Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

Soldato
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I thought the barrel of the gun has debris inside which resulted in the fatal accident. Surely it would not have mattered if Alec Baldwin witnessed every single blank/dummy round being loaded into the weapon? If the full checks of the weapon were not correctly followed by the Armourer or the AD. They are pretty much fully at fault. Alec Baldwin as per the guidelines above, could have been more pro active in confirming if the gun was indeed cold but these are "guidelines" only for the Actors on set.

As the days go by we are hearing how unprofessional the set was. Basic safety not being followed and perhaps a young armourer not in full control mixed with a terrible AD with a history of incidents. Lessons will be learned no doubt :|
 
Caporegime
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I know it's from a BBC article - I posted the link to it and it does not show that the actor is responsible for checking the ammo in a prop gun the armourer has declared safe/cold. Typical dowie trying to pretend the conversation is all about a light hearted response to your own attempt to introduce bad analogies, rather than the main question/point which seems to been proved correct. You must realise that people can see through your nonsense when you do this, so I will leave you to your dowie hole.

Wait because the BBC article you’ve posted has a list that doesn’t explicitly state an actor is responsible for checking a firearm then everyone who is saying that people using firearms ought to be aware of the condition they’re in must be wrong? We’re back to the Mr Badger logic that brought us the analogies about space craft and operating on patients. If there was something wrong with my analogy about driving a car and at least having some basic competency then please do highlight it, those responses certainly didn’t!
 
Caporegime
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tricky thing about showing safe/clear on set is if (presumably, going by "western" that we're talking an old school revolver here) they're using dummy rounds then your standard clear check is going to confirm that yes it is indeed loaded with what do indeed look like rounds.

now how alike a dummy round is going to look in terms of case markings etc to a live round isn't something i'll profess to knowing much about, but one would presume that a dummy round who's purpose is to look like a real round (as opposed to a snap cap) probably looks like a real round.

This. Which is why this is all the armourers job.

A lot of people in this thread are conflating personal gun safety protocols in a civilian or military setting, with those of an actor on set. ie we have this absurd notion that a gun should never be pointed at anyone...which would be correct in most scenarios, but not when you are making a western action movie (!), and also this notion that checking chambers and magazines etc will confirm it isnt loaded (again, more complicated when imitation dummy rounds are used for visual aesthetics for a film).
 
Soldato
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Wait because the BBC article you’ve posted has a list that doesn’t explicitly state an actor is responsible for checking a firearm then everyone who is saying that people using firearms ought to be aware of the condition they’re in must be wrong?
The BBC article basically asserts that the actor, and anyone else on set, has the right to know of the firearm condition... but they are not personally required to know.

But by the same token, it should be a reasonable assumption that the armourer has done the one job they have on set, which is to personally ensure the weapons and the set-up around them are in a safe condition for the requirements of the scene, and that they are being handled safely. Their word should be all anyone else needs in order to be aware of the firearm condition. It shouldn't need every concerned individual on set to have to come up and check every firearm themselves.

Additionally, there are so many other safety elements to be addressed, from vehicle safety, horses and other animals, set construction, electrical and more, that expecting actors and other crew to take responsibility for all that is well outside their remit... It's certainly a bonus if they have enough experience and knowledge to double-check for themselves, but that's never going to be a reasonable expectation, and each person has so much of their own job to be focussed on at the time that expecting them to also do the job of the dedicated specialists is just going to cause more mistakes.
 
Caporegime
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The BBC article basically asserts that the actor, and anyone else on set, has the right to know of the firearm condition... but they are not personally required to know.

But by the same token, it should be a reasonable assumption that the armourer has done the one job they have on set, which is to personally ensure the weapons and the set-up around them are in a safe condition for the requirements of the scene, and that they are being handled safely. Their word should be all anyone else needs in order to be aware of the firearm condition. It shouldn't need every concerned individual on set to have to come up and check every firearm themselves.

Additionally, there are so many other safety elements to be addressed, from vehicle safety, horses and other animals, set construction, electrical and more, that expecting actors and other crew to take responsibility for all that is well outside their remit... It's certainly a bonus if they have enough experience and knowledge to double-check for themselves, but that's never going to be a reasonable expectation, and each person has so much of their own job to be focussed on at the time that expecting them to also do the job of the dedicated specialists is just going to cause more mistakes.

Precisely this

Imagine the scenario:

An actor is handed a gun and told it is safe/cold. However he then proceeds to take every dummy round out and inspect it properly and make sure it isn't real (with his likely limited expertise to identify such a thing). Or he has to leave the set and go and find a shooting range or similar safe area to cycle the revolver clip multiple times to ensure they are all dead/dummy rounds. Alternatively, to be sure that even if one was a blank there wouldn't be an issue, he inspects and cleans the barrel to be 100% sure no debris are there. He then refuses to point the weapon at anyone, even the other actor he has been told to point at for the scene, because that isn't a safe thing to do in terms of gun safety.

Its just totally unrealistic. As you have said, actors (and other crew members) must rely on those whose job it is to make sure parts of the set and the props used are safe.
 
Soldato
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and each person has so much of their own job to be focussed on at the time that expecting them to also do the job of the dedicated specialists is just going to cause more mistakes.
Production crew are also heavily unionised to the point that you absolutely shouldn't be touching kit that isn't your own, and can get in trouble for doing so. I personally have been on the end of grief from a sound guy because I was asked by a director to tidy up his cables. Being the young overly-keen runner that I was at the time I went to town taping his cables to the floor to the point he couldn't move to where he needed to :rolleyes: I got a right earful for wasting everyone's time. This was a tiny corporate video production with only a crew of 4-5, but same applies. I'd imagine unqualified people sticking their oar in on safety aspects on set is asking for more trouble, if anything. Trying to "help" is not always the best thing.
 
Caporegime
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The BBC article basically asserts that the actor, and anyone else on set, has the right to know of the firearm condition... but they are not personally required to know.

Yup, that’s what I’m commenting on - what I'm saying is that saying that they, the actor who is taking possession of the firearm, should do that. (Obviously, the prop person/armourer and AD are significantly to blame here too)

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But by the same token, it should be a reasonable assumption that the armourer has done the one job they have on set, which is to personally ensure the weapons and the set-up around them are in a safe condition for the requirements of the scene, and that they are being handled safely. Their word should be all anyone else needs in order to be aware of the firearm condition. It shouldn't need every concerned individual on set to have to come up and check every firearm themselves.

I don't think that is a reasonable assumption here, especially not after they'd had 2 NDs already (albeit with blank ammunition) on that same set with the same armourer and AD and especially not given that in this instance the actor is apparently intending to draw the firearm and point it at someone!

The person that is holding and potentially pulling the trigger on a firearm ought to know what condition it is in, whether it is loaded etc.. especially if they're going to point it at or in the direction of another person.
 
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Maybe if Baldwin wasn't so anti 2a and respected what a gun could do he wouldn't have been waiving around a lethal weapon? It's a tragic accident to be sure but I can't see some like Keanu Reeves/Jon Bernthal being so careless on a set. Maybe everyone involved with a film shoot with weapons should be required to go through a basic firearm course every time they sign up.
 
Soldato
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Dowie what point or blame are you trying to make here? In hindsight with all the issues reported. The Actors probably should have called to stop filming until the Armourer and AD were replaced. Guess what? it's costing probably hundreds of thousands each day on set and every delay adds to the cost. Could Alec Baldwin have done a bit more to be extra safe? Yes. Was it his job/responsibility once told by the Armourer / AD that the gun was safe? Nope. Guidelines in place if he wasn't happy but by no means was he responsible.
 
Caporegime
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Maybe if Baldwin wasn't so anti 2a and respected what a gun could do he wouldn't have been waiving around a lethal weapon? It's a tragic accident to be sure but I can't see some like Keanu Reeves/Jon Bernthal being so careless on a set. Maybe everyone involved with a film shoot with weapons should be required to go through a basic firearm course every time they sign up.

It's as I pointed out earlier in the thread. I literally learned basic firearm safety as a pre-teen. If these actors are using them as part of their job there is no excuse not to have basic safety training.
I know for a fact many actors are well versed in weapons safety, particularly the two gents you've mentioned.
 
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Here's a macabre question given he was practicing a seated cross draw in this situation would you have rather shot the 2 other people or shot yourself in the genitals?

Is the outcome for the two people the same as this situation, ie - one dead, one injured? Or do they both survive?
 
Caporegime
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Dowie what point or blame are you trying to make here?

See some of my earlier posts but essentially tmy view is that all three people share some blame here - the armourer, the AD + Baldwin as both the actor and as the EP + owner of the production company on this production which had already had 2 firearms safety issues/NDs and had film crew walk out over safety.

My basic pov re: Baldwin specifically (I guess my pov re: the other two isn't being disputed by anyone) is that as an actor he should have known (via checking or being present with the firearm being loaded by the armourer if applicable or being shown it was not loaded) what state the firearm was in (especially after previous issues) and that as the bloke in charge/producer he should have taken things far more seriously after two previous safety issues and clearly dubious cowboy like antics by some of his staff on his production.

In hindsight with all the issues reported. The Actors probably should have called to stop filming until the Armourer and AD were replaced. Guess what? it's costing probably hundreds of thousands each day on set and every delay adds to the cost. Could Alec Baldwin have done a bit more to be extra safe? Yes. Was it his job/responsibility once told by the Armourer / AD that the gun was safe? Nope. Guidelines in place if he wasn't happy but by no means was he responsible.

The actor in the case literally owns the production company and is the EP. He doens't need to merely walk out in protest he's ultimately the big shot here empowered to make changes or to stop and take safety more seriously after already having had two previous firearms incidents on his production. It's not hindsight IMO it's just flat out negligence by all three of them and I hope they get sued.

Also note that some of the film crew did in fact walk out (in part over safety issues) right before this incident happened.
 
Soldato
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Could Alec Baldwin have done a bit more to be extra safe? Yes.

Absolutely 100% agree

Was it his job/responsibility once told by the Armourer / AD that the gun was safe? Nope

Absolutely 100% disagree.

He's the guy pulling the trigger, the very last link in the chain, so he still has bares some responsibility because even if he's told "it's cold" if he simply says "show me", the death doesn't happen or if he doesn't pull the trigger when the gun was specifically pointing at two people, then the death doesn't happen. It's not his individual fault alone, not by a long shot, but by the same token he also can't be fully absolved of "any" responsibility either.

I'm still not that sure if he'll actually go to court in a criminal case (I'd say he probably won't but someone - AD maybe? - will), but I'd say that he'll definitely be involved in a few civil cases over this, as both a Producer of the film and as the man pulling the trigger, directly leading to a death and an injury.
 
Caporegime
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He's the guy pulling the trigger, the very last link in the chain, so he still has bares some responsibility because even if he's told "it's cold" if he simply says "show me".

and how does he get shown?
 
Soldato
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Yup, that’s what I’m commenting on - what I'm saying is that saying that they, the actor who is taking possession of the firearm, should do that. (Obviously, the prop person/armourer and AD are significantly to blame here too)
In an ideal world it'd be nice, but they'd first need to know what they're looking at though, which is not always a realistic expectation given the variety of firearms and ammunition they could encounter in their career - Any dumb 18 year old can be taught to clear a modern assault rifle, but how many of them can also correctly ascertain whether an historical percussion cap black powder weapon is loaded with blanks or live ball?
If they were going to become even half experts on the matter they'd have become armourers themselves.

I don't think that is a reasonable assumption here, especially not after they'd had 2 NDs already (albeit with blank ammunition) on that same set with the same armourer and AD and especially not given that in this instance the actor is apparently intending to draw the firearm and point it at someone!
In this case it was not... which is why I said it should be, and why on most sets it still is.

The person that is holding and potentially pulling the trigger on a firearm ought to know what condition it is in, whether it is loaded etc.. especially if they're going to point it at or in the direction of another person.
But the extent of that knowing stops at being told the condition by the expert whose specific job it is to know and ensure.
Yes, it's nice if the person holding the gun does know more than that, but there will always be limits and constraints on things (experience, knowledge, time, other duties)... and as I'm sure you're aware from your own wealth of military experience, you cannot have everyone trained and checking everyone else's work or you'd never get any actual work done. Dedicated staff exist as a single and supreme source of safety, because the more people you involve in this stuff the greater the scope for mistakes and the more you actually dilute the power the dedicated staff have to enforce the safety that is responsibility ... ask Dave Halls how I know this.

Maybe if Baldwin wasn't so anti 2a and respected what a gun could do he wouldn't have been waiving around a lethal weapon? It's a tragic accident to be sure but I can't see some like Keanu Reeves/Jon Bernthal being so careless on a set. Maybe everyone involved with a film shoot with weapons should be required to go through a basic firearm course every time they sign up.
Has it actually been established that he was waving it around?
"Reid Russell, the cameraman and eyewitness, has supported the actor, saying he had always been “very careful” in handling guns on set"... in the Independent's article from earlier today, which asserts that the pistol misfired rather than being an ND. Mostly immaterial, but still a point of interest.

Having everyone go through such a course is perhaps excessive and certainly expensive, especially as it'd set the precedent for dozens of other safety courses that would be required... and likely each crewperson would have to bear the burden of personally funding those (which either leads to pricing them out of the industry and/or the upspring of dubious quality low-price courses), which again can get in the way of the dedicated safety staff actually doing their job.

Certainly safety training should be given to those who will be handling the weapons, which is often one of the armourer's other duties, but that is generally limited to safe handling and basic function, typically with modern weapons. Not many will cover the detailed nuances of historic black powder muzzle loaders, percussion caps and the like and unless it happens in a scene, the loading and unloading of the weapon is the responsibility of the armourer. Actors would likely not be considered safe enough to do it, so at best restricted to watching it be done by said armourer.

But even then, it doesn't actually stop situations like this where ******** crew misbehave with the kit, and where other ******** crew step on the armourer's toes like this....
Plenty of gun-owners have done safety courses, many quite comprehensive ones, yet they still make very dumb mistakes that result in injuries and death.
 
Soldato
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Wait because the BBC article you’ve posted has a list that doesn’t explicitly state an actor is responsible for checking a firearm then everyone who is saying that people using firearms ought to be aware of the condition they’re in must be wrong? We’re back to the Mr Badger logic that brought us the analogies about space craft and operating on patients. If there was something wrong with my analogy about driving a car and at least having some basic competency then please do highlight it, those responses certainly didn’t!

Once again, you must realise that people can read the previous posts and see how you are trying to twist the narrative. Are you really unable to grasp (after already being told) that the analogies I put forward were deliberately daft and in direct response to your reply to me using analogies to argue that actors need real life skills to do pretend to do something on a movie set? It seems more likely that this is typical dowie, deliberately ignoring the main point and getting pathologically literal about a throw away comment as that's where you think you can win/wear down the other poster.

As it stands you don't need real life firearms skills to pretend to shoot a prop gun on a movie set (which is a regulated environment where someone is employed expressly to be responsible for gun prop safety). You also don't need a driving license to pretend to drive a car in a movie - you must be aware of the use of doubles, rear projection, low loaders, dual control vehicles and other techniques to make it look as though an actor is driving. No one disputes that guns and cars are dangerous and that you need skills to use them safely, but my original question was around the current process and responsibilities on a movie set. If we want to be silly and take your analogy to it's conclusion, if someone is killed in a car crash due to mechanical failure whilst filming, you could argue that the actor is responsible because they didn't personally check the brakes.

In case anyone else is still bothering to follow this, before the dowie hole opened my original post asked:

Obviously in this case the process didn't work and things went wrong and admittedly I'm posting in a state of ignorance about the legality of how this should happen. However, I do wonder about the repeated assertions in this thread that an actor should mess about with a prop and check it before using it on set, particularly opening up an apparent firearm and playing with the ammo. If there is an established health & safety and insurance approved process (e.g. the armourer declares the status of the relevant prop and gives it to the director, who hands it to the actor confirming how it is to be used for this scene) is it really the responsibility of the actor to say "Hang on guys, I'm just going to take out the ammo for a look before we start". Might that not require the director or armourer to take the prop back and start the process again, as it had been interfered with since they declared it safe?
 
Soldato
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Absolutely 100% agree



Absolutely 100% disagree.

He's the guy pulling the trigger, the very last link in the chain, so he still has bares some responsibility because even if he's told "it's cold" if he simply says "show me", the death doesn't happen or if he doesn't pull the trigger when the gun was specifically pointing at two people, then the death doesn't happen. It's not his individual fault alone, not by a long shot, but by the same token he also can't be fully absolved of "any" responsibility either.

I'm still not that sure if he'll actually go to court in a criminal case (I'd say he probably won't but someone - AD maybe? - will), but I'd say that he'll definitely be involved in a few civil cases over this, as both a Producer of the film and as the man pulling the trigger, directly leading to a death and an injury.

Of course he is pulling the trigger, that is the script, he was rehearsing the scene. The whole crew was told the gun wasnt loaded, he had no reason to doubt that.
 
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