Today, a bomb scare shut down rush hour traffic on the West side of the Triangle. After a 911 caller alerted the authorities to a suspicious object on the side of the road, police shut down the highway. They also sent people away from nearby restaurants and stores. News of the scare traveled fast, and byways filled with detour traffic going home. The parking lot at my office emptied early as people rushed to get home anyway they could, as soon as possible.
As it turned out, the “bomb” was simply stray roadside junk that probably fell off a worker’s truck. “The device turned out to not be an explosive device. It appears to be some foam that was wrapped up together, possibly something that fell off of a vehicle or something,” D.C. Allen of the Durham Police Department said, according to a WRAL online article.
All this reminds me of my wife’s grandfather. On a 4th of July weekend, as we exploded some fireworks, after each flying whistler or big boomer asked “How much did that one cost?” I wonder how much a ridiculous bomb scare like this costs the police, fire department, and the public at large. Counting lost productivity, gas wasted in traffic, stores and restaurants, this bomb scare probably cost something close to six figures. I guess this is part of the price of the War on Terror, but it seems a little rational observation would have saved a lot of trouble for everyone.