re the busking incident, yeah well, at least you were aware of the possible repercussions and consequences and were willing to accept them.
I may be wrong but I think what Chris is getting at is people who have absolutely no idea how to defend themselves or who maybe are not prepared for the consequences of excersising their 'right' or putting themselves in a position where a physical confrontation is very probably on the cards shouldn't be shocked when they end up being battered. Or in some instances expect sympathy.
Circumstances are different depending whether the threat is directed at you personally or against your property or, as some people are apt to do, assume the role of 'Guardian of Public Morals and Property', have a bout of morally righteous indignation and then be surprised when they are on the recieving end of more than they bargained for.
A bit like that old saying, 'Don't let your aspirations get mixed up with your ability'
By the way, I think it's good that some people are prepared to take a stand against things like vandalism of public property etc but at least be sensible about it and don't get hospitalised because of it.
I think your example of the guy and the teenagers kicking his fence is an instance where he had the 'right' to go out and have a go at them but was smart enough to wait a bit longer until the odds were a bit more in his favour to excersise his right.
People don't have to react to every slight or slur against them or every instance of rude behaviour. They may have the 'right' to but if you do, you're putting yourself out there and saying that you're ready to back it up. Whether you mean to convey that message or not that's how it's going to be taken by most people. If you do decide to carry on an argument or push things until they get 'hot', well, you've put yourself there and the other guy will probably think that you're willing to back it up physically and that's a challenge to him.
Just 'cos you had the right doesn't somehow make the outcome a foregone conclusion like in the movies where the good guys always win. If you lose, the fact that you had the right doesn't mean that you really had to push things to the limit. Maybe you could have backed off before things got out of hand.
Argh, I'm rambling now