You wrote..

"I think some people, have interpreted a pre-emptive strike to prevent the other person getting a shot at you first, into Smacking some poor innocent if they so much as look at you.."

This is my point. How do you know? As I said, I've seen and been in loads of situations that have gone right to the wire and then backed down to nothing apart from some verbal.
I think Saisho said it best..

"That doesn't mean you can't make contact first. An attack can be many things and even if the person throws a strike and you are faster, you strike first."

This is what I train for and where I am at. Who knows? In the future I may change my mind because of the nature of the job. I am always openminded about such things.

Brian, as a rule I don't let people in to my personal space, but everybody must have been in one of those forehead to forehead situations before.