I disagree Mark...I think you've missed a big part of deeper issue.
Having been in the situation in which I am the only authority...there is no one left to call or appeal to for outside help. "Nuking them", only seems to cause problems later on.
Failing to understand their point of view regardless of how stupid and irrational it may be can cause you problems later on.
It requires a great deal of personal restraint and supression of your own emotions to do this.
... I think in this example though, a neighbor and seeking to understand...goes a long way at allowing for everyone to go home and still be friends.
I wish more folks acted this way than less.
One can make a moral case on every point Kevin just said, as well as the tactical case for caution, which he has plainly stated, but the larger strategic martial case needs to be laid out as well.
If some one attacks you, physically, verbally politically -- in any way whatever, really -- it is most preeminently important to understand WHY
that attack has occurred and whether you are a target or a collateral impact -- because it should radically change the strategic dynamic that necessarily follows, whatever the hurt
. And if you have no clear strategy -- that IS a strategy -- just not a terribly good one...
Only in the "Why" will you discover who is an actual enemy, who is a actual friend, who your natural allies are and who your enemies' natural allies are -- and who is neutral, and more importantly (as the wag once said) -- who are they neutral FOR....
Remember, if you survived an initial attack -- it may be the rest of the tribe that comes calling after one asserts too quick or too forcefully or unwisely one's inalienable "rights."
A mother's estranged sons,
sometimes come with guns.
Ooh look -- a pithy rhyme