Warning: Swallow tea before reading
I BLOODY love John Howard.
I'll just give you a minute to grab a tea towel so you can wipe up the tea you just spat out on your computer screen or newspaper when you read that first paragraph.
I love him despite Tampa, children overboard, dogwhistling as an art form, the list goes on.
But strapping on that bullet proof vest (literally) and facing down the Australian gun lobby after the Port Arthur Massacre and creating gun laws that are the envy of the world was the mark of a true statesman and leader.
Humankind's obsession with weapons is as old as time. We needed them to catch and kill our food and it was likely then we worked out we could kill people as well and it went from there.
Lust for weaponry is deep rooted in our reptile brains. By the time of the First World War we had the widespread use of machine guns and we could produce death and maiming on a traumatically industrial scale.
Through all pervading American mainstream television and movie making, guns have a achieved a mythic status.
At the risk of getting post- modern, in the modern age guns have come to signify conquest, righteousness and individuality.
Right from the earliest cowboy films (where America's founding myth became hopelessly entangled with the gun) right up to the latest Star Wars, the solution, justice and the final word has always come down the barrel of a gun.
No wonder a vociferous minority of Americans (enthralled by the myth making) are reduced to a child-like state of rage when there is even the slightest mention of moderating their deadly obsession
And the same urges lurk here in some sections of Australian society.
Most disturbingly the Tasmanian Liberal Party have just slunk back into office with a secret nod and a wink to the gun nuts.
And just this week Peter Dutton started spouting an idea to allow gun importers to review changes to firearm regulations. A real fox guarding the hen house moment right there.
There should be absolutely no weakening of our gun laws whatsoever.
If farmers need to control feral animals then give some more money to the CSIRO and they can figure it out.
Just don't give in to the merchants of death.