Just when I thought I’d let my subscription to the Atlantic run out, along comes an issue (December) with some actual meat in it. Jeffrey Goldberg’s timely “The Case for More Guns (and More Gun Control)” is a valuable contribution to the debate and well-worth your time. It was a bit unexpected given the source, both in terms of the magazine and the author. And Goldberg hasn’t backed down in light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, writing Friday:
People should have the ability to defend themselves. Mass shootings take many lives in part because no one is firing back at the shooters. The shooters in recent massacres have had many minutes to complete their evil work, while their victims cower under desks or in closets. One response to the tragic reality that we are a gun-saturated country is to understand that law-abiding, well-trained, non-criminal, wholly sane citizens who are screened by the government have a role to play in their own self-defense, and in the defense of others (read The Atlantic article to see how one armed school administrator stopped a mass shooting in Pearl Mississippi). I don’t know anything more than anyone else about the shooting in Connecticut at the moment, but it seems fairly obvious that there was no one at or near the school who could have tried to fight back.
This edition also has two interesting pieces on the future of industry/manufacturing in America and a nice little autobiographical story on an actual newly opened bookstore and its owner. And thank goodness the “What’s Your Problem” page at the end – perhaps one of the worst pages in serious journalism in some time – has been replaced by the “Cover to Cover” section on new books (though this long overdue development isn’t new to this issue). The magazine still has its problems and hasn’t returned to its peak, but there have been some recent signs of hope (or are these dead-cat bounces?).*
Here is my favorite quotation from the December issue in an article by James Fallows titled, “Mr China Comes to America“:
I’ll say it in every article: America’s greatest strategic advantage is its openness to an outsize share of the world’s talent, and one of its greatest self-inflicted weaknesses is needlessly turning that talent away.
* Yes, perhaps I fixate too much on the Atlantic but it has been to me what the New Yorker is for many educated (but more parochial) people.