I just found a link to a news article that tells of a man at a gas station getting robbed at gunpoint, a little over a mile from where I work.
Watch the video. You'll see two urban youths, with their hoods up, approach the victim. Now, I know it's Cleveland, and it's cold in November, but at what point do you start to think "uh-oh."? How far into your personal space do the criminals have to get before you realize that you're not overreacting and that you're really in danger?
Notice also the police reminding us to "not fight back", if we find ourselves in a similar situation. Obviously the man was not shot after allowing the criminals to steal his wallet from his back pocket, but it doesn't always end that way. He was lucky.
This also leads me to wonder at what point the police would say it's okay for us to start fighting back. I picture myself in the same situation, minding my own business, going about my day, pumping gas, heading for work. Two strangers begin to walk toward me, two hooded men. Maybe they don't want my purse. Maybe they want me. (who knows? does it really matter?) At what moment am I allowed to stop giving strangers the benefit of the doubt? When am I allowed to fight back?
It would be nice if we were all able to have our very own personal policeman to protect us if we ever found ourselves threatened - but they're awfully heavy to carry on your hip all day...plus, the care and feeding sure would get expensive.