There are the few who make a difference and the many that do not. Station does not determine this distinction: There are the many among those in power who live and die insignificant and there are the few among the lowly who prove noteworthy.
In fiction the important characters never die or do so dramatically. Unimportant characters are slaughtered in droves and we are grimly amused no matter the body count. Reality is not so different.
In fiction a hero is loved for his heroism and a villain for his flair. The anonymous, even if granted token names, are entirely expendable whether supposedly good or bad. Reality is no different.
We celebrate our fictional heroes because they live and die for things worth fighting for. We enjoy our fictional masterminds for bothering to make evil interesting. We appreciate the slaughter of our fictional bystanders and cannon-fodder because their grim fate is the only thing that makes them interesting. Again, reality is no different.