Was the Boston shutdown a cop-and-donut joke?

[Headline-related punchline at the end.]

One reason behind my campaign [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and most amusingly, here] to restore sanity to weather warnings and school cancellations is the tremendous cost these bureaucratic panic attacks impose on society. Every school cancellation begets a cascade of expensive waste: students missing school; taxpayers paying school employees not to work; parents losing work time to make last minute child-care arrangements; employers with missing or distracted workers; etc.

Blogger Clark [NLN] at Popehat argues that Friday’s unprecedented lockdown of commerce, transportation, and public events in Boston imposed a vastly greater cost with no commensurate benefit to public security. Clark points out that Washington DC, Kileen TX, and London recently experienced terrorist attacks with two, three, and 10 times greater fatalities respectively, but authorities did not impose civic paralysis.

[K]eeping somewhere between 2 and 5 million people from work, shopping, and school destroyed a nearly unimaginable amount of value. If we call it just three million people, and we peg the cost at a mere $15 per person per hour, the destroyed value runs to a significant fraction of a billion dollars….

[T]he cost isn’t just measured in dollars – it’s measured in the degree to which it trains a population to freak out over minor risk and to trust blindly in authorities.

The phrase, “training the population to freak out over minor risk and to trust blindly in authorities,” fits Nova Scotia of the 2010s to a “T.”

Bringing “the kinetic and salty city of Boston” (in the words of the Washington Post) “to a standstill Friday while an army of heavily armed police hunted for a skinny 19-year-old in a gray hoodie,” also meant that “99% of the eyes and brains that might solve a crime were being wasted,” as Clark points out. The skinny 19-year-old wasn’t found by the cops, but by a citizen, after the lockdown ended.

The punchline? It turns out not all businesses in Boston were shut down Friday.

Law enforcement asked Dunkin’ Donuts to keep restaurants open in locked-down communities to provide… food to police… including [four shops] in Watertown, the focus of the search for the bombing suspect.

Oh my freaking word. Talk about essential services.