he is 7 feet tall and has outgrown most of the handicaps the goverment has assigned to him.
In the middle of the bulletin, Harrison bursts into the TV studio, ripping the door off of its hinges. He begins screaming, “I am the Emperor!” and tears off his handicaps. He calls for an Empress and a beautiful ballerina rises and joins him. Harrison removes her handicaps and those of the musicians and commands them to play music.
In the middle of the dance, Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, arrives with a shotgun and shoots the ballerina and Harrison, killing them both. At that moment, the television goes out at the Bergerons’.
George has gone to the kitchen for a beer and seems to have missed his son’s murder. Hazel is concerned about the television blackout. George notices that she’s been crying, but she doesn’t remember why. just that there was something sad on TV. She can unscramble the thoughts in her mind. George can't remember because for the handicap.