This week's "Justice for Daisy" rally on the courthouse square was a lot of things to a lot of people.
To the the skeptical, it was a bust, attracting a bare quarter of the 2,000 protesters that authorities anticipated and organizers were hoping for.
To professional political organizer and women's rights activist Courtney Cole, who was the event's guiding force, it was a success and a sterling opportunity to place her crusade against "rape culture" and sexual abuse in the national spotlight.
For law officers it was both a pain in the neck and — since everyone behaved themselves and went home early — a relief.
For Maryville it was an unmitigated black eye documented in painstaking detail by "big media," which dispatched a cadre of ace reporters, all of whom smelled red meat.
For Daisy Coleman and Paige Borlan — the two teenage girls who were allegedly sexually abused at a high school party almost two years ago — well, who knows? Same goes for their alleged attackers.
Certainly there has had to be a flood of emotions on both sides.
But whatever the rally was or was not, it wasn't cheap. And maybe, given the magnitude of the case, and the important questions it has raised about the dangers and temptations faced by young men and women navigating the popularity pit of high school in a sports-crazy town, it shouldn't have been.
The bills aren't in yet, so there won't be any hard figures for a while, but Sheriff Darren White said Wednesday the fiscal cost for taxpayers will be considerable — nothing that's going to break the bank, but a tidy sum nevertheless.
Consider that every single law officer in the county — including those from Maryville Public Safety and Northwest Missouri State University — was on duty. That's about 30 police officers and 12 deputies. On a typical weeknight the number would be less than a third of that.
Also called up were enough firefighters and first-responders to staff at least one fire truck and five ambulances.
In addition, though the cost will be spread statewide, Tuesday's security tab included the dispatch of about 20 Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers including the entire Troop H command staff. The sheriffs of both Holt and and Andrew County were on the scene as well, and the patrol launched a helicopter to hover over the gathering.
Moving beyond law enforcement, the rally shut down county government for eight hours, and Administration Center and courthouse employees were given the day off with pay. The county's website has been down for days, switched off for fear of cyber attacks by the Internet activist group Anonymous, which has used such tactics in the past.
City computer operations were curtailed, and staff closed up shop a couple of hours early on the day of the rally, except, of course, for the street crew, which worked to erect and remove traffic barriers before and after the event. Other incidental costs included portable restrooms — paid for by the county — and security lighting.
Page 2 of 2 - Downtown businesses took a hit since parking was prohibited on both the inside and outside of the square for most of the day.
White guestimated that total rally costs for all agencies combined could easily move into five figures, which is not really a lot in the broad scheme of things but still considerable in terms of an hour-long event.
On the upside, the county and the city are taking the opportunity to update their information technology systems, which should improve both efficiency and security. As of Wednesday morning, the public portions of both government sites were online and functioning normally.
Now it's just a matter of paying a few bills.