Is there something about downward spiraling economic climates that inspires shootings. After two shootings in only two days, it seems like a legitimate question to ask. Even in the best of times there are of course plenty of people who think that the solution to life's problems lies at the right or wrong end of a gun. But a downward economy also helps spread a mood of pessimism that can be psychologically infectious in a terrible way.

An upbeat national mood also drives positive behavior both collectively and individually. By contrast a downward national mood can help encourage people to act out their worst impulses, feed depression and promote negative behavior. The Social Good is best promoted by a general sense that positive actions have positive consequences and negative actions have negative outcomes. Take that positive and negative cross section off the table and you can all too easily usher in a social free for all.

While we should not leap to conclusions about the two shootings and their timing, you can't help but wonder if we aren't running a little low on that vital elan, that sap of national virtue, hope.