|July 30, 2013 | Recent Events Dictate
So it was, this one time, that I found myself in a desert in the southwest, with a crazy person, shooting guns. Well, this guy was possibly more of a show-off than crazy. He’d at least take the time to say helpful things like, ” don’t put your thumb there, it might get ripped off “. We were shooting at an abandoned car, and as metal objects go, cars are pretty soft, but at one point I hit something solid enough ( part of the engine, maybe ) for the bullet to bounce. It made the classic tweeeoowww ricochet sound that you hear in old westerns and cartoons. We looked at each other and laughed. The day could have ended very badly, but it didn’t. I doubt I’ll shoot a gun again unless I’m somewhere with range instructors and very strict rules.
But here’s what I was thinking about : I wasn’t wearing earmuffs ( I know, super-duper-stupid, again ), and after the shooting session, my hearing was diminished by, I don’t know, 40-50 %. Loud ringing in my ears, which lasted for a couple of days, and the feeling that they were stuffed with cotton. What I want to know is, are military veterans deaf? Gunshots are very, very loud, and the soldiers of today use hearing protection, but it doesn’t seem like they ever used to. CJ Ramone told me that he’d suffered significant hearing loss – not from, as you’d assume, playing bass with the Ramones ( have you ever stood in front of a blaring Marshall 100W full-stack – the old kind, from before there was such a thing as a master-volume circuit, which you had to turn up all the way to get the right kind of sound? It’ll actually make you sick if you’re not used to it ), but from being on a Marine machine gun squad. ” You can’t wear earplugs? “ I asked. ” No, you can’t, because you have to be able to hear orders “ he said.