Crime rates have been dropping precipitously, in city after city. WHY? Theories abound, of course; and Kevin Drum, the author of this study, investigated most of them. I preferred a theory that he didn’t investigate, namely, that the human race is growing more spiritual. Oops! Maybe not. Or maybe that’s not “why” it’s happening. But, as the Dalai Lama would put it, everything happens all together; it’s called “dependent arising.”
In other words, our 3D reliance on linear chains of cause-and-effect may be just that, linear, limited. I’ve been pondering this idea for a long time. See this.
But if we decide to play the 3D game of linear causation, then perhaps our explanation for why crime rates are dropping is much more down-to-earth. It turns out that lead, in gasoline, correlates precisely with violence. When they took lead out of gasoline, violence went down. This theory also explains why large cities tended towards more violence than small ones. Not because of anonymity, but because of lead concentrations in the air.
Here’s Kevin Drum’s original article in Mother Jones. It’s fascinating. Read all the way through.
Here’s his follow-up article about large and small cities.
And here’s a skeptic on the subject, George Monbiot, who was converted. Alternet:
Both Drum and Monbiot think and write like real reporters, rather than corporate shills, pursuing in-depth investigations. Refreshing!