Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

Man of Honour
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I read some where, I think it was here, about how you shake the bullets to see if they rattle to make sure they are blanks, have I made this up or is that really a thing?

Yes but also no :)

Blanks have gunpowder in them but no bullet on the end, so they wouldn't rattle. They're for when the scene calls for the gun to be fired and you want the right noise, maybe a muzzle flash if that would be appropriate. They do everything a real round does except for throwing out a bullet.

Dummies have a bullet on the end but no gunpowder in them and no primer to set off the main load. They're completely inert. But you can put little balls inside them so they'll rattle when shook as a audible "this one doesn't have any gunpowder in it" message. They're for when the scene calls for the rounds to be visible so they have to look right.
 
Caporegime
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Worth noting that in this particular case the dummies were also identifiable visually (at least by both the armourer and the AD as they had notches in them) so wouldn't have needed to be taken out of the gun even... sadly the armourer apparently only showed the AD three of them and didn't rotate/spin the drum.
 
Soldato
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Just sloppy safety from everyone involved. I'm more interested in where the "live" bullet came from as that's a huuuuuuge safety fail for a film set with no need for any "live" bullets.

The court cases for this event will be very revealing into the corporate culture on this film set.
 
Man of Honour
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Just sloppy safety from everyone involved. I'm more interested in where the "live" bullet came from as that's a huuuuuuge safety fail for a film set with no need for any "live" bullets. [..]

I'm interested in that too, although it's probably more sloppy safety from everyone involved. Probably someone using the film guns for recreational target shooting with live rounds they brought in themselves and not properly unloading the gun afterwards. Probably.

[..] I think there's another issue as well. It's obvious that appropriate safety procedures were not followed since nobody checked the gun well enough to find the live round in it. The presence of the live round in the gun should have been detected by at least one of the people who should have checked the gun. But I think there's a relevant question from earlier in the chain of events - why was the live round in the gun in the first place? Someone put it there. Who? Why? The failure of safety procedures failed to detect a situation that shouldn't have existed in the first place.

[..] The court cases for this event will be very revealing into the corporate culture on this film set.

Disregard for safety is unfortunately common in business. Common enough for a whole chain of safety failures to exist and result in death. I watch a channel on Youtube called "Plainly Difficult" that does short documentaries explaining how various incidents happened. In many cases the cause was a chain of issues that could have been stopped at any point in the chain but wasn't because safety procedures didn't exist or weren't followed because they cost money, slowed production and/or were inconvenient. Sometimes part of the problem is operator error, but even then a corporate culture of downplaying safety is part of the problem because in a properly safe environment operator error shouldn't be enough to make it unsafe. For example, in the radiation incident covered by the video I watched on that channel yesterday an operator was able to circumvent a safety lock by cycling the power rapidly several times and that allowed them to walk into a room with a very live radiation source in it. Which they did because a jam on a conveyor belt had stopped production and corporate culture placed a higher priority on production than on safety. The alarm panel showed conflicting information because some of the sensors were inadequate because inadequate ones were cheaper than adequate ones. The jam occured because installing a known modification that would prevent the jams would cost some money and stop production for a little while.
 
Soldato
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I don't know if it's possible to make a claim on the safety checking being insufficient.

On a film set you're checking for blanks, dummy rounds or the gun being empty right? Anyone bringing a real round onto the set is risking or deliberately contaminating the theatrical rounds with a lethal one.

Say it's got a load of dummy rounds for appearances. Is it normal practice on a film set to be looking for real rounds among dummy rounds which are supposed to look the same.

It's not like an electrician wiring up mains voltage. Wires being live or not is expected to be one of the options to check for.

A live round being on a film set isn't supposed to be one of the options in the first place.
 
Soldato
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I'm interested in that too, although it's probably more sloppy safety from everyone involved. Probably someone using the film guns for recreational target shooting with live rounds they brought in themselves and not properly unloading the gun afterwards. Probably.

I know that seems to be the story being reported so far, but I can't imagine a competent armourer just letting people borrow the gun for Live firing or "target practice" etc so, if that turns out to be the case, I wonder if the armourer was involved in this target practice stuff rather than the gun being taken without her knowledge?
 
Caporegime
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My old H&S officer used to say there are barely any True accidents. Yes acts of gods are like lightning hitting a tree next to the road and it falling on your car but basically if you analyse an accident it’s always down to a person or procedure or a chain of events.

years ago I was involved in a serious “accident” at my workplace where we were contracted to clean out solid residues in caustic tanks using full ba chem suits and high pressure water jets. A pile of these solids collapse and trapped the worker and split his suit and the right hand side of his body was eaten away. He lived fortunately but needed many many skin graphs, his right arm and leg will always be weak and can never sunbathe again and needed years of physiotherapist as he was conscious all the time he was trapped and his body was been eaten away.

HSE investigation blamed all parties involved to a degree.

the client because although this was a job we did every year, they had swapped to a cheaper imported product which left more solids behind so instead of it being 3-4 Foot deep when we cleaned it, it was 12 foot deep and above head height so always a danger of collapse. Client should have got the tanks cleaned every 6 months max when buying the cheaper product. Problem is that its massively expensive to clean and shuts down the storage tanks while cleaning takes place.

Us because we should have never done the job the old way once we knew the solids were that high and come up with a different way of doing it.

Us again because although we had a watchman watching the guy working in the tank, there was a really hard section of solids which took longer to break down with the water jets so to keep the quantity coming out of the tank for the next wagon, each guy would spend a bit of time on the hard column and then break up lots of the soft stuff which meant he was working out of sight behind the column so the accident wasn’t seen by the watchman until he missed his radio call. The person working should never be out of sight of the watchman. The job should have been stopped once he was.

client again as when the alarm was raised their rescue team wasn’t prepared and took 20 mins to attend. No good when a man is lying in caustic soda eating him away.

so there were lots of times when a different decision would have stopped this accident occurring or minimising the consequences
 
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Man of Honour
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My old H&S officer used to say there are barely any True accidents.

I would agree - most people are incredibly complacent when it comes to health and safety and only weigh the chance of something happening without weighting for the severity if it does happen. So many people will just do the minimum quick fix to get a problem out of their hands without a care for whether it creates a larger problem later.

Pretty much every accident I've had to write up at work was perfectly avoidable.
 
Caporegime
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Say it's got a load of dummy rounds for appearances. Is it normal practice on a film set to be looking for real rounds among dummy rounds which are supposed to look the same.
wouldn't you anyway when it's your job and your responsibility ?

negligence surely. the person isn't there just to hand out blanks and guns
 
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Soldato
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wouldn't you anyway

You tell me if you know hard facts of prop gun use because I don't.

But you can consider what you'd do if you bought a gun for prop use, bought a box of dummy rounds and were roleplaying or using it for theatrical use.

Do you think you would check every single day to see if your dummy rounds had changed into live rounds. Would you check even once.
 
Caporegime
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You tell me if you know hard facts of prop gun use because I don't.

But you can consider what you'd do if you bought a gun for prop use, bought a box of dummy rounds and were roleplaying or using it for theatrical use.

Do you think you would check every single day to see if your dummy rounds had changed into live rounds. Would you check even once.
if someone else had access to them then sure...

if it were me I'd have all the blanks in a lockbox that never leaves my sight and any unused rounds that left that box arent going back in it.
only rounds that come directly from that box are going in the guns

I thought her job was to keep people on set safe? so surely you'd be checking when it's your career on the line
 
Soldato
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You tell me if you know hard facts of prop gun use because I don't.

But you can consider what you'd do if you bought a gun for prop use, bought a box of dummy rounds and were roleplaying or using it for theatrical use.

Do you think you would check every single day to see if your dummy rounds had changed into live rounds. Would you check even once.
Yes. Yes they should be checking daily.

Earlier in the thread someone posted a video from an armourer who said that they will load the gun in front of a (or multiple) witness/witnesses and check every bullet as they load gun.
 
Soldato
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Sounds like someone's never had a job or any responsibility in a safety-critical industry. Secondary verification and other controls are very common practice.
 
Soldato
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Yes. Yes they should be checking daily.

Earlier in the thread someone posted a video from an armourer who said that they will load the gun in front of a (or multiple) witness/witnesses and check every bullet as they load gun.

Who is "they", you're misquoting me. It was a scenario I invented for arknor to personally question the logic of it being normal practice to be looking through dummy rounds (which are not blanks) for live rounds (which are what dummy rounds imitate) that should never be anywhere near the set.

The gun was called out as "cold" which leaves the options of "empty" or "dummy rounds".

Clearly it wasn't empty. So it was called "cold" as checked for no blanks (which have some danger to them) and contained a load of dummy rounds (which have zero).

The question is why is a live round hiding in the dummy rounds which look the same and would normal procedure actually detect a live round among dummy rounds.
 
Soldato
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Who is "they", you're misquoting me. .
"They" are the people responsible for the safety and handling of the gun.

It was a scenario I invented for arknor to personally question the logic of it being normal practice to be looking through dummy rounds (which are not blanks) for live rounds (which are what dummy rounds imitate) that should never be anywhere near the set.
.

I believe live rounds are used on film sets for certain scenes, which is why they may have them on set.

Also depending on the armourer in question they may be on the road for a number of days so they could be going to another film set or some other gig where live rounds are needed. So they bring it along with them.

Edit: It seems you are right here after rewatching the video.

The gun was called out as "cold" which leaves the options of "empty" or "dummy rounds".

Clearly it wasn't empty. So it was called "cold" as checked for no blanks (which have some danger to them) and contained a load of dummy rounds (which have zero).

From what I remember/information that has been released the person who shouted cold gun, did not check the gun. They simply picked up a gun on the armourers table handed it over and called out "cold gun".


Who is "they", you're misquoting me. It was a scenario I invented for arknor to personally question the logic of it being normal practice to be looking through dummy rounds (which are not blanks) for live rounds (which are what dummy rounds imitate) that should never be anywhere near the set.


The question is why is a live round hiding in the dummy rounds which look the same and would normal procedure actually detect a live round among dummy rounds.

Yes normal procedures would detect a live round amongst dummy rounds. Referencing the video i mentioned earlier, they shake the dummy rounds and they make a distinct sound that indicates they are filled with BBs/pellets. They do this test prior to loading the dummy round into the gun, and they do this for every round they load, ideally with a witness present.

Here is the video incase you haven't seen it

 
Soldato
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Who is "they", you're misquoting me. It was a scenario I invented for arknor to personally question the logic of it being normal practice to be looking through dummy rounds (which are not blanks) for live rounds (which are what dummy rounds imitate) that should never be anywhere near the set.

The gun was called out as "cold" which leaves the options of "empty" or "dummy rounds".

Clearly it wasn't empty. So it was called "cold" as checked for no blanks (which have some danger to them) and contained a load of dummy rounds (which have zero).

The question is why is a live round hiding in the dummy rounds which look the same and would normal procedure actually detect a live round among dummy rounds.
Personally if I was in charge of firearm safety then I would be loading the gun myself the first time I took control of it after any period away from my direct supervision, and would unload it myself before storing it securely, and storing the rounds securely separately.

I don't think those are disproportionate steps to take when aside from any risk of 'sabotage', there's simply a risk that you'll get round mixed up if you store a gun for a while and can't quite remember what you had in it when you stored it away, unloading will give you a chance to check for any damage to the gun, dirt that's got places it shouldn't etc.

If there isn't a good way of telling the difference between a dummy round and a live round (which there was, given you can shake them to hear a bb rattling round) that I could positively check them I'd be even more cautious, and personally would think that the dummy rounds were not fit for purpose.

How the live rounds got into the supposed dummy rounds is a key problem, but especially somewhere like the US where guns are used casually and basically everyone might have access to live ammunition, and the guns in question have used live ammunition in the past (even if apparently the stories about plinking cans in the desert are made up...), it's definitely something I think I would be considering if I were an armourer doing a risk assessment (not that I am, but then I don't think anyone in this thread is).
 
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Soldato
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"They" are the people responsible for the safety and handling of the gun.

I believe live rounds are used on film sets for certain scenes, which is why they may have them on set.

Also depending on the armourer in question they may be on the road for a number of days so they could be going to another film set or some other gig where live rounds are needed. So they bring it along with them.

Edit: It seems you are right here after rewatching the video.

From what I remember/information that has been released the person who shouted cold gun, did not check the gun. They simply picked up a gun on the armourers table handed it over and called out "cold gun".

Yes normal procedures would detect a live round amongst dummy rounds. Referencing the video i mentioned earlier, they shake the dummy rounds and they make a distinct sound that indicates they are filled with BBs/pellets. They do this test prior to loading the dummy round into the gun, and they do this for every round they load, ideally with a witness present.

Here is the video incase you haven't seen it


No I haven't seen it.

If those are hard rules and dummy rounds are always rigged to rattle then it sounds clear that specific people failed. The matter of where the live round came from is something else which might never get pinned on anyone.
 
Man of Honour
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I don't know if it's possible to make a claim on the safety checking being insufficient.

On a film set you're checking for blanks, dummy rounds or the gun being empty right? Anyone bringing a real round onto the set is risking or deliberately contaminating the theatrical rounds with a lethal one.

Say it's got a load of dummy rounds for appearances. Is it normal practice on a film set to be looking for real rounds among dummy rounds which are supposed to look the same.

It's not like an electrician wiring up mains voltage. Wires being live or not is expected to be one of the options to check for.

A live round being on a film set isn't supposed to be one of the options in the first place.

My counter-argument is that when death is a possible outcome safety precautions should not be limited to checking only for expected situations. There should also be checking for reasonably possible situations and in a country where real rounds are all over the place the existence of a real round is a reasonably possible situation.

If it is genuinely impossible to tell the difference between a real round and a dummy then that is itself an extremely serious safety issue and should be addressed by equally serious safety precautions. Either by making dummies unequivocally identifiable or by extremely strict seperation of rounds. Ideally both.

If I was in charge, the rules would be as follows:

1) The guns are in my personal possession except when I have handed one to an actor for a scene. When filming finishes for that scene, they hand it back to me. Immediately. Directly to me, in my hand. Whenever they are not on camera, I have the gun.
2) The ammunition is in my personal possession except when it's in a gun I have handed to an actor.
3) I load the guns. Me personally. And only me. Using ammunition that has never been out of my possession. Ammunition that I know to be dummy, blank or real (if real rounds were ever used on set).
4) If any box of ammunition is ever out of my possession and I can't check each round individually and unequivocally identify what type of round it is, it is disposed of. If I don't know, absolutely know, what type of round it is then it's not used.

If any of those 4 things can't be followed, I'm not in charge and I'm not responsible for safety and as far as I'm concerned the situation is unsafe.
 
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