Basically, it is the reasonable response to a threat, without over responding. Only you can judge the level of threat, but there is a risk you will have to defend your choice if you opt for a lethal response. That doesn’t mean a lethal response shouldn’t be used, if you believe you or your family are in mortal danger, a lethal response is the right choice. In some situations, not all, you may have to start small and ramp up. You can start with eye contact, let them know you are aware of them. Posture is strong, alert, head up, scanning the immediate area around you, avoidance if possible.
There are many tiers between being a clueless victim and using lethal force. Trust your instincts, if you believe yourself to be in mortal danger, you probably are. If not, you can try walking away, using pepper spray, stating in a forceful voice “Stay Back” or “No, don’t come any closer”. Remember, you may have to explain your actions at a later time. In a pepper spray class the words that popped out of my mouth, unplanned, were “Back off Dirt Bag”. The “Dirt Bag” might be considered a little inflammatory.
Can you shoot someone for asking you what time it is? No. Can a woman shoot a large man who is running at her screaming “I’m going to kill you!”, probably.
It is important to consider three things;
Means – does the other person(s) have a weapon of physical size to cause you serious injury or death?
Opportunity – can the other person(s) get to you without you having a reasonable opportunity to avoid or escape them?
Intent – has the person(s) indicated they wish to injure or kill you?
In many cases you need all three to justify the use of lethal force. If you haven’t thought about this before, during an attack you will not have time to consider these options. Your brain is your first line of defense. Think about what could happen as you are walking through a parking lot, do you see someone who doesn’t look or feel “right”. Can you avoid them? Can you go back into the store and ask security to walk you to your car? Where are you keys? Is your pepper spray in the bottom of your purse? Imagine a mugging and asking the assailant to wait while you did for your pepper spray? When he finishes laughing, you will be lucky if all you lose is your purse.
Disclaimer: the above post is intended to provide you something to think about, it is not intended to be legal advice.