Anybody who's following local coverage of the Clackamas Town Center shooting or national coverage of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy—or has followed any of the numerous other mass shootings in recent years—might find a piece posted today on The Economist's website worth a look.

Here's the premise:

"Considering the frequency with which gun massacres now occur in America, the media attention they garner, and the failure of that attention either to shift public opinion regarding gun control or to prod the political system to take any action at all, the outpouring of sentiment over the shootings Friday in Newtown, Connecticut is probably best viewed as a ritualistic exercise in mass histrionics."