Defending yourself is not a matter of “punishment.” You’re not out to correct your assailant’s behavior, you’re wanting to stop it, as quickly and effectively as possible, with the least collateral damage. Whatever does that is what you should do.
[I've never quite understood the method of thinking that ties self-defense into punishment. Can I not kill someone until after they've killed me? Is that the new standard now? When it comes to rape then, can a woman only rape her assailant back after she's been violated? Why is she not allowed to stop the threat. Yes some times stopping the threat does involve the assailant's body reaching room temperature but that's the risk of their profession.
You know how the assailant would still be alive? By not attacking his intended victim. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?
In the words of Malcolm Reynolds:
“I didn't kill him, he killed himself. I just carried the bullet for a while.”
The criminal made his choice and in the middle of the crime the victim can, and should, do all that he can to protect himself and family. Someone is threatening force against them and they are not and should not be required to be mind readers to determine if the threat is real or just words. If you use something that looks like a gun in a threatening manner, it's a gun, and I will not fault the individual who defends himself from you.
The criminal takes a risk that someone might defend himself, and if the criminal continues to fight even when presented with force being applied back from the victim, the onus for the outcome lies squarely with the aggressor. Stop blaming victims for the outcome of actions and choices made by criminals. -B]