I was 14 years old on September 11th 2001. Two of my areas of intense interest were tall buildings and commercial airplanes. A few years before, my family and I had visited New York City and we ate lunch at the restaurant on top of the World Trade Center. I was 11 years old at the time and I remember looking up at the twin towers and being absolutely amazed. To see them collapse on TV a few years later was a frightening concept. The thought that one of my favorite things could be used to destroy the other was devastating. Still it seemed very far away.
A couple of weeks ago, terror struck much closer to my home in California. San Bernardino is just on the other side from Los Angeles from where I live. When I was in high school we frequently drove through that city on our way to sports events. As the details came out, I was in shock. The shooters were close to my age. He had graduated from a California college. Like many of my friends, they were married and had started a family. How could it be that these two people would then attack a Christmas party at a Regional Center which provides services to people with disabilities including Autism?
I have worked hard all of my life to try to understand the emotions and actions around me and learn appropriate responses. This work was done at an Autism Center not far from Los Angeles. The Regional Center in San Bernardino serves a similar population. None of my training helps when I consider the massacre at the San Bernardino Regional Center. I am as incredulous and angry as I was half my lifetime ago when I watched the planes knock down the buildings. I feel great sympathy for the victims and their families.