Could a sit in ‘The Beast’ keep world quiet?

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 27, 2000

Sitting in the drive-through line my mind wanders aimlessly through the day’s events and tomorrow’s schedule.

It’s just one of those precious moments in life when no phones are ringing, no one is waiting to see you and nothing is due immediately. A few seconds of vegetable bliss.

Ahh, life is good.

Email newsletter signup

Then, suddenly, a low noise vibrates the car. A second later, it’s repeated, only this time louder.

A moment later louder still.

Now I can feel the sound. The steering wheel vibrates with each low boom.

What is it?


An explosion?

For a split second I wonder, &uot;Could those ‘Left Behind’ books be coming true? Am I the only one left?&uot;

Then a quick glance into the rear view mirror and I spot the source of the noise. The headlights are a dead giveaway — the noise is coming from a car stereo.

Or to be more precise, and to give the volume-maker its due, a $5,000 stereo with wheels just pulled up behind me.

Most of us have had a similar experience. And I deemed my reaction as proof that I’m inching ever closer to the geriatrics wing of life. No longer am I the young whippersnapper with the loud stereo. Now I’m the grumpy old man who complains about everything.

And while such earth-shaking stereos are annoying they can also be illegal when used improperly.

In the City of Natchez a noise ordinance prohibits people from &uot;sharing&uot; their favorite tunes with anyone within the immediate vicinity. Specifically if you can hear someone’s stereo within 100 feet, you need a noise permit.

But I suspect it’s pretty hard to prove. Once a sound perpetrator sees a police car, he can simply turn the volume down.

And when he is caught the consequences, citations and fines, aren’t likely to prevent the behavior in the future.

We need a little Biblical justice – an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

Maybe a few seconds in &uot;The Beast&uot; would give them a new respect for the serenity of the public air and thus keep their volume knobs on low.

Haven’t heard of the Beast?

Well, admittedly, I hadn’t either until I read about the customized Ford Bronco last month in a magazine.

The Beast holds the title of having one of the loudest car stereos around. It’s one of dozens and dozens of vehicles custom built to do one thing — produce insanely loud sound.

The Beast is capable of producing more than 170 decibels. That’s almost eight times louder than a Boeing 747 jet at full thrust.

And I thought the guy behind me was loud.

The Beast, and other members of a strange, but growing, car stereo subculture, are so loud that volume controls are remotely operated.

Remote controls are necessary because when they are competing (and cranking the volume up) no human can survive sitting in the drivers’ seat.

Volume at that high of a level can deafen a person in a split second and can begin destroying internal tissue in a few seconds. Like I said, it’s insanely loud.

But perhaps a brief demonstration of what loud noise can do to one’s hearing and one’s health in general would serve as a lesson for those drivers who shake the ground wherever they go.

And then perhaps the world – and drive-through lines – would be a bit more quiet and peaceful.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail at