San Bernadino 1

It had all the earmarks of terrorism. And yes, it was terrorism. Masterminds: Syed Rizwan Farouk and Tashfeen Malik, man and wife, and both of whom lived in the United States. But one thing: Both had their hands easily on the automatic assault weapons they used in the attack that killed 14 people and wounded 21 others now in hospital receiving varying degrees of treatment. For largely that reason alone, therefore, Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, once again throws into sharp relief the choice confronting America next November when its people go to the polls to decide who should be their next president: they will also decide whether or not banning automatic assault weapons and/or implementing gun control laws is long overdue.

Americans will be faced by two candidates who will each argue for one side of the proposition. Hillary Clinton, who may represent the Democratic Party, has since staked out her position on the issue. Unabashedly determined to see an end to the unceasing violent gun culture in the United States, she has never missed an opportunity to come out swinging against the National Rifle Association and their Republican supporters. On the heinous slaughter in San Bernadino, Hillary had this particularly to say: “I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now.” Presciently, she was discussing gun violence at a campaign rally just hours before the latest tragic incident happened. Her two Democratic opponents, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, did not flinch from raising a hue and cry either against the lack of control over guns in the country. Sanders, for instance, said, “Mass shootings are becoming an almost-everyday occurrence in this country. This sickening and senseless gun violence must stop.”

Who the Republican nominee will be is still a little hazy. However, such a nominee, predictably, will argue for the upholding of the status quo on guns. On San Bernadino, many of the Republican candidates, interestingly, have also come out to be heard. “Praying for the victims, their families and the San Bernardino first responders in the wake of this tragic shooting,” said Ben Carson. Donald Trump saw it this way: “California shooting looks very bad. Good luck to law enforcement and God bless. This is when our police are so appreciated!”

None of the Republicans would ever admit that this is a gun-related issue. So, the campaign promises to be an increasingly raucous contentious fight going forward, the likes of which no one has seen in recent American politics. But it will be up to the American people to put paid to the madness by deciding once and for all come November, 2016. Do they want commonsense gun control laws or more needless deaths? I’m certain they will decide wisely.