Re: The Law
In Gene's first scenario, if Man #2 shoots to defend himself from a club or knife attack and hits an uninvolved person, he would probably face a charge of involuntary manslaughter (if the person died, obviously) here in California. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as a lawful act, done in a lawful manner that results in the death of another. Involuntary manslaughter is different from a justifiable homicide in that the victim was uninvolved in the events. If Man #2 kills Man #1, it would probably be ruled a justifiable homicide here under the doctrine of self-defense.
In the second scenario, as I understood it, Man #1 takes the first swing, Man #2 defends himself with a bottle, and Man #1 ups the ante and uses a gun or knife. Man #1 would probably be arrested and charged with any number of crimes. There is no particular law that speaks to the use of a knife to defend yourself, but knives have a terrible connotation with the public. Public opinion would really weigh against the individual using a knife to defend himself in most circumstances and prosecutors are sometimes, perhaps frequently, swayed by public opinion.
Trade you three earthquakes for a hurricane......