A short note to express how frustrated I have become with the literary description of the discharge of a firearm as “ringing out.” You need not have been in a firefight, stood on a corner in Chicago or Philadelphia or attended a firing range to know that gunshots do not ring. Yet, every time you read about a shooting somewhere in the article will be a version of “and shots rang out.” Now if this were a wedding or a funeral then I could go with bells ringing out but that’s about the only thing we encounter in our daily lives that ring.
So, why do authors continue to have speeding bullets ringing instead of cracking? It may be literary but it isn’t true and isn’t the truth what we all seek. How about just a few of you young internet reporters come up with a true onomatopoeia for gunshots and leave the hackneyed literary references to history. Crack, bang, pop, explosion, all of these are preferable to ‘rang out.’ What’s the matter. None of you have a thesaurus or have ever watched a tv show in which the crack of the pistol could be heard for blocks or the pop, pop. pop of the guns caused me to drop to the ground and hide. We all know that when witnesses are interviewed they deny any knowledge of the event because “I thought it was a car backfiring.” Ever heard a car go ring, ring, ring? I thought not.
So true, Tony! How did writers ever come up with a gun shot “ringing out?” Must never have been on an indoor shooting range. The only things that ring there are your ears, having failed to wear proper hearing protection!