This is something that's been on my mind for a little while now, and has been on my mind even more since I watched this video
(warning: "Family Guy" spoilers, blood content). The video makes a good point about the growing trend of fans apparently thinking it's okay to kill off a character just because they're annoying or not particularly liked, and how troubling this trend is. What's even more troubling to me is that people say the same sorts of things about real people some of the time. I'm sure we've all seen examples of this. "This fan wrote a bad story whose message I don't approve of, therefore they should die." "This celebrity was mean to another celebrity I like, therefore they should die." "This person killed someone, therefore the death penalty is the only way justice could possibly be served." And whether the people saying these things mean it literally is not the point; the point is it's considered perfectly acceptable to wish death on pretty much anyone who does something unpopular or morally wrong. I wouldn't necessarily say our entertainment (with its focus on standing up to, beating up, and/or killing physically-stronger opponents) is entirely to blame for this, but I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg problem, and I don't think it's an accident that there's so many parallels between what people say about characters that aren't particularly liked and what people say about real people who aren't particularly liked.
Admittedly you do get into more of a gray area when you're talking about people who do morally-reprehensible things. This is why people can sustain debates about the morality and efficacy of the death penalty. But it's one thing to have a death penalty, and quite another to justify or glorify the mere act of killing "bad" people, even in fiction or throwaway conversations. One of the things that most impressed me about the anime "Birdy the Mighty: Decode" is that it went out of its way, particularly in the second season, to point out that there is NO such thing as a justifiable murder, EVEN IF THE TARGETS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE.
But some people don't even stop there. There was an article on LiveJournal a few weeks ago about how the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon had been tried and sentenced to death for killing so many people. Now, I'm not someone who has any sort of objections to this per se (though some people seem to), but what troubled me the most was that there were at least one or two comments on the article about how these men ought to be tortured to death. I repeat: these men had already been sentenced to die at the time. That was not up for negotiation or debate. Yet you still had users essentially making the case that, oh, merely killing them isn't good enough, we had to make sure they suffered horribly before they died. But why?! Torturing these men before killing them won't bring their victims back to life. And if the argument is that it will enable them to feel the pain of their victims, or the victims' families, well, here's the thing. Back when I was sporking some of the paratext about that book-which-must-not-be-named I expressed glee at a picture of the main character being tied up and abused, because I hated him so much. But one of the comments pointed out that what would be better revenge would be to dispose of him quickly and quietly, denying him the flashy, torturous deaths he was so fond of dishing out. And that's kind-of how I feel about these guys. The best thing to do would be to simply kill them with no fanfare, and have everyone get on with their lives. If they actually were tortured to death it would cast them as victims of America's criminal justice system on the one hand, and make it acceptable to descend to their level in the name of "justice" on the other.
It feels vaguely "Black Lagoon," actually. Everyone kills, so killing an opponent is to be expected, and the only way to show someone as particularly awful, or punish said person, is to make the death extra torturous, humiliating, or widespread. But is "Black Lagoon" really the world we want to live in?