Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

Soldato
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I'd say that is whats causing most of the arguments, as some would say "the firer should always check regardless" and others believe differently. I'd guess that, due to the lack of this being far more common, whatever procedures used on set seem to be usually enough, but once in a while enough failed safety issues will line up and you get an accident like this. I mean it could be that these incidents are extremely common but a last second check has prevented things going further and they've never been reported widely, or the sets could be extremely safe, I've no idea unfortunately.
In some situations, the firer can perform a check in addition to the armourer, but this will typically be when that armourer has trained them and they're using modern weapons with mechanisms with which many people are already familiar, such as an M4, a bolt-action rifle or most semi-auto pistols.
Part of the issue is when the weapon is different or more complicated, such as with flintlocks or machine guns, and where the armourer's expertise comes into play.

For example, I have experience with many dozens of firearms, primarily modern, but I'd still struggle to properly operate and safely clear a Tranter or an 1854 Collette without a bit of training first.

From what I remember we always had to upload/download our own Live mags under supervision a Range Warden/NCO/Officer whilst another detail was on point, 20rd boxed usually (oh how I wished for stripper's on a cold range day :D) but IIRC for exercises with BFA's and blanks you had to give a pre-shoot statement (the old "no live rounds in my possession etc" one) whilst your kit/pockets was inspected for any Live rounds/mags which may have snuck in. Only after that could you get access to the blanks and mags but, again it was load your own but our group size was usually <30 with just IW's making it far easier to control than doing say a full company assault with SF fires etc.
We usually had people detailed, which was typically whoever had been ******* around most recently and needed bleeding thumbs to teach them not to do it again. They weren't really supervised either, as such, but then we could generally be trusted to count to 20 or 30 (SLRs or L85, respectively).
Declarations were only after a shoot, as it was presumed you'd not brought anything with you, I suppose. Depending on who the RCO was, you either had "No live rounds, empty cases or misfires" in your possession, "Sir!"... or "No rockets in my pockets, no Wombats in my combats, no Shermulies in my goolies and no LAWs in my drawers..... sir!" :D

I don't think Dowie said that "full" responsibility was with Baldwin, only that he a responsibility to check.
No one said they should make up for it.
I didn't say that - which post are you referring to?
In response to both quotes above - It was the general conversations from earlier on in the thread suggesting that actors should be conducting NSPs and opening weapons up to check their state, examine the ammo, etc... because it's something "18-year-old infantry soldiers with a reading age of 11 can do, yet you don't think highly paid movie actors should?".

As I pointed out, Infantry soldiers train on modern weapons and usually only a few specific ones. Movie weapon companies often supply a far wider range of firearms, many of which require very different training and which is why you have an armourer to take care of those specifics.

That also isn't what I claimed.
But if you're going to allow them to start checking their own weapons, even in addition to an armourer doing it, that then does make the actor responsible too... which is another reason for having an armourer. Actors can watch, for their own peace of mind, but allowing them to start messing with it interferes with the safety the armourer has just established.


They sometimes fire blanks on movies still rather than relying on CGI etc.
There are often (but not always, in the case of some historic weapons) prop weapons available that are either live weapons modified to only chamber blanks, or replica weapons that are only built to cycle blanks. In either case, a 'real' gun capable of discharging live ammo is not needed.
 
Man of Honour
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I know this is slightly off topic but every time one of these threads comes up it reminds me to make the pitch for my new TV show (it is called Expert versus Dickspert) which revolves around a panel of genuine, accredited experts in their field pitted against a bunch of armchair enthusiasts with far too much time and too little knowledge. Each week the teams discuss a new topic and the entertainment comes from the utter belief the non-experts have in their own opinion and the real experts crushing them with facts. BUT - and here is the kicker, my dudes - every now and again the non-experts just about come up with a new angle where their opinion isn't just utter, utter garbage and it gives the real experts something to think about. This is what will keep the viewers coming back.

I'm pretty pumped about this one so I'll let you know how I go.

There is always a bigger fish. I've seen accredited experts in a field absolutely humbled before by someone who has dedicated their life to a subject never mind people who might have read a few internet articles on something.

What is more important IMO is the approach people take both those who know enough to be dangerous and those who are actual experts - too often it ends up with people becoming entrenched in positions because people can't just work with others - either being a dick towards people with lesser knowledge or refusing to see the limits of their knowledge, etc.

I also find it amusing how highbrow some approach this and can't tell the difference between someone showing an interest in a subject and/or trying to learn more and/or get a discussion going and someone trying to big themselves up and make out they are an authority on a subject.
 
Caporegime
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In response to both quotes above - It was the general conversations from earlier on in the thread suggesting that actors should be conducting NSPs and opening weapons up to check their state, examine the ammo, etc... because it's something "18-year-old infantry soldiers with a reading age of 11 can do, yet you don't think highly paid movie actors should?".

That's not the same as saying the full responsibility is on the actor - nor is it a claim that their level of knowledge should be the same as that of the firearms expert.

I've been quite clear that I was referring to a basic check/NSP there, but also (especially given this is an old-style weapon) mentioned that they could surely ask the armourer as a check.

They seemingly didn't do that, they took the firearm from the AD apparently and just accepted his claim that it was "cold". Even just asking the armourer if they'd checked it (assuming the armourer was even there) could have prevented this.

But if you're going to allow them to start checking their own weapons, even in addition to an armourer doing it, that then does make the actor responsible too... which is another reason for having an armourer. Actors can watch, for their own peace of mind, but allowing them to start messing with it interferes with the safety the armourer has just established.

You seem to be ignoring several of the replies I've already made to you where I've referred to the fact they could ask the armourer in a case like this.

Yeah, I think three people have some blame here - the armourer the AD and Balwin... That's not the same as a claim that Balwin is fully responsible alone, far from it, the AD has been arguably more reckless and the armourer has been pretty negligent to leave the firearms unsupervised and to apparently allow the crew to fire live rounds off set with the same firearms.
 
Associate
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There are often (but not always, in the case of some historic weapons) prop weapons available that are either live weapons modified to only chamber blanks, or replica weapons that are only built to cycle blanks. In either case, a 'real' gun capable of discharging live ammo is not needed.

What would the reason be for having a live firing weapon on set acting as a prop? Would it be simply be the fact that a modified version couldn't be made?
 
Caporegime
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What would the reason be for having a live firing weapon on set acting as a prop? Would it be simply be the fact that a modified version couldn't be made?

As stated it's been explained. Because you're not a pain in the chuff though the answer is quite simple...visual effect.
 
Soldato
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That's not the same as saying the full responsibility is on the actor - nor is it a claim that their level of knowledge should be the same as that of the firearms expert.
But in some cases with certain weapons, as pointed out, they would need that level of expertise even just to properly conduct NSPs unsupervised... and if they are going to start doing that, then they subsequently bear as much responsibility (ie full) as the armourer.
Improper weapon safety has caused a death - There is either full responsibility, or none at all. It's not like those who failed in their duty are going to split the prison sentence equally, is it?

I've been quite clear that I was referring to a basic check/NSP there, but also (especially given this is an old-style weapon) mentioned that they could surely ask the armourer as a check.
But we're dealing with the actor checking for themselves, because the armourer isn't there... and if they are present, there's no need for the actor to conduct NSPs. Asking is about the only option available to them in such cases.
For the same reasons, we have qualified pyrotechnicians, electricians, etc , rather than trusting actors and random crew with checking things for themselves.

You seem to be ignoring several of the replies I've already made to you where I've referred to the fact they could ask the armourer in a case like this.
Because that point is not what I'm addressing. I'm specifically looking at the impracticalities of having to teach a bunch of film crew proper NSPs and safe operation of all this weaponry, when many only need to know the armourer has made things safe as it's something that doesn't really concern or even interest most of them in the first place.
It's a combination of a little knowledge, with muddying the waters of responsibility, and over-regulation resulting in a potentially more dangerous environment. It's a general H&S mentality, not just to do with firearms.

Yeah, I think three people have some blame here - the armourer the AD and Balwin... That's not the same as a claim that Balwin is fully responsible alone.
I would have said that all three bear full responsibility.

What would the reason be for having a live firing weapon on set acting as a prop? Would it be simply be the fact that a modified version couldn't be made?
Cheaper, as no mods needed and you wouldn't necessarily have to hire it from a specialist movie weapons house - A general prop house with a qualified armourer and a small supply of guns may be all that's needed... don't quote me on that part though.
Also, you may be restricted on the weapon type, as in no blank-only versions of the particular weapon you want exist/are available.
But then, you may have a sponsorship deal with, say, Walther or Beretta or Colt.... at which point you're now showcasing their latest models, for which there almost certainly won't be blank-only versions yet.
I understand a select few effects shots work best with live ammo, but that whole setup is usually handled with EXTREME caution, on closed sets with ridiculously high focus on safety.
 
Caporegime
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But in some cases with certain weapons, as pointed out, they would need that level of expertise even just to properly conduct NSPs unsupervised... and if they are going to start doing that, then they subsequently bear as much responsibility (ie full) as the armourer.

And I addressed that, a few times now and pointed it out again in the previous post too - that in such circumstances they could ask an armourer surely?

It's the basic principle here that it is silly to have a firearm in your possession and point it at someone if you don't actually know that it's safe.

Improper weapon safety has caused a death - There is either full responsibility, or none at all. It's not like those who failed in their duty are going to split the prison sentence equally, is it?

I'm not sure anyone is going to go to prison here - that's not a condition for there being more than one person at fault.

But we're dealing with the actor checking for themselves, because the armourer isn't there...

No, but that isn't what I said at all, I've certainly not advocated it being a substitute for the armourer being present. I would however suggest that having some basic familiarity with firearms is a good idea - a check can be "show me" (especially in a more obscure/historical firearm case) I mean even just asking the armourer could have saved a life here - point being they should know - good to trust, better to check.

Because that point is not what I'm addressing. I'm specifically looking at the impracticalities of having to teach a bunch of film crew proper NSPs and safe operation of all this weaponry, when many only need to know the armourer has made things safe as it's something that doesn't really concern or even interest most of them in the first place.
It's a combination of a little knowledge, with muddying the waters of responsibility, and over-regulation resulting in a potentially more dangerous environment. It's a general H&S mentality, not just to do with firearms.

And again was addressed re: these sorts of historic weapons; have the armourer check.

I would have said that all three bear full responsibility.

Well, I think this is getting muddled by semantics a bit - when you're referring to someone as bearing full responsibility I'd read that as blaming them not sharing the blame among three different people. If you feel all three have responsibility here then I agree. :)
 
Soldato
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Depending on the type of "Colt" revolver (still unknown) then the person handing him the firearm (the AD in this case) either opens the cylinder, which takes less than 1 second, or opens the side gate and rotates the cylinder (takes 2-3 seconds). At that point we can split two ways - if the weapon is "cold" then there should be no rounds viewable so, as there would have been Live round viewable, that would break the chain or - alternatively - upon opening the cylinder if there was supposed to be a blank fitted, the AD removes it (another 1-2 seconds) and shows Baldwin and either person could say "hang on, that's not a blank" and again the chain is broken.

Finally, if it was a very old "cap and ball" revolver i.e musket type, then you can look into the front of the cylinders to see if a "ball" is viewable (the bit which actually shoots out the end of the barrel in a Cap and Ball revolver) and if a ball is seen then the chain is broken once more.

All those actions should take around 10 seconds start to finish and thats how he could have been shown. If however the AD isn't able to do this then he shouldn't have been the person to be handing over firearms (production hiring problem) and instead the Armourer should have done this instead.



And now a person is dead.

If YOU are pulling the trigger on any firearm then YOU damn well check - how that check happens I would suggest could vary greatly depending on the actors prior experience levels but YOU always check, that is YOUR personal responsibility as someone about to pull the trigger near people irrespective of whether the gun is empty, loaded with blanks or loaded with live rounds. Now that's Centuries of "firearms" safety based off Millennia of "projectile" safety (bows and arrows etc) speaking, so this isn't some new thing just so we can blame the actor.

As the very last link in the chain Baldwin should have checked (his mistake) but instead he decided to trust someone else to do that check for him (again a mistake) and someone is now dead. There looks to be at least 3 people directly involved in the chain - Armourer, AD and Actor - who all share varying amounts of responsibility as, had any one of them checked before the trigger was pulled, then the accident wouldn't have happened. Just because Baldwin is an actor it doesn't absolve him of all blame in this, he was the very last person involved and his firearm was pointing at two people (his mistake) when it was fired (accidentally or not) directly leading to a death and injury.



The issue here is regardless of whether the trigger being pulled was accidental during the draw or intentional, someone is now dead because the gun was fired when it was pointing at them - it's that simple. The hard part in all this will be apportioning the correct amount of blame between those people involved. I don't think Baldwin will get much blame in the end (not enough to see a criminal case in court) but he will get some in whatever civil case happens afterwards.

And how is the average actor supposed to check? Look down the barrel?

That's why the have firearms and safety experts, who failed more than once from what they are saying.

Same way you don't have random office workers checking/testing electrical equipment.
 
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