This is Dave. Some thoughts...
The remaining Boston bomber was caught tonight. To do it the entire city of Boston (population 625,000; metro area 4.5 million) was shut down for a day. That's quite an economic impact. Shopping wasn't done, restaurants weren't visited, pizzas weren't delivered. But the bad guys were caught. The disruption was huge but it was absorbed.
That makes me ask the question, "What other things can we absorb?" If the cost of solving a national problem is staying in on a Friday, what else can be accomplished with a similar group effort? Maybe we suck it up and work a few extra hours a week, study a bit more, consume a bit less...? How long would it take to cure cancer? Aids? Develop star fortresses?
With respect to today's events, a lot of resources were focused on a single thing. It was successful. Quickly.
A lot of effort goes into keeping the lights on. However, much more goes into paying for the Lexus, picking up shoes at Neiman Marcus, and switching the 40" TV out for a 70"... Granted these things can make us happy. Happy people are more productive. Well I'm not sure the percent of the resources I spend on junk pay enough of a happiness dividend to break even on the resources spent.
I'm not a preacher and I'm not a saint. I doubt any of my habits are going to change because of these thoughts. Much. Maybe if we could all focus on one thing just a little bit, it would be enough to do some great things?