"Where I come from talking about killing people or the training necessary to kill people in a group of strangers is a little distasteful too."
Don't know if I was the one that started the theme. But if I did, the next part was... often it is better and safer to talk your way out of a potentially volatile situation. Presenting a firearm when confronting someone you feel is a threat to you can be a point of no return. Thinking you will remain somewhat composed may not happen. Things can turn out much different than you projected in your mind. These are some of the factors one should review before deciding whether or not you want to carry a weapon. I don't carry one, don't encourage anyone to, but recognize the right others have to do so as long as they are within the law. As was mentioned, attitude and aptitude are two different things.
Lets face it, for all intents and purposes larger caliber handguns are designed to do one thing; kill. We can skirt that fact and be polite, but it does not change the fact. And some people cannot pull the trigger... that in a sense is a good thing -- deep down they value other lives; but presenting a weapon and freezing may put you in a much more serious situation than not. People who ask me about firearms when hiking always mention to protect yourself against others, which leads to many questions I think should be thought out carefully by those who are contemplating a weapon. If someone here asks the question about weapons and backpacking, it is a legitimate question. And to me, asking the question means they may not have considered all the points I just made. My intention is to layout the ingredients that should be considered before making a final decision. It is not my place to tell others how they should live their lives. Unfortunately, I have seen the view from both ends of a barrel. Neither is pretty, and neither is easy.
As I said earlier, do what you think is best for you.