As if mocking the scenes of jubilation at London's successful 2012 Olympics bid, the terrorist explosions that came the next day left devastation in their wake.
I had not intended to go to New York. Instead, after having helped launch Los Angeles's Threat Preparedness Task Force, my focus for the past several weeks had been on practical measures that our city can implement to be better prepared in the event of a catastrophe. My brother, who now lives in Brooklyn, had suggested that I travel to New York and visit Ground Zero to develop a firsthand understanding of the urgency of my work. Although I believed that the media had made me well aware of the scope of the devastation in the financial district, I followed his advice and flew to JFK.