Fred, First of all, it isn't the focal length of the lens that appears aggressive; it's the size of a rig that seems to threaten people. I'd say that stealth is the best way to do street photography, but the word "stealth" has a connotation of "furtive," and that's not what I mean at all. If a long focal length lens on a small camera will do the job quietly and unobtrusively, fine. But there's a perspective change when you use a long lens that may or may not be appropriate, depending on the particular scene.
I'll say it again: When you make someone aware that you're shooting a picture of him, what you get is a posed picture. If you're a landscaper that probably doesn't bother you because you're not after relationships between people, other people, and their surroundings. You're shooting a static shot -- same as a landscape. Here's a shot I made on Sunday at an art fair. There's no way I'd have been able to get that expression if the guy had known I was shooting his picture.
Fred, you keep talking about "stealing" pictures without consent. But every time you go out in public people are stealing your picture -- with their eyes if not with cameras. Seeing other people is a necessary, and sometimes delightful, part of human existence. To fix an image of someone in time -- with a camera -- hardly seems "stealing."