The most interesting thing to come out of the New York blackout? People were calm and nice to each other.
I’m not sure if this is one more knock-on effect of 9-11 or not, but there was one thing about the Northeast and Midwest blackout last night: There was almost no crime. People stayed calm, helped each other and didn’t engage on a looting and pillaging spree. This is in contrast to the New York blackout of the 70s, where the city had a rash of fires and crimes. Emergency calls skyrocketed, like you’d expect. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said emergency services responded to 80,000 911 calls, more than double the average.
For me, it was a pleasant and welcome surprise. 9-11 had shown New Yorkers behaving much the same way, but that could have been the sheer shock of the event. In this instance, everybody’s experienced a power failure at least a few times, so there was no shock to explain the civility and calm.
Regrettably, the effect didn’t seem to stray across the border. In Canada, officials reported a number of thefts and looting.
“There is serious looting going on” in parts of Ottawa, said Ottawa police chief Vince Bevan, adding there have been reports of break-ins, smashed windows and theft in the nation’s capital.
Ontario declared a state of emergency after the power outage.
Moment of Zen