Are guns changing the psyche?

Molly Branstetter, Staff Reporter

The way people think about walking into a grocery store has changed. The way people  think about walking into a mall has changed because at any second we don’t know who has a gun and who is going to shoot at citizens out of the blue. How we think about guns has changed drastically in the last couple decades. Before the Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shootings, which made citizens of America rethink guns, guns were thought of tools for farmers or for hunting. Now these weapons of war can be bought at local Walmarts or Sportsman Warehouses to be used to shoot at masses of people. If these mass shootings never happened, how would we be thinking about guns right now? Would they continue to be a main topic on the 6 o’clock news or would talk of them be kept quiet?


Twenty years ago when a long coat was seen being worn by someone they might have received compliments on their outfit but now the thought of if they have a gun on the inside pocket crosses minds of Americans everyday. Sending kids to school might have been a relief to parents in past decades, but now it is a relief to keep them home knowing for sure they will not get shot in a place that is supposed to be safe. Nightmare thoughts like this happen everyday.


Even though crimes and violence made by or with guns are just one type of violent crime, how is it so ingrained in our head to think about?  When Lee Gosson, a sergeant at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office, was asked about whether or not he thinks a crime is gun related or not even before he knows what kind of crime it is, he said, “Not necessarily. Other major crimes do not involve a gun, like assaults, sexual assaults, domestic violence..” With that said, the answer to the question is really depending on the popularity and response to the crimes that have happened with guns in the past couple decades. Most of the students and adults speaking up about gun violence have grown up in the “Mass shooting generation”. These people are more prone to thinking of guns and possibility of a mass shooting because they have grown up hearing about them frequently.


At a volleyball tournament on April 16th 2018 in Gresham, Oregon a man with a long dark duffle bag walked into the gym and then into the girls locker room. Four of the players dads realized how easily a gun could be in this duffle and followed him. Bystanders say the man noticed people were following him and that is why he found the nearest exit and left the building. When coaches heard of this potential threat they told their players what was going on and to find the nearest exit in case of emergency. This being a potential mass shooting even though the only evidence seen was a big black duffle bag.


Grace Rivers a volleyball coach for PDX Volleyball club says “In the time of the event I was most concerned for everyone’s safety. I wanted to make sure that there were steps in place in case it was real. I knew as a coach it was my first priority to ensure the safety of the players on my team. But don’t get me wrong I was a little scared myself. It took a lot of courage for me to go down to the location of the suspicious man, to make sure everything was getting taken care of. I am thankful that we handled the situation so well and for everyone who stepped up to ensure the safety for everyone.”