There are 2 parts to the gun culture you mention, the legal carriers who don't run around harming people, and the criminals, who harm people regardless of how helpless the general population makes itself. It's a simple risk reward system. Criminals harm because the reward outweighs the risk in a disarmed society. In an armed society, where the risk becomes great enough (Death) to discourage the criminal, then we see a decline in crime.
I have a far less chance of being unprepared enough to find myself in the middle of the woods without the means or ability to create fire and make shelter, than being caught in a convenience store with my wallet in my hand trying to pay the clerk. However, I still prepare for both contingencies because I plan to survive either situation. Survival is preparedness. All forms of preparedness. Be it the mental preparedness to survive, the knowledge to survive, or the tools and knowledge to use them to survive.
I follow the mantra "Don't go to stupid places with stupid people and do stupid things" which reduces my chances of encountering criminals or deviants that I may have to defend myself or my family from by an astronomical percentage. But No matter how observant I am, or how prepared, unless I become some kind of shut-in (Which still doesn't prevent a home invasion or robbery), I will do my level best to ensure my survival in all situations.
A defensive firearm is simply a tool to that end, absolutely no different than any other tool. Is there any guarantee I'll be able to get to it in time? Nope, none whatsoever, but even a tiny chance, is better than nothing. Same in the woods, Am I guaranteed to not lose my knife in the woods? Nope, not at all, but by carrying it, I have a far better tool available than my teeth to build shelter. I won't bury my head in the "It can't/won't happen to me" sand any more than I'll bury my head in the "I'll never need to make fire or shelter in the woods in an emergency" sand either. Nothing in life is certain. I could keel over from a heart attack tomorrow never having needed to do either in an emergency. But just in case I don't keel over. I'll ensure I have the ability, and the means to survive. Survival isn't a bush-craft only thing, and it's not just an observing your environment thing. (Even when at peak awareness (Red), you are still vulnerable, you may just buy yourself a little time. Survival is every day, every where. I may never use the skills I've developed in a real emergency, but that's not going to stop me from preparing.