New Hope for the Devil

No, despite the title, this is not a U.S.-politics item. Three years ago I did an Atlantic piece called “Maybe the Most Unforgettable Place Ever,” about the removed-from-time Australian island of Tasmania. It mainly talked about the chillingly beautiful restored prison camp at Port Arthur, of which I can still recall almost every scene and detail. The name Port Arthur also has modern political significance. After a mass-shooting slaughter there in 1996, of the sort that happens repeatedly in the United States but was considered a national trauma in Australia, the conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard dramatically tightened gun-ownership laws. No remotely comparable killing has happened in Australia since.

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