During morning rush hour Tuesday, three blasts tore through Brussels, Belgium; the first two at an airport in Zaventem and the third at a downtown metro station. Federal prosecutors in Belgium confirmed the bombs were terrorist attacks, authorities raised the terror threat to maximum and ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Police blamed suicide bombers for the attacks, but have started a manhunt for survivors, arresting two suspects they believe are behind the bombings, which came only four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the main fugitive in the Paris terror attacks. As panic spreads around the world, a larger question looms for communities around the globe—what does this mean for our security? Should we be scared?

“There is no such thing as zero risk,” Security expert Juliette Kayyem said in an interview with Boston Public Radio. With that said, Kayyem stressed there is one outstanding quality that keeps America (generally) safe. “Overall it has been our centuries-long commitment to integrating and assimilating immigrant groups, so that their commitment is to America and America’s security,” she said. “I am Arab-American and committed my career to our safety and security, this is true of every immigrant population, that is our success story.”

In response to the news from Belgium, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pushed his agenda to block immigrants and Muslims from entering the United States.  “It’s not working,” Trump told CBS News. “You look at what’s going on in Brussels, and Paris, and many other cities… I would be extremely careful about people from the Middle East coming into our country, I would be extremely careful.”

Kayyem refers to this rhetoric as “silly-talk.”

“Ending all travel, or ending the ability of people to come to this country, or surveilling certain populations in America… no one in the field believes that that will make us safer, it will simply antagonize major groups of people that don’t feel antagonized now,” she said. “We have to remember that, even in our fears, that our success is that capacity to integrate, assimilate, and welcome the other, whoever the other is, over the course of most of our history. That is better than any surveillance system, better than any drone, that is going to be the thing that keeps America relatively safe.”

I am Arab-American and committed my career to our safety and security, this is true of every immigrant population, that is our success story.

The idea that the current system is not working, however, is an area where Kayyem and Trump agree. “I think there is strong evidence to suggest that an internal intelligence apparatus in Belgium was not very strong,” Kayyem said. “Where I think there might have been gaps is that the transit systems were not closed after the airport attacks. We certainly know from the July 7 attacks in London over a decade ago, they had both the metro stations, and once the metro station closed, the guy went to a bus. We should know that once these guys are committed to dying the day of, if you close the airport, they’re going to find another way. One thing to learn from this, it should be to close all transit systems and move on.”

And yet, it’s hard to say what, exactly, could have been done. “This is the horror, and why terrorism is successful is this attack was highly likely and almost impossible to prevent,” she said. “That’s just the nature of the game of these open Western-European societies, at a time when it’s just very difficult to disrupt every terrorist attack, especially when they’re put into motion so quickly.”

WGBH News Analyst and GroundTruth Project founder Charles Sennott agrees that these types of attacks need to be handled in a different way. “After paris, they didn’t evaluate effectively,” he said. “After the London bombings, they didn’t evaluate effectively. They’re not waking up to the fact that this is not their old-fashioned terrorism.”

Sennott, who has covered bombings in major cities including Jerusalem, Madrid, Northern Ireland, and London, urged fearful Americans to gain perspective. “This is a generation that is not understanding proportionality and risk,” he said. “This is terrible, 9/11, terrible. London bombings, terrible. Madrid bombings, terrible. Now the bombings in Brussels, equally terrible. They’re affecting our lives. But we’re talking about a few tens of thousands of people with a 12th-century ideology who are out of their minds. And I think we need to calm down and realize, we got this.”

According to Sennott, that altering of perspective extends to authorities, as well. “If you think about it like a war, in conventional terms, you lose. When you think about it like a crime, and you begin to realize that Belgium’s law enforcement is dramatically under-resourced, and they don’t have enough funding and enough man-power and enough attention to detail or a coordinated enough strategy to approach this crime and solve it, then you’ve got a discussion on your hands. We need to be thinking about it like the crime that it is, and not a war, which it’s not.”

“We have to have context, historical context to understand the threats we face,” Sennott said.  “[We all feel] anxiety and fear, we live in a time where everything has changed, I think for Europe, this is now the new normal, we will see more of these attacks, I’m sad to say. But we have to be proportionate in assessing risk, and we have to think about it in a historical context. Can you imagine what my father was facing when he was in WW2? And all my uncles? And my mom, fearful for her older brother, who was in D-Day?”

The fear is understandable, Sennott says, but the risk of an attack is much lower than the risk of many other dangers Americans face. “I think it can be a cause for fear the same way it can be a cause for fear when New York City police were not doing an effective job policing in the eighties, and crime went out of control and crack exploded and we dealt with it,” Sennott said. “You have to find a good strategy for dealing with it.”

Europe’s strategy, Sennott says, it not effective. “What they don’t realize now is that it’s this transnational movement, it’s a different kind of terrorism, and it’s global,” he said.  “It’s really coming straight at London because it’s the most vulnerable, soft target, because of all its liberties, it’s open borders, and its culture has made it vulnerable. They need to find a way, collectively, to approach it.”

To hear Charles Sennott and Juliette Kayyem on Boston Public Radio, click on the audio links above.