I visited Egypt several years back. There are constant warnings in Egypt about political violence-- it is not the safest place to go (particularly if you stray from the big tourist areas). However, since tourism is a big part of their economy they protect tourists-- soldiers with automatic weapons were visible on nearly every block.
My most frightening personal story happened in Cairo. I was taking a taxi at night to the Cairo airport to pick up a companion (I arrived a couple of days before she did). The airport is away from the city on a lonely road.
The taxi was stopped by a few armed men in military fatigues with some sort of big guns. One of them pointed his weapon toward the driver and they started yelling at each other in Arabic (at least I think it was Arabic, but I didn't understand a word). I was trying to shrink in the back.
After what seemed like a long time of tension, the driver was pulled out of the cab. Just then one of the military guys sees me cowering in the back seat and-- get this-- he laughs. He motions with the business end of his rifle that I should proceed down the road; and I was very happy to get out of there. I walked the rest of the way, and to this day I have no idea what happened to the poor driver, or why. (I guess I should be happy I got a free cab ride).
Life is for living. You aren't free from risk even when you stay at home. I wouldn't give up any of these experience even if you were.