One of the problems with being attacked is that you really do not know the intentions of the attackers until after it is over. There really is no understanding of they are only going to do X unless you have some sort of insight into the attackers.
This is sort of the problem with the travon martin case. His girlfriend says he was only going to get an ass beating but zimmerman didn't know that when he was getting his ass beaten and being told he was going to die. His over reaction to that basically allowed him to get away with killing a person as reasonable where if you knew his life was not in danger, it would have been criminal.
We made similar mistakes with 9/11 where until then, it was assumed hijackers wanted the passengers alive which is why box cutters had so much power. If you expected to live, why would you risk death stopping what was thought to end up as a big inconvienience. It wasn't untill one flight realized what happened with the others that it became worth it and that flight went down in PA.