Is a government shutdown ever justified:
Nope and I am not aware of any case where the government be it federal, state or local has ever shut down. We have had 18 supposed Federal government shutdowns since 1977( Wikipedia ) I am aware of maybe 5 or 6 supposed shutdowns of state governments, and am aware of perhaps 2 or 3 local shutdowns..
NONE of them were actual shutdowns where all government activity stopped and the citizens were left to their own devices for survival The politicians choose which functions would be closed and which functions would remain in full force. The excuses ranged from National Security, Public Safety, Mission Critiical, etc. (probably could come up with a few more if it really mattered)
Who is to blame for the current predicament/mess:
The American population and their elected officials. And I suspect that it probably won't change! All this political ranting and raving at the national level with "throw all the bums out" translates to throw all the other bums out except my representative who regularly brings the bacon home
Will the shutdown end soon or drag on for weeks
Suspect that it will drag on until our elected representative's (be it President, Senator(s) or Congressmen/women realize that it is in their best interest to end the process and get on with serving the people.
MY OPINION... Average citizen is NOT going to change a single mind. The 1% have to realize that it is in their best interest to get on with government by the people for the people
How has the shutdown affected YOU personally?
Minimal, Have had to reschedule a autumn vacation to a national park, have had to enjoy the "blame game" that all the media are sharing. But I believe this is because the politicians have decided they don't want to anger the largest group of voting citizens any more than necessary