For years the rate of violent crime has fallen in the United States. It’s good news, but experts have never been able to explain why crime rates spiked in the 1980s and 1990s but then dramatically dropped in the 2000s. Theories ranging from improved police techniques to the “crack epidemic” to the legalization of abortion have all been proposed by researchers, but none seem to quite fit the facts.
Now, researchers say they may have found the perfect scapegoat for violent crime: leaded gasoline.
If this is more than a simple statistical coincidence (the same kind that “links” the number of post offices with the number of alcoholics in a city for example), I can’t help but wonder what else will be uncovered.