One of the very common assumptions that appear to made regarding gun owners and, more specifically, gun carriers, is that we 'want someone to do something' so we can 'have an excuse to shoot somebody'. I've encountered this belief in many, including some among my friends and family, and it needs countered.
Lets begin with some couched projection: I can only speak for myself regarding intangibles such as intent and mindset. That being said, my views on the matter are remarkably similar to those views expressed by others to some degree or another, so I am assuming (based on experience and expressed beliefs of others) that there are others in the community who think and believe along the same lines. I am well aware that there are others in the community that will believe differently, and there is, in fact, a likelihood that there are people in the gun community (and elsewhere) that DO, in fact, long for the opportunity to intervene, or DO wish to be party to an incident. The distribution of these views one will have to establish for themselves.
On to the meat of the matter- I habitually carry on my person a loaded handgun, for the express purpose of defending myself, my family, or others (should I be in a position to do so) from persons with hostile intent. This is done independently of any risk assessment of my activities; if I have reason to believe I am likely to NEED my gun in a certain situation, I should definitely examine my choices leading up to the matter. Put simply, if I think I'm going to need it where I'm going, I shouldn't be going there (I've paraphrased here a sentiment that I have encountered variously around the web- if you were the first one to say it, thanks, it's a great line...). The notion that I wear my firearm in order to seek out confrontation is without merit, as I have no intention of putting myself, or most especially my family, in such a situation. Further, the notion that I secretly wish for an opportunity to arise that justifies its use is also without merit; that would mean I am wishing harm on others to justify my beliefs, and that is simply not my personality.
I carry my firearm because, while I would hope never to need it, I would prefer to have it on the long chance I DO need it. If, despite all my hopes to the contrary, some situation arises wherein it would be beneficial to be armed, a gun at home in a safe will not avail me. I fervently hope that, at the end of a long and happy life, I can look back and say Thank God I never needed that gun. We do not always get what we hope for. If that day comes, and I am unprepared, I'll bear the weight of that decision the rest of my life; compared to that, a few extra ounces of weight on my belt feels quite light. I can carry that for the rest of my days, and no one will be hurt by it. It is much the same with military small arms. A million rifles in closets, that go unused and neglected, and are never needed to repel invaders or resist a tyrant, cannot be detrimental to the nation- but we will feel their lack quite keenly, if they are ever needed, and are no longer there.