The Obvious Answer

What if the 20th century was a worldwide case of lead poisoning?

I’ve had this idea bouncing around in my head for a little while. Lead was everywhere thanks to automobile engines. Lead is well-known to cause behavioral changes – and not good ones – even at low concentrations. So maybe that explains the last century?

And then I go and do some basic checking, and find that other people have had this thought well before me. They’ve done the research to see if there is any correlation between lead levels and crime rates… and it’s controversial and weak correlations at best.

So then I start wondering if “crime” is too big of an effect of change, that maybe there’s lots of small not-quite-criminal changes. Maybe that’s why we didn’t care about the safety of playgrounds, Maybe that’s why it was “okay” that the most popular sitcom for a while had a punchline of spousal abuse. Maybe that’s why…

That is when I realize what I’m doing.

I want there to be reason for those horrors big and small. I want there to be an explanation for why humans have been so terrible to each other. So thoughtlessly cruel and selfish. So quick to laugh at another’s pain.

I want there to be a reason. A reason beside the obvious one.

A reason beside just being humans acting human.

Just humans.

Like us.

Featured Photo by Ashley Jurius on Unsplash

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