Why do I carry? Why do you?
In the training world we often use a number of the common, if not cliche, rationale in our discourse with students -
"cuz a cop won't fit in my holster"
"it's my protected right"
"it's my job to look after me and mine"
"the sheep won't guard themselves"
And, of course, the classic "because I can."
I'm a huge fan of the latter. It's short, sweet, and to the point. My friends and family know I carry - because I can - and I try to live that example anytime work or circumstance dictate otherwise.
However, I think there is even a more personal, direct, and equally succinct reason for me to carry a firearm when navigating the wilds of Wal-Mart, Main Street, and Best Buy:
Because I Should.
I'm a lifelong firearms enthusiast and advocate. I'm a skilled shooter, have not only gone through but enjoyed various forms of martial arts training (including defensive pistol use) throughout my life, and have grown up in a security / defense lifestyle. I am comfortable around guns, carry them often, and have come to terms with what may come, should that horrible day come.
Carrying "because I can" is one thing. Carrying "because I should" turns it into a more personal and active relationship vis-a-vis my role as an armed citizen. Further, while most people certainly "can" carry a gun, far fewer are prepared or willing to do so.
At the end of the day, it's not just about the "right" or the ability. It's a duty to myself and to my family, one I'm able to enjoy fulfilling and share with others, both in class and out.
It's my "why." I'd challenge every person who carries a gun to examine theirs.