"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?
So when Neo's mentor Morpheus gets captured by the bad guys, Neo responds by arming himself with an arsenal larger than that of most developing nations, slaughtering a cluster of security guards before they can even draw their guns, before dropping a bomb on the ground floor of the building just in case there were a few errant cockroaches that weren't killed in the earlier carnage.
Wachowski brothers fans have noted the deliberate parallels between the messianic Neo and the Biblical story of the moneychangers in the temple, in which Christ pulled out a Beretta and killed about 50 security guards.
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"
Spoony: "This really bothers me. I guess it's a video game so you're not suppose to think about it at all. 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."
Snow: "I AM A PULSE L'CIE! I'M HERE TO KILL YOU ALL!"
Spoony: "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."
"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