Quotes from works
“I've noticed that about your people, Doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours.”
—Mr. Spock, Star Trek: The Original Series
"Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?"
— Harry Lime, The Third Man
Chris Redfield: I lost all my men because of her!
Leon S. Kennedy: And I lost over 70,000 people, including the President, because of Simmons!
"I know this sounds strange, but in the world of humans, if a person kills one man, he is a murderer. But if he kills 100 people, then he is praised as a hero."
— King Magrid, Soul Blazer
"He took no delight in the fact that the destruction of the bacta would cause the deaths of millions, even billions. As odd as it seemed, even to him, their lives meant nothing. Since he did not know them, they were numbers, and Kirtan Loor had never been one to be terribly emotional about numbers."
"Y'know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying. If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang-banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that one little ol' mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"
Karolina: We have a saying on Earth: "One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic."
Xavin: That's idiotic! A million deaths is a million times more tragic than one! It's simple arithmetic!
All planet 824 facilities and defensive vessels destroyed. Total losses since initiation of hostilities with Galactic Empire: 21 planets, 856 vessels. 163.24 billion Borg. Redirect all available vessels to attack on Imperial power base. All other priorities rescinded. Assimilate Imperial forces. Priority level 10.00.
Cumulative losses to Imperial forces: 745 planets, 12 trillion drones, primary unicomplex, 29000 ships. Species 3387, Species 1242, Species 6211, and 35 other species have now allied themselves with Imperial forces and launched attacks on Borg planets since destruction of Unicomplex.
"One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did, but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way: If we were capable of taking in the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live."
"Your population is six billion nine hundred million right now, and ten more of you are born every four seconds, so why do you make such a big fuss over the loss of just one of you?"
—Kyubey, Puella Magi Madoka Magica
"The turians lost twenty cruisers. Figure each had a crew of around 300. The Destiny Ascension, that asari dreadnought we saved, had a crew of ten thousand."
"The Alliance lost eight cruisers. Shenyang. Emden. Jakarta. Cairo. Seoul. Cape Town. Warsaw. Madrid. And yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the Fifth Fleet is a hero. The Alliance owes them all medals. The Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you."
— Commander Shepard to Khalisah al-Jilani, Mass Effect 2
"Ever notice... you can wipe out whole platoons of solders... no one cares. But you kill one collie..."
—Dr Johnny Fever, WKRP in Cincinnati
"The war? I don't think it's so bad! The death of one man: a catastrophe. A hundred thousand dead: a statistic!"
— Kurt Tucholsky, 1925
"Death... destruction, disease, horror... that's what war is all about, Anan. That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you've had no reason to stop it."
— Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, "A Taste of Armageddon"
"A splendidly inept thing, the human capacity for grief. It just isn't capable of providing an adequate emotional response once the dead exceed a few dozen in number. And it doesn't just level off — it just resets itself to zero. Admit it. None of us feel a damn about these people."
— Dan Sylveste, Revelation Space
"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone and you are a god."
— Jean Rostand, Thoughts of a Biologist
"General, you are listening to a machine. Do the world a favor and don't act like one."
— Steven Falken, WarGames
Porridge: I feel like a monster some days.
Clara: Why? Why do you say that?
Porridge: Because instead of feeling sorry for a billion trillion dead people, I just feel sorry for the poor blighter who had to push the button.
Quotes on works
"Kill one person, that's murder; you go to prison. You kill ten people, they send you to Texas and they hit you with a brick; that's what they do. Twenty people, you go to a hospital, they look at you through a small window...forever. And over that, we can't deal with that, you know. You kill 100,000 people we're almost going '...Well done! You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can't even get down to the gym.'"
"A cyclone struck Bangladesh in November 1970 and killed 225,000 people. (And it sometimes seems, when writing about Bangladesh, that I could put any number in that last sentence and people would believe me. I could say a million people died in a Bangladeshi train wreck, and readers would scrunch their brows and shake their heads in little mimes of concern, then wonder if Ortho-Novum can't be sprayed from planes.)"
— P.J. O'Rourke, All the Trouble in the World
"The fact, complained about several times throughout this entry, that nobody ever deals with Nyssa's anger at the Master or with the extermination of billions, perhaps trillions of people across the universe is an appallingly large problem that requires some thought about how it was allowed to happen...That there are people who openly prefer the series in this era to the supposed silliness of Gareth Roberts blowing Cybermen up with love. This is inscrutable. Whatever overdone sentimentality Roberts's tendencies may have, surely it is preferable to this amnesiac sociopathy. Surely an excess of an emotional core to a story is preferable to none whatsoever. It cannot be called a victory that the show so bloody rational-minded that it forgets to find any emotional content in genocide, treating it as a purely intellectual exercise in thermodynamics."
"The Janeway/Borg Queen scenes continue to lack any tension or chemistry. They seriously need to rethink this hero/nemesis relationship because it has never been exactly riveting, but now Mulgrew and Thompson sound like bored housewives who are trying to convince each other that their child is the more gifted one...In these scenes the Queen is literally murdering thousands of people to make a point to Janeway that she will no longer allow even one silent drone to pollute the Hive but Kathryn barely batters an eyelid, apparently unmoved despite the Queen’s attempts at psychology. Surely we should feel something during these scenes? It feels like the Queen is ticking off a shopping list..."
"Granted, destroying the entire world would be the single greatest act of dickery he's performed yet, but somehow the slaughter of six billion anonymous people seems to lack that personal touch we get when he kills Lois or ruins Jimmy's life."
"Killing the orc horde by drowning them all at once is heroic. Killing them by drowning them one at a time is an alignment check."