"When you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters; the very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged; and many of them are so inured—so hopelessly dependent on the system—that they will fight to protect it."
—Morpheus, The Matrix
"The line between hero and villain is so faint, it might as well not be there at all. Disagree? Consider this: A group breaks into a residence, kills everyone inside, and makes off with anything of value. Robbers sacking a roadside cottage are named villains for such a deed, yet adventurers who storm a goblin warren and do the same are dubbed heroes. The difference? You tell me because I cannot see it."
— Lord Robilar, The Book of Vile Darkness
"Minion! What have you done!? These were human beings, with lives, and families, and- Ah, I'm totally kidding. Screw those guys!"
—Claptrap, Borderlands 2
These minions gave their lives for guys like...me
Vesper Lynd: It doesn't bother you, killing those people?
I went through my pockets. The money was gone from my wallet. I went back to the man with the white coat. He had too much money for his job. [...] I was sorry for him. A simple hardworking little guy trying to hold his job down and get his weekly pay check. Maybe with a wife and kids. Too bad. And all he had to help him was a sap. It didn't seem fair. [...] I patted his shoulder. I almost cried over him.
Vivi: Why...? Why would you do such a thing!? Weren't they your friends!?
Black Waltz No. 3: You fool! Do I look like some lowly black mage soldier?
Steiner: Even if they weren't your allies, what you did was reprehensible!
Black Waltz No. 3: Kwahahaha! Worry not about them: many more are being produced even now!
Xin Ji: You are a hero, you are...
Player: A killer? It isn't as noble when you say it like that, is it? I have slaughtered thousands simply because someone told me it was for a just cause. But something you'll learn over time is, everyone thinks their cause is just. The Ministry of Purity feels their cause is just. Reiko may be evil, but the men and women she has tricked into obeying her are as much victims as the rest of Cantha.
— Guild Wars Beyond: Winds of Change
Yeah, he just killed thirty people without a second thought, of course he's not gonna shoot YOU!
— Film Brain's review of Cobra
Alucard: Hey guys, how's your health plan? *SWAT team opens fire* Apparently it's great!
*carnage and gore ensue as the cops finally retreat into the elevator*
Integra: Walter, be honest with me: what are we looking at in terms of collateral?
Walter: Well...*Alucard walks out of elevator filled with corpses* the Alucard amount.
Walk fast from that boring explosion
And don't think
About the people you killed
The Lonely Island, "Cool Guys Don't Look At Explosions"
Oh, come on, the soldiers? They don't grow on trees you know!
— General Tarquin, The Order of the Stick
This was but a mild adventure and it was necessary to kill only seven enemies in the way of business. The only serious happening was the wounding of Sir Gawain.
Prince Valiant narration, 1937-10-30
Homer: I'm not paying another penny to Burns and his evil power company!
Bart: Don't you work for that evil company?
Homer: Don't split hairs, boy. I may work for Burns, but I'm just an innocent Stormtrooper on the Death Star.
Bart: Even the innocent ones croaked when the Death Star exploded.
— Simpsons Comics, "Off the Grid"
"You think I am a monster, but you're no different from me, Drake. How many men have you killed? How many, just today?"
— Zoran Lazarevic, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Yeah, he was just this guy. A guy in a butterfly suit who got in over his head. And I could see it in his eyes that if I let him get away this one time he'd never come back. But, then I also thought, you know, kill him.
—Brock Samson, The Venture Bros.
"Even nameless soldiers have lives to live. Remember that..."
Unnamed NPC soldier of Kislev, Xenogears
Diaz: Hey, thanks for shooting that guy.
Boyle: (chuckles) Hey, my pleasure.
Perp: Your pleasure? This was a human being you just killed. Bill Perp had a family!
[after a beat, both Boyle and Diaz decide to shoot the Perp again]
"Janeway is pretty wasted here but there is wonderfully sadistic scene where she is holding the Borg baby and orders the Doctor to start deploying the virus to wipe out all of the kids. She’s the heroine, right?"
"The movie touches on the issue of racism in that era in such a clumsy, caveman-ish way, and at the same time it's being racist toward Germans and portraying them all as, like, evil villainous bad guys with scars on their faces. (Palpatine voice) 'Africans! Kill them all and show no mercy!' They said show no mercy. The German pilots were probably just as terrified as the American pilots!"
"The Koopa Kids are Bowser's chief lieutenants in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World...Each one guards a stronghold in Mario's path, which is, historically, a tremendous mistake. Mario marches through them, tossing them all, without exception or remorse, into boiling lakes of molten rock. He does this for sex, so we think nothing of it. But we should, because the Koopa Kids are child soldiers, conscripted by their tyrannical father and thrown headlong into a conflict that predates their own births against an enemy they have no real chance of defeating. All they know is that Dad handed them a scepter and a castle and said 'This is yours now.' They can't possibly have any concept of what they're really doing."
Chris: Can we talk for a second about Superman’s bottomless pit? Like… He straight up kills those dudes, right? They are definitely dead.
David: Why does that exist, and why is he so totally okay with them dying? He even gives Lois a grin when she socks Ursa into it.
Chris: So yeah, Superman’s Murder Count stands at 2, with one accessory-to-murder from letting Lois punch Ursa into oblivion. We’ll be revisiting Superman’s Murder Count when he throws Kal Penn into space in a few months, so keep your notes handy!
David: The best part about that is that Krypton didn’t have a death penalty. Straight-up killing them is the ultimate “f* you, dad.”
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Superman II
"I mean they're just faceless enemies right? But just think about who these guys are. They're not really these horrible villainous people who deserve nothing but death, they're just guys doing their job. In fact they're doing what they think is right by protecting Cocoon from these demonic l'cie they have every reason to fear. I mean sure they've been fed lies and propaganda but they're not bad people. Besides it's not like our heroes here are doing anything to win the hearts and minds of the people. It's actually kinda weird how sympathetic the soldiers are. Even when their commander orders them to open fire regardless of collateral damage the soldiers strongly object, wanting to protect the innocent people. And here you are butchering them wholesale. I mean this is brutal. ...Really the soldiers are going out of their way to take you in alive. But no, the heroes have to make it a massacre on live television."