Shoot the dog first as a warning

The Guardian reports a letter signed by five notable military persons sent to their respective governments concerning preemptive nuclear attack.

The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible,” the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. “The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.”

Is there something odd about the phrasing, much less the intent? What kind of person advertises that he might shoot his neighbor if he thought the neighbor might have a gun in the house, meanwhile practices shooting in his own backyard? Or give the neighbor on the other side of the first neighbor a hand gun? Or maybe he will just shoot your dog and cat to keep it to a limited scope of warning first time round if suspicions are raised.

I know it is more complicated, but official policy is different than implied threat? Where is that line drawn before it becomes the new reality? And based on what kinds of information, and who is allowed access to that information?