Another quote:. " A man has got to know his limitations."^ I absolutely understand your point, but the air gun is situational.
Lawless mob ? I'm finding shelter or clearing out entirely. Agreed, in that scenario an airgun would likely bring more trouble in that I'd be targeting myself.
One or two thugs walking around and following me with sticks, in a situation where the long gun isn't necessarily prudent ? A cold stare and my hand on the grip while I tell them to "make my day", and I won't have any problems.
The line in that post above is more for comedy. There's no 'catch all' scenarios for when and when not to pull out a bb gun.
For my use, it's a last resort at intimidation more than anything. And that's only out of necessity.
If I've done everything else right, stocked up on the necessary supplies, and I can get to my safe house with no stops, I shouldn't need to even strap the bb gun on.