I was just posting on the power of stories versus boring statistics. Stories have, I think we all realize, a more powerful impact. But there’s a problem with stories. They can obfuscate the truth. For instance, with the advent of the Newtown Connecticut massacre, one could hardly be blamed for thinking we’re living in an era of increased murder and violent crime. (In fact, the very reason I’m writing this post is because I’ve had conversations with a few people who have voiced this opinion.) But, in fact, the opposite is true. The statistics show that violent crime has declined quite a bit in the past 20 years, and gun ownership has also dropped.
If there is an interesting question here that no one seems to be asking, it is why has violent crime dropped so dramatically? if we could identify the cause, maybe we could augment its powers.
I’ll throw out an entertaining hypothesis I’ve seen presented elsewhere. This decline in crime corresponds almost exactly to the rise of the Internet. Has the Internet and its children (such as group video games, online dating, social media and online pornography) resulted in a generation so addicted to the computer screen they can’t run out into the streets and kill each other?