'...be prepared to punish immediately and mercilessly.'
- Reinhard K. Sprenger in his book 'Trust', on how to respond to a failure to acknowledge a breach of trust.
'Why does the military need the DFDA?' I asked the classroom of First Year Cadets and Midshipmen at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
I was delivering another lesson in the Defence Force Discipline Act.
No hands went up.
'Why do you need your own military laws? Why can't you just be subject to the same criminal laws as every other resident of Canberra? Of Australia?' No response.
They looked uncomfortable. Unlike 18 year olds at civilian universities, my rank demanded their attention and they had to pretend to give it.
Finally, a hand slowly rose.
'Yes?' I said, nodding towards the red-faced Army cadet.
'Sir, because we've got guns in our bedrooms, Sir?'
His classmates laughed.
Sailors, soliders and airmen who are caught breaching society's laws, values or implied rules of behaviour are subjected to higher media attention and scrutiny and public shaming than the average civilian who might do the same.
A democracy makes a deal with its 18 year olds with uniforms and guns.
We trust you.
We'll fall asleep in leafy suburbs next door to where you slumber beside your weapons.
We trust you not to turn those weapons on us.
We know History. We can't afford not to give you uniforms and guns.
We know History. We can't afford to wait to see whether our trust in you with guns was misplaced. That would be too late.
We demand that you have higher levels of behaviour enforced by extra criminal laws.
We'll let you come onto our streets with your guns as long as we see you marching in controlled, neat, shiny, uniform ranks and snapping to attention when ordered to by superiors who have superiors who have superiors who defer to our elected government who we can vote out and ridicule on talk back radio and on Facebook.
If you behave in any way that hints that our trust in you might be a mistake:
Then we'll punish you immediately and mercilessly and publicly - disproportionately than if you were an unarmed teenager.
It's not your misogyny, pot smoking, petty theft, drunkenness, harassment or racist emails that we want to protect ourselves from.
It's your judgement.
And the guns in your bedroom.