A colleges paper posted a demand that the school remove its longstanding bullets mascot, out of fears surrounding gun violence.
Sports team mascots have come under fire in recent years. From the Washington Redskins, to the University of Notre Dame’s Leprechaun — which is meant to represent “the fighting Irish” — “offensive” mascots have become a hot-button issue. Now students are demanding that a Pennsylvania university change the school sports’ “Bullets” mascot.
The Gettysburg College has a long history of celebrating soldiers and the price that many have paid to ensure Americans’ freedoms. Since 1924 the school has proudly named its sports teams the Bullets and mascots have followed. The original purpose was to be supportive and offer a fun atmosphere, but being that the sentiment surrounding guns has changed among young adults throughout the decades, so too has support for a continued use of the mascot.
Since the 90s debates surrounding the Bullets mascot have been recorded. Then on June 13th this year, the Gettysburian staff published a paper which decried the continued use of the trademark mascot as “unfair” to modern-day students, some of which fear gun violence. The article also called it an “embarrassment” due to the fact that some continue to shout for opposing teams to “bite the bullet.” The author(s) claim that this sounds more threatening than it should, but many take it as the metaphor it was made to be.
In addition, given that the author(s) did not include their name(s) or cite any specific instances of actual students expressing offense, some wonder if this perspective truly speaks for all Gettysburg College alumni. The Bullets mascot is dressed in cloth and clearly not being fired from a real gun. Physical contact sports players often refer to their games as fights or battles. This language is, of course, also metaphorical.
While students who fear guns — instead of the people who inappropriately use them — wish to oust the Bullets mascot in favor of something more modern, those who understand that a bullet is useless without firepower fully grasp the deep connection between a “soldier” or sports player, and their “weapon” or ball. The Gettysburg College did not choose a mascot that would make everyone happy when teams were created, they chose one that held great meaning and commanded respect. Those who no longer respect the technologies which allow adults to protect themselves and are even being given to Ukrainians through American funding in their fight against Russia, are claiming that the changing view of bullets and guns should warrant a change in school mascots.
If enough students support this measure, it is likely to be changed. The school is designed to serve those attending, but dissent is often expressed on college campuses, and defining whether an issue is important enough to cause the changing of names and/or symbols is generally based on the needs of the majority. Given the shifting political climate and the fact that minorities are experiencing more support, this may not be the case moving forward. Whether the author(s) of the document in question speak for themselves, and themselves only, or a large portion of those attending Gettysburg College may factor into whether or not school officials take action. For now, the Bullets Mascot stands proud.