Saturday, October 23, 2021

Epiphany: No, Not Even If You've Got A Hat












Mostly, we blog for entertainment (overwhelmingly our own; but most of you are twisted enough to share a similar outlook on life to our own, so it works out well for all of us), but occasionally, we blog to clarify our thoughts, and sometimes, learning occurs all around.

Today is that day for us.

As the Baldwin kerfluffle has illustrated, the shared malfunction by a host of persons reading and commenting hereabouts, and throughout the greater blogosphere, on this exact subject, is best described as thinking everything is YOUR job.

Well, you're wrong, it's not, and now we can all go back to whatever we were doing befo....Oh? What's that? Explain it to you?...heavy sigh

Look, we've already covered first aid for any butthurt, so let's talk turkey here, no offense, nothing personal, and we're all grown ups.

You, Jasper, and Billy Bob all going shooting at the abandoned quarry is not Alec Baldwin working on a movie set, not even when it's his production, on a low-budget p.o.s. being filmed in Bumfuck NM.

The lack of a prodigious number of otherwise intelligent people to discern this lies at the root of your problem.

When you, and Jasper, and BillyBob pile in the truck for a day of plinking green army men and blowing up punkins and watermelons, who's your boss? Nobody. Who's The boss? Nobody. thus, rightfully and common-sensically, you are your own boss. It's your job, on the day, to make sure your equipment is safe, and that you are safe, observe the Four Rules, and not impinge on anyone else's day by putting extra holes in them than what they brought with them from home. Fair enough?

But even in that circumstance, it's still not your job to be the range master, OSHA inspector, armorer, and eleventy other things. You do not get to stack Jasper and BillyBob up at Inspection Arms, and detail-inspect their weapons for cleanliness and function. You do not get to pull Jasper's ammo out, pull the bullets, weigh the powder charge, take out a caliper, and look it up in your Hornady/RCBS/Hodgdon/etc. powder and load manual to ascertain that it meets SAAMI specs. You do not get to run a set of Go/No-Go gauges on everyone else's weaponry, nor may they do same to you. And if you think otherwise, you're likely to go home with a bendier nose than you brung to the picnic.

If Jasper or BillyBob get a mite lax with muzzle discipline, or putting their booger hook on the bang switch, you may elect to call it an early day, or not invite them next time. But no one died and left you their Drill Sergeant smokey bear hat and gave you leave to have a boot camp flashback, and most people figure all this out without having it explained to them with a boot to the junkulus.

But somehow, you can't make the leap from that, to understanding why in hell it's not ever Baldwin's (or any other Swinging Richard's) job to do weapons checks on a movie set, with 40-140 people around.

Lemme help you out on that, just a smidge, and we can see if it sticks between your ears.

Most of you, presumably, have a job. Or had, at some point. Unless you were a one-man band, your job was what you were supposed to do. More to the point, hired and paid by somebody above you to do.

So when you're doing your job, how would your boss feel if you wandered into his office to supervise him? Then inspected the lunch line, to make sure the hot food was over 140°, and the cold food was all under 40°? Then headed up to HR to make sure they were fully in compliance with all county, state, and federal EEOC hiring practices? Then went over to the accounting department, to check their math on a few random accounts? Then explained to the legal department how what they were up to might be ethically "grey"? Tell the class, would you please, exactly how long you would continue in your employ, and if not, discuss with appropriate graphs and figures the apogee of the arc your ass would take as it flew from the front door to the curb, off the end of your boss's boot toe.

See if you can catch the subtle drift of what's being expressed, and let us know when the penny drops for you.

I said that, because for most people, a movie set makes about as much sense as watching elves make Santa's toys. They've never been to one, and all they know is there might be someone famous around, and they can smell the magical fairy dust in the air. I know this, because I've only seen that exact phenomenon about 2000 times (not exaggerating a bit there, btw).

Until they spend some time there.

Then, the comments start:

"You guys sit around and do nothing a lot."

"WTF are those people doing?"

"What's happening?"

"They pay you for this?"

"This is boring as f**k!"

"How the hell do you stay awake all day?"

"How long is your day?"

"WHAT? Sixteen hours?!? More??!!??"

"I'd rather kill myself than ever do this for a living!"

And then, after having hung around on set for maybe a hour or two, they never, ever, ever come back. Nor ever want to. Friends, family members, even people I've slept with, refuse to ever visit a second time, because they can't entertain themselves for twenty minutes, and once they find out the entertainment business is even less entertaining than they are to themselves, you'd need a gun and a whip just to get them to come by for the free lunch.

When they find out that if you're really lucky, you're shooting 5 pages of script/5 minutes of picture in a 14+ hour day (a little more for TV, a little less for movies, and a LOT less for commercials) they shit their pants, and run screaming for the exits.

Look, it's like this: a one hour TV show is maybe 48 minutes long, without commercials and credits. You've typically got 6 days to get it "in the can" (although now it's all loaded onto digital media, not film), and on the day after that, you're doing the next episode. So 8 minutes a day, less than 30 seconds of your favorite show per hour of work, if you're flying like lightning. Hence the industry saying "shooting Gone With The Wind" in the morning, and Dukes Of Hazzard in the afternoon". When you have that (rare)TV director who's done his homework, and knows WTH he's doing, or the star has immeasurable pull (say, Dick Van Dyke on Diagnosis: Murder - for reals) the day is run like clockwork, and you get everything done in 12 hours, and/or the star has a 5PM tee time, and at 5:01 can be seen leaving in his limo to get in 9 holes before bed, and if the director wasn't done with him, guess who doesn't care?

One a feature film, even worse. That's going to be between 80 and 200 minutes, with one page of dialog in script format being about 1 minute of screen time. In a schedule that runs between about 30 and 90 shooting days. Figure maybe three pages a day, for a 12+ hour day. You're getting maybe 15 seconds of usable movie per hour. That may mean two hours of nothing while you set up, and then shoot like hell for half an hour, then do it all over again the opposite direction, lather, rinse, repeat. Some days, you may get no pages for an entire day, because something like "Then Robert Deniro, Val Kilmer, and Tom Sizemore come out of the bank, Al Pacino sees them, and the big shootout begins" takes less than 1/8th of a page, but takes three full days to shoot, dawn to dusk. We'll get back to that presently.

Commercials? Fuggedaboudit. 5 days for a 30 second spot? Six seconds for a whole 14-hour day's work?!? Holee F*******ck! You're killin' me, Smalls!

Now, I told you that to tell you this:

Option I:

You're Michael Mann. You've got a 150-person crew on union rates. You've got 200 extras. Including 50 cop extras with working firearms props. Some of them are stuntmen. You've got seven cameras with full crews, and a 20-man special effects and pyrotechnician crew. You're going to be blowing out building windows, car windows, blowing out tires on police cars, you've got stunt drivers, 20 guys from LAPD on double holiday overtime to lock up traffic from four main streets, in downtown, on a weekend, and the sun is moving across the sky at 15° an hour no matter what you do. And no matter what, you're literally setting $500K/day on fire, whether you get the scene or not, before you think about location rentals, caterers, parking, and 300 other things. And suddenly, your ten lead actors all decide they're going to double-double check their weapons, because some Good Idea Fairies on the internet thought that was a cunning plan. Three of your guys, with no expertise, after the weapons were loaded and prepped by a team of the top weapons experts in Hollywood, which is to say, in the world, had them ready to rock, but your hamfisted actors managed to short-stroke a couple, and they jam; one guys' doesn't fire at all, because he can't get it back into battery. And by the time you've got your 200-piece orchestra all ready to try Take 2, you've just burned through an hour, plus 10% of your weapons budget for ammunition, glass, tires, and other special effects. And the Good Idea Fairy has become the Fuck-Up Fairy, and it's sitting on your face, and shitting right in your mouth. And this time, half the extras who're cops decide they should check THEIR weapons too. Now you're up to Take 3, and you're seriously wondering if it wouldn't be cheaper to hire retards for the extras, and just hand out live rounds to the principal actors, and get the whole scene in one take. By Take 4, you're spinning a revolver with 5 loaded bullets, and one empty cylinder, and you're ready to squeeze the trigger.

OR

Option II:

You're still Michael Mann. You decide to let the prop guys get props, the weapons handlers get the weapons ready, you let the wardrobe guys get everybody's costumes right, you let the makeup people do makeup, the special effects guys do special effects, the lighting guys do lighting, the camera guys run the cameras, the real cops block traffic, the sound guy rolls the sound, and you let the actors, who're costing you several million dollars, and who have multiple Academy Awards and nominations to their credit in their chosen craft, just show up and ACT.

EXACTY LIKE YOU FUCKING PAID FOR THEM ALL TO DO, EVERY M*****F*****G DAY SINCE THE SHOW STARTED, AND JUST LIKE EVERY DAY YOU'VE WORKED IN THIS INDUSTRY FOR TWENTY YEARS, BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOUR JOB, AND SO DOES EVERY MEMBER OF YOU CREW, DOWN TO THE GUY WHO PUTS OUT THE CONES FOR PARKING, WHICH IS WHY YOU BLOODY WELL HIRED THEM IN THE FIRST F*****G PLACE.

Quite the poser there, i'n'it?








That, boys and girls, is why it's not the actor's fucking job to be checking the weaponry before each and every take, because they're not competent at it, they could fuck up a crowbar in a sandpile all by themselves, and because as a general rule you're paying a whole bunch of people with specific expertise to do their jobs, so that the actors can, you know, ACT. I.E. do their jobs.

Which job includes pointing guns at people and pulling the trigger, on purpose including rehearsing same, using weapons that a competent and experienced armorer would have assured and doubly confirmed held no live rounds ever, which his assistant director mistakenly assured him was empty, and which shouldn't have even had blanks in it for a rehearsal.

But this low-budget clowncarnucopia of Fail had no such trained and competent armorer, but rather a stunning and brave ditz too stupid to know what she didn't know, and she got someone killed through her gross and reckless negligence. and hiring her is going to be what bites Baldwin-producer in the ass, long after Baldwin-actor walks on any charges, because it wasn't his fault nor responsibility to do the weapons handler's job for her. His job was to do his job, i.e. acting. Period.

Just like your boss hired you to do, which is why even on the bloody Titanic, if they hired you to tap dance or sling champagne for the first class passengers, you don't get a wild hair up your ass, race up the lookout tower like a monkey on crack, and "help" the lookout watch for icebergs, nor wander onto the bridge to give helpful suggestions to the captain of the ship.

Because, Gentle Reader, that's not your fucking job.



But don't take my word for it. Next time you're flying cross-country, wander up to the flight deck, and give the captain and first officer some tips on flying the plane, even better if it's based on your extensive experience with MS FlightSim2020, and report back on the experiment.

This is why it's never going to be Alec Baldwin's (nor any other actor's) job, responsibility, or moral duty to check firearms on set, never has been, never will be, not even if you hate them, not even if you're happy they killed someone, not even if you hold your breath until you turn blue, and tie yourself to a flagpole. Never, never, never never, never, ever. 


Thus endeth the lesson.



BONUS Crotch kick, for the slow learners, from Proof Positive with his caption:

This is the gun that Alec Baldwin fired that killed one person
and injured another. Just by looking at it,  could YOU tell
if it was loaded or not? And if the rounds loaded were blanks?


















Kudos on that one sir. Nailed it.

And I loved the braintrust observation on yet another blog, that cleverly revealed that "he used a single action" so this had to be deliberate malice.
Because imagine! Someone using a single-action revolver on a western!
Whodathunkit?
(I won't link to that blog/comment out of pity for retards.)

52 comments:

Hey Booms said...

If said asshat actor is given an item that acts like a gun, looks like a gun and can potentially do harm like a gun, said asshat should be trained enough, it's not like this moron hasn't made other movies with guns, to make the final cursory check, long term safety or not.

Charley Waite said...

Why do you bother dude? You have given now three crystal clear explanations of your point but somebody is still going to respond “yeah, but….”
My favorite is “I’ve never worked on a movie set before but….” And then they give their completely irrelevant POV to the reality patiently laid out.

God bless you for trying and trying though.

chris russell said...

I am a special effects person in the industry. You are exactly correct. The fault lies with the armorer not the actor. First rule is the armorer never loses custody of the weapon until he/she gives it to the actor and rule 2 NEVER have live bulletts on set. There is never a reason to have live bullets anywhere near a shooting location.Firearms are so serious that they were taken away from special effects and given to the armorer.

idahohunter said...

Kind of entertaining that with all the commenters around here having all the answers to everything, this has to be explained twice.
IdahoHunter

idahohunter said...

Now I'm really confused. Looking at the gun it appears to be an un converted black powder firearm, hence the nipples on the rear of the cylinder. How the hell could one be confused about what it was loaded with? And yes just by looking at it I could tell if it was loaded and weather or not there was a ball on top of the charge.

IdahoHunter

Aesop said...

Right, By pointing it at your face. Unless the loaded chamber was the one in line with the barrel.

And FTR, it had to be explained four times.

5stonegames said...

No one could tell of that weapon was loaded on a quick glance unless they were familiar with cap and ball weapons and probably cartridge conversions as well and even that would take a few seconds.

Only a tiny handful of actors would bother and its considered impolite and anti social to not trust people so it rarely happens.

I could do that and in theory would want to but I doubt I would if I were the actor , making movies is chaotic and busy at best.

a posse ad esse said...

Exactly Right. If your job is to handle weapons, then you should have to know how to do it safely. As for actors not performing cursory checks because it's not their job, I'd wager cold hard cash that when the scene calls for them putting the gun to their OWN damned head and pulling the trigger they are much more interested in overseeing the person loading the weapon, if not actually performing the check themselves. If I'm right about that, then that is how you would know that all the excuses about practicality and expense are just that... Excuses.

Aesop said...

@Booms,

And you're fully in support of mandatory training class for all actors before they can handle a handgun, just like your state requires for you?
Including for muzzle-loading cap-and-ball revolvers?

Gun guy: Hollywood actor shoots one guy, let's mandate training before they can use them on set.
Hollywood: Gun accidents outside of Hollywood killed 458 people just last year, IOW 564,866% more deaths than Hollywood has had killed in 40 years, so you should have to pass a class to buy a handgun.
Gun guy: But muh Second Amendment!!!!!

Good luck getting your idea past GOA, or whatever's left of the NRA.
Odds on, they'd shoot you at the door for even mentioning it.

Mike Austin said...

It seems you have upset Divemedic:

https://areaocho.com/this-guy-has-the-hat-and-the-shirt/

I upset him a few months ago about China. He does not take criticism very well.

All the necessary elements to understand the Baldwin issue you have written about because you have first hand knowledge of the issues. Who else can claim this?

Chris Mallory said...

Baldwin's might have been a replica, but that particular firearm was owned by the Czar of Russia and is on display at the Met in NYC.

If Baldwin was using a Colt 3rd Dragoon, the question becomes "Was it loaded with loose powder, a ball and percussion cap, or was it converted to fire metallic cartridges?

A loose load of BP pushing a 141gr round ball will show a muzzle velocity of 850-1200 fps depending on the powder.
A BP revolver can fire, if it has the black powder charge, without a percussion cap if the hammer is dropped on a nipple that has a remnant of the priming compound from the percussion cap on the nipple. Doesn't happen often, but it can happen.
If it was a cap and ball revolver, maybe the revolver was set to fire blanks with a powder load and a wad or a wax bullet and the armorer used a full charge instead of a reduced charge?
Here is a video of a guy shooting wax bullets out of a .44 cap and ball revolver. It penetrated a paint can with no problem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN2cDLHkUb4

Really until more facts are released all the conclusions reached by the interweb aren't worth the paper they are printed on. Right now we just don't know. But it seems many are using this to try and score political points, blood dancing just as much as the anti gunners do after a mass shooting.

Sven said...

Thanks for the crash course on what happens during filming. I was always curious. This is why I come to these blogs, for entertainment and for education.

Aesop said...

@Posse,
Circular reasoning.

If somebody has already rendered the weapon safe, another redundant check is pointless, and anything you do with the weapon is inherently safe afterwards. Even pointing it at your own head.

And the prop bimbo in this incident is still guilty of negligent manslaughter.
All you've changed is the victim, not the body count.

Point it at the designated weapons handler, however, and you kill two birds with one stone.

Under Roman law, masons were required to stand under any arch they constructed, as a proof test.

I'm fine with pulling the trigger on prop weapons handed to actors by pointing them at the prop or weapons person, under the same legal theory.

RandyGC said...

I'm still at wondering WTF ANY live ammo was doing on the set.

I could almost see how this could happen if the file was set in the present and had on/off duty cops as security: Security was so stupid as to be bringing extra ammo to the set or pulling a round from his duty mag to show someone on the set and setting it down somewhere to be picked up (or even dumber, seeing if it will fit the prop gun).

Or one of the extras was a local with a CCW permit (this being NM) and had their carry piece and ammo with them....

A chain of stupidity and incompetence, but, as we saw here, that is not out of the realm of possibility.


But on a western? Last I looked old west hand guns didn't come chambered in 9MM/.40S&W/.357 SIG/.45ACP or any of the other standard modern LE/Armed Security/Personal Defense ammo.

Caveat: I do not know how "prop" guns are modified for use on sets. What cartridges are used as blanks, etc. Willing to be educated.

Aesop said...

@Mike,
I covered anyone's butthurt in the first post.
And the second.
Anyone who still gets chapped after that, wants and likes being butthurt.
Which is, evidently, its own reward.
I'm not a masochist, so I defer to the subject matter experts on that topic.

@Chris,
Whatever was used punched through one person fatally, with enough residual energy to wound the second victim. Not likely a squib load, nor wax bullet.
Most likely full house.

The observation on the blood dancing are spot-on.

JimR said...

don't give a toss who's job it was. He pointed it in an unsafe direction, and pulled the trigger

Twice...

doofus or not, it's his fault.

idahohunter said...

No, by running my finger over front of the cylinder. But with no percussion caps pretty safe any way, and you can easily observe the cylinder without pointing the barrel at your face. Still not fuckwads fault.

Steve the Boomer said...

I have no opinion on whether he is or should be legally responsible. Morally he IS responsible. He's going to have to live with the fact that he killed someone. And someday, he will be called to account, having to explain to his Creator why he was too lazy/stupid/indifferent to bother with something as simple as familiarity with a firearm.

If an actor went up to the props manager and said something like, "I trust you to do your job. For my own peace of mind, I want to know how to tell when this thing is safe" do you really think anyone will be offended? That anyone will be mad that he is concerned about safety?

Aesop said...

@Steve the B,
Not at all!
That would be the absolute correct way to go about it, and will earn you the undying respect of a prop master when you consult them as the professional they are.

Doing it the way most folks here would suggest would be like the prop master going over to the actor and giving them notes on their performance, or telling a shop keeper all the ways he's doing it wrong.

Which approach deserves a kick in the dick in any man's place of business.

@Jim R,
No. He fired one shot, and it punctured two people, the first one fatally.
It's his job to point weapons in unsafe directions, and pull the trigger.
Maybe you've seen a movie, once...somewhere...??
John Wayne? Humphrey Bogart? Sean Connery? Michael Caine? Harrison Ford? Keanu Reeves? Anybody? Beuller? Beuller?

Bibliotheca Servare said...

And actors put guns to their heads and pull the trigger...all without even peeking... just in case?

Jesus, that's a mindset I cannot grasp. I don't give a damn who I piss off or *what* I delay, I'm not dying because I squeezed the trigger on a gun without checking, because I trusted the experts to do their job properly, and they didn't.

I can't ensure that a plane won't fall out of the sky while I'm in it, but I can damn sure check a chamber. Blanks... blanks are scary because you *have* to trust that it's a blank round. But then you don't point a gun loaded with blanks at yourself.

Not disagreeing with you, just...mind-boggled... inasmuch as that's a word/expression.

Aesop said...

@Randy,
Live ammo in a cap-and-ball revolver?
No wild idea, other than utter negligence.
Maybe we'll hear her explanation at the trial.
Better than even odds she takes a plea, and tries to take a dive to get off with some leniency.
But with national attention, and the victim's family situation, I suspect she's going to get the book thrown at her.

Chris Mallory said...

Watch the video. A wax bullet on top of a full load of BP penetrated a sheet of 1/2" MDF and a paint can with the paint can wax bullet mushrooming without losing much mass.

But like I said, until they confirm what the revolver was loaded with, it is all just speculation and educated guesses.
Even if it was a loose powder loaded cap and ball revolver, common practice is to seal the mouths of the chambers with grease (I used to use Crisco) to prevent a chain fire. So unless you dug into the grease, there would be no way to know if it had a lead projectile or not.

Chris Mallory said...

Usually for blank use, they just use a regular firearm. In the past 9mm blanks worked better than .45 ACP blanks in semi autos. In The Wild Bunch, set in 191X, they used 1911's for non firing shots and Star Model B's for shots where the pistol was fired, since the Star was chambered in 9mm. Also you will have non firing replicas, often times made of cast rubber, usually for background characters or action shots where the firearm is dropped. There is also a "non gun" replica. Where the non firing replicas will mimic a particular weapon, the "non gun" is usually a generic firearm that provides a shape of a firearm and not much else.

Check out Imfdb.org for a database of movies and the firearms used in them. If you like movies and are a gun guy, you can spend hours pointing and clicking.

a posse ad esse said...

I didn't suggest that the actor make a fuss about checking the gun or somehow accuse the armorer of incompetence, just that if they choose to take a role requiring guns that they have the decency to respect the thing enough to learn how to check it and to bother doing so if the scene requires that you aim it at someone when you pull the trigger (rather than, say, at some "dummy target", for lack of a better phrase, near the person that can be disguised by the camerawork and editing). I can't see how an armorer worth his salt would be all butt hurt about someone taking the time to do that given the gravity of the potential consequences.
Keanu reeves is a good example of the type I am talking about. That he learned how to handle the guns he was using in John wick is admirable and shows respect for his craft and the weapon. They aren't mutually exclusive.

BigCountryExpat said...

@Aesop: Duuuuuuuuude... Now, IF and only IF that IS the Weapon In Question (for brevity we'll call it the WIQ... well now...

Holy Shit. LOTS of issues. HUGE amount of flaming OMFG issues.

OK... Cap and Ball weapons... LOTS of work to make them loaded with 'live rounds'.. Had me a repro Colt 1864 Dragoon .44 back when I was a kid, when age didn't matter vis-a-vis (leastways New Hampshire) for Blackpowder and Handguns (nominally a handgun you hadda be 21... jes' sayin' Blackpowder was a 'gray area') Anywho...

To Load a LIVE ROUND in the WIQ means it was intentional. One does NOT load a .44 caliber bb into a Blackpowder weapon EVVAR

So, unless it was a re-worked 1865+ weapon that fired 'cartridged' ammo, yeah....... I'ma leaning towards "intentional"...

Fact is, to load a live round into a black powder pistola takes effort. In sequence:
Unloaded weapon:
1) Pour premeasured powder charge into cylinder. HAS to be pre- measured lest you turn it into "Hand-gre-nuke" by accident.
Literally: "Pour a measured charge into the chamber. Carefully pour a properly measured charge of black powder into the chamber closest to the loading cutout. Repeat for each chamber.
Use an individual powder measure. Do not pour powder from a large powder flask or can.
The exact amount of powder will vary depending on the type of gun.
For a .36, use 12 grains of powder. Never exceed 20 grains.
For a .44, use 20 to 28 grains of powder. Never exceed 35 to 40 grains."

2) Rotate NOW FILLED cylinder to the 'beebee loading point'. Meaning that area where, by the photo shown of the WIQ, is at the absolute six-o'clock of the 'firing chamber' i.e. twelve o'clock zone. That lever UNDER the barrel? That's the Loading area where
Place the ball over a chamber opening. Set a proper size ball or bullet over the opening of the chamber nearest the loading cutout.[13]
The ball should be oversized so that it only rests on top and does not enter.
Make sure that the ball or bullet has been lightly greased before you load it."

BigCountryExpat said...

3) Now, that lever underneath the barrel? Loading lever. Is used to 'pack' the bullet and round INTO the cylinder... hence why I said, "dis ain't no accy-dent"... Per the online guide of "how to load a black pwder pistola": Seat the bowl using the loading lever. Unlatch the loading lever and use it to firmly press the ball down until it sits securely and firmly on the powder.
Apply smooth, even pressure as you do this.
There should be no air in between the powder and ball, but you should not crush the powder as you seat the ball.
Also note that a thin outline of lead will be shaved off the ball as you do this. It should be visible at the opening of the chamber. This is a good sign and and indication that the ball is properly fitted.

4) Now, having done this, it's usually "wash rinse repeat" for the rest of the chambers except 'greasing' the cylinder, meaning covering ALL the loaded chambers to prevent a mass firing of ALL chamber simultaneously. "Apply additional grease. Fill the space above the ball in each cylinder with vegetable grease or bullet lubricant.
The use of grease can prevent "chain firing," or accidental secondary discharges." Reason for this is that BP weapons, esp. pistolas are finicky at best...

5) Now, aAFTER doing ALL that bullshitm above, you put a percussion cap one...
"Place a percussion cap on each loaded chamber. Point the gun down range and place a percussion cap on each loaded chamber. With the completion of this step, the revolver is fully loaded.
Make sure that the hammer is still in a half cocked position before doing this."

Soooooooooooooooo IF they, in fact had a percussion capped weapon (usually .44 caliber) then it's next to impossible to fuck that up, load wise of a LIVE round versus a BLANK 'cos the blank would have stopped at the "powder stage" It takes legitimate effort


Dunno, don't really care... Baldwin can Suck Satan's Balls In Perpetuity For JUST being Alec "I'm a fucking scumfuckingbag" Baldwin...

Hope this helps... Your thoughts dude? I might tear this down at my haus if'n you don't mind... let me know AYe?
BCE

Unknown said...

I would imagine that going forward a considerable number of actors that handle and fire guns will become much more familiar with the weapon they will be handling and many more will do their own checks of the weapon to determine for themselves if it is hot or cold.

Richard said...


Since the procedures are written in blood, how do we write this one up, without including the one who pulls the trigger?
I know the NATOPS manual was!

Aesop said...

@a posse,

Here's the thing: Anything the actor does that requires anything other than eyeballs requires the armorer or propmaster to re-verify everything.
IF an actor ever-so-respectfully asked to learn how to check the gun, the suitably impressed armore/propmaster would check the gun with the actor watching (this involves EYES-ON, not HANDS-ON co-verification) because it's exactly any actor-involved finger-banging and booger-hooking of a HOT weapon or a COLD one that has been where dumbasses have slipped blanks in, or out, or live rounds, or 57 other problems.
The people that keep (foolishly) wanting actors in this process fail to see them as the problem, and keep wanting to make them the solution.
Step One is to grok, way down deep in your soul, that an actor with a weapon is precisely like a child molester as day camp counselor: things are only going to get worse.
Work forward from that point.

Keanu Reeves is literally 1 in about 160,000; he is so far outside the bell curve, his example requires discarding, on principle.

@BCE,
1) Concur on the complication if indeed that's the weapon.
2) Break it down, Big Guy. Your house, your rules. I'm chopping with two axes, and I still have trouble getting enough chips to fly for some folks.
3)"Intentional" is a relative term. Did Bimbette load a chamber, and forget to clear it? Forget a loaded chamber pistol was left on the wrong cart? Just have shit in both ears from a massive blonde brain fart? Who knows!
But such negligence absolutely got the DP killed.

@Unknown,
The last thing anyone with two functioning brain cells wants is 160,000 barrista/actors, waiter/actors, valet/actors, etc., to all start playing with firearms, off- and on-set. I'd rather they learned how to crimp fuze in C-4, dynamite, and det cord, from old geezer prospectors with 4 missing fingers and blind in one eye; it'd be safer all around.

a posse ad esse said...

Just as a reminder of my very first post, I said:

"Honest question...
Years of accident free movies notwithstanding, why isn't the actor one of those two people (or just the last person of three) to verify that the gun is cold, either by physically checking it themselves or by observing the prop master as he checks it? They are, after all, the one with their finger on the trigger and God knows they learn all sorts of for other skills for the roles they play so it isn't like that would be hard"

Note the two key points: First, I said that they could "do it themselves or **observe the propmaster** as he does it. You seem to agree that this is a viable option. Two, they are actors and actors don't get famous by refusing to learn skills to support the role they are playing... so learning to identify a live round in a gun, whether by checking it himself or, again, by observation shouldn't be too much to ask.

Having said all that, I'm not sure what the hell we've been arguing about

Stealth Spaniel said...

Your take on all this is just straight up brilliant. The successful movie folks know how to stay in their own lane. This massive FU has amateurs written all over it. What a disaster.

Aesop said...

@a posse,
It's not an argument, it's just a simple reality that people don't want to grasp:

Putting actors and any imaginary "competence" they might have into the gun safety loop is the problem, not the solution.

a posse ad esse said...

My point has simply been that if Hollywood *wanted* to change their culture such that you had to have real and regular training for actors that will be handling firearms they would add that to the rule book in the same way they've added a million other rules (mostly in the area of wokeness, but still). Not only would it instill respect for weapons which Hollywood is lacking precisely because the actors seem to forget that they are holding real guns, but it would make the movies more realistic. That's why John Wick is amazing. He handles the weapon like he knows what he is doing because he does.
As someone else mentioned, this incident will act as a change agent in Hollywood as no one is going to be willing to point a gun at themselves or a fellow actor without thinking "what if this is another Baldwin gun?" With any luck more of them will get certified on their own and develop a viewpoint more consistent with "guns are useful tools that are only as dangerous as the person using it" rather than "Guns are scary and you commoners shouldnt be allowed near them"

JimR said...

"It's his job to point weapons in unsafe directions, and pull the trigger. "
Not at that time it wasn't.
He fucked around, and others paid the cost of his stupidity.

a posse ad esse said...

I don't disagree that they're dumb. But really, they wouldn't even need to know how to check or clear it. They only need to be able to know the difference between a live round and a blank and then need to be present and watch as the gun in loaded. Had that happened here, he would've said "Uh, live round, buddy" and fired her before anyone died.

ThatMikeSmith said...

This is all very interesting. Great inside observations that most of us would never get to see.
If Mr Baldwin were just an actor on the set, then he would be a victim of someone else's negligence.
He was also the producer, responsible for firing the Union armorers and hiring "Jimmy's Armorers Are Us". Scuttlebut has it that there were multiple issues on that set with firearms (NDs and such) that may or may not have been under to union armorers.

To your overarching (and repeatedly stated) point, the armorers did not perform up to standard. At the end of the day, that does not matter, the producer owns everything that goes wrong.

Aesop said...

Why would Hollywood, or anyone in it, want to change their culture, let alone want to change a system with a literal 99.99999% success rate, and over 28 years of flawless perfection?
The very idea of setting out to do that is retarded.
Businesses would kill their mothers for that level of flawlessness.

And putting 160,000 undertrained, under-educated nitwits who already have delusions of grandeur directly into that process is a recipe for more dead people, not less.

Thankfully, to change the safety bulletins requires the assents of all the producers, all the guilds, and the unions involved, and everyone's legal counsel, which is about a 1:10,000,000 chance they'd all ever be stupid enough to change the current system.

When SAG has 160,000 Keanu Reeves, give a holler.
Right now they have him, 1000 average working actors, and 158,999 Starbuck's barristas and parking valets.
You can't make a standard based on someone so far out of the mainstream for "average actor" that you can't even see the rest of the pack from where he is.
It'd be like making Einstein the expected average high school physics student.
It's both unfair, and frankly ridiculous.

And they're already present when the gun is loaded, when an incompetent armorer doesn't screw the pooch so hard they kill someone.
Witnessing the loading of blanks is already the industry standard, per the Safety Bulletins. Having actors finger-bang the gun themselves afterwards is not, nor should ever be.

@TMS,
Nobody "fired union armorers". There's no indication they ever hired a union armorer.

And while a producer "owns that", in a civil liability fiduciary responsibility sense, you cannot impute the criminal negligence from a hired armorer upwards to the producer, unless you can document that they literally told them to be incompetent and negligent from the point of that hire.

The idea is recockulous, but if Bimbette Armorer has Baldwin on video tape telling her to skip all the safety steps, she might avoid prison.

And pigs might fly.

SAM said...

I like the way this guy puts it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4W7kbQA8AU&t=645s

Aesop said...

@Jim R,
It was a rehearsal, with weapon.
So yes, exactly at that time, it was his job.
That much is already in statements of the production staff responsible, and sworn affidavits.

Aesop said...

And current information is that it was a Civil War era/style, muzzle-loading cap-and-ball revolver firing black powder or equivalent.
If that is indeed the truth, once the cylinder is greased, there's no way to tell a blank from a projectile round in that type of firearm without pulling it all apart or digging around at it with a tool.
You cannot "just look at it" and know.
A lump of grease in the cylinder looks like a lump of grease.

This wasn't a cartridge-type firearm with a visible crimped blank.

The entire onus for even putting such a loaded round in a gun on a set, where every dictate of the entire industry, for 50 years, says it should never ever have been is on the armorer, or the prop master in the absence of an armorer.

That dimwit chick is going to fry for this, justifiably, and it's no wonder Baldwin had no wild idea the thing was loaded and ready to shoot. Unless someone comes forward and states unequivocally that Baldwin loaded it himself, which takes about 5 conscious acts, in series, it's her fault entirely, not his.

Anonymous said...

It is staggering that after the extensive and detailed explanations buy Aesop as to why Baldwin is not really responsible for what happened, there are still those in the crowd that offer their feeble and pigheaded “yabuts”.

Maybe Aesop’s detailed explanations are just too detailed and complicated for the average Jasper and Billy Bob? Maybe I can help?

I am in sales. I sell stuff. Guess what I don’t do? I don’t go back to the warehouse and locate all the products I just sold, and then pull them and put them on a cart to take to the loading dock. I don’t load them into the truck to be delivered. I don’t drive the truck to the delivery destination. I don’t unload those products at the customer’s location. I don’t then open every box to make sure that the products I actually sold to the customer actually made it to the destination. Do you know why? Because that’s not my job. I sell stuff. That’s where it ends. Somebody else is expected to do all of those other things and gets paid to do them.

Can any of you retarded low IQ mutants understand THAT?

a posse ad esse said...

@Anonynous...Your boxes of widgets that you sell aren't going to kill someone if the shipping guy fucks up. Knowing the difference in degree of impact matters when you develop a risk matrix. Yoir example would be so low risk it wouldn't even make it on the list to be examined. But with your elevated IQ I'm sure you knew that.

@aesop
For the last time, I concede on the point of the actor checking it himself. You are right that they shouldn't touch it, I stand corrected on that point, mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa, etc. Christ almighty.
I do not concede that the actor should be standing in his trailer swillong martinis while the prop master does it, however. I think the actor should be responsible enough to be willing to learn to identify a live round and observe the process of the gun being loaded to ensure there isn't one in it. Doesn't have to be mandated, but it should be encouraged, but if they are so retarded that even the sesame street "three of these things belong together" song can't be adapted to work as a training video then for fucks sake we should all stop supporting them because they have no business being in an industry where they can use their ill-gotten and undeserved influence in the political sphere. Stop supporting them if they are that retarded. Or at least join me in wishing for a meteor to hit the Oscar's.

JimR said...

The chick wasn't the actress, he wasn't supposed to shoot her, fake or otherwise. So no, it wasn't his job to shoot her.

Aesop said...


That's the most brilliantly fucktarded conflation of reality and stupidity I've yet seen. Congratulations, Jim R.
1) I wasn't his job to shoot anyone. Duh!
2) It was his job to point the weapon towards the camera, cock the hammer, and pull the trigger. If you can enstupidate yourself enough to get around that, I can't help you.
3) The gun wasn't supposed to have anything in it: not a blank, and certainly not a live round.
4) It was the armorer's job first, last, and always, to ensure that was the case, every time, without failure, before each and every rehearsal, and each and every camera take.
5) Baldwin did his job and Bimbette didn't do hers. Even a prodigious total clot can't get around those two realities.

Please, stop trying.

Aesop said...

@a posse,
Go and read Safety Bulletin #1 and Safety Bulletin #2 which we've linked to multiple times (in vain) regarding the entire discussion.

You keep arguing around in circles because you should be familiar with those rules to meaningfully participate in the discussion, and you're obviously not.

https://www.csatf.org/production-affairs-safety/safety-bulletins/
https://www.csatf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/01FIREARMS.pdf
https://www.csatf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/02LIVE_AMMUNITION.pdf

Kindly pay particularly close attention to Bulletin 1, page 4, Item 12 thereon, and contemplate that "witness" involves eyeballs only, not boogerhooks ever, and the clouds should part, and angels in heaven will sing.

Having the actors watch the process isn't just a good idea, it's the law, as far as motion picture behavior is concerned.

Actors looking and comprehending is fine.
Actors touching and finger-fucking the equipment, at any point except when they're handed the weapon, a split second before actual filming occurs, is not.

And nota bene that in all cases, the safety bulletin identifies the duties of the prop master or weapons handler a mere twenty six times in just the first Bulletin alone; the number of things relegated to the actor in any way shape, or form is exactly two.
"One of these things is not like the other", right?

This is what we call a subtle hint.

It doesn't matter what you, I, or any infinite number of people on the internet think would be a "good idea".

The Safety Bulletins represent the express requirements of the producers, specifically including Paramount, Fox, Disney, Universal, Sony/Columbia, and every signatory studio, their combined legal talent, the Producer's Guild of America, the Director's Guild, the entire membership of SAG/AFTRA, the IATSE, which includes 20 or so guilds and crafts encompassing every single worker on every single set performing every single function from camera, sound, lighting, grips, special effects, props, construction, makeup, wardrobe, hair, medics, teachers, craft services, etc., and their entire membership, plus the entire Teamsters Local and their parent organization, and any sister organizations in Canada and Mexico, for every production covered by the agreement.

They are the Safety Bible for all union production (which is the vast majority of it) in or originating from, North America, no matter where in the world they go, and no amount of Good Idea Fairies on the internet have anything intelligent, let alone legally binding to say on the matter, which by custom, practice, and black letter law, is the exact legal purview of those documents on the relevant subjects.

They are, literally and legally, the last word on how things are supposed to be run, and when anything happens contrary to or in violation of, those policies, that activity is wrong, and anyone derelict from same, union or no, is de facto and de jure, wrong, culpable, and legally liable for all consequences.

And when a non-union low-budget production violates those rules and kills someone, you can damn sure bet every court, prosecutor, and civil lawyer is going to use their weight to crack errant behavior about the head and shoulders, on their way to a summary judgment of civil liability, because they're the overwhelming Best Practices that exist.

I thought I made this reality crystal clear from the outset, but evidently, not thunderingly enough.
Lack of appreciation for that is obviously where the bulk of internet aficianados go so profoundly astray.
Everything else is just gravity, working.

Nick Flandrey said...

Most of the reaction from people in the gun community and outside the movie industry seems to miss that this is a WORKPLACE accident. That New Mexico's OSHA is investigating should help drive that home.

This workplace has safety rules that are different from some other workplaces. It is not your house, the street, or a firing range. It is common for workplaces to have one set of rules for everyday activities and another for more dangerous activities, for example banning work on live electrical systems, or having special work rules for confined space entry. They are inherently dangerous activities but the are and can be performed safely. Utility workers often work on 'hot' systems, welders do 'hot' work with permits and oversight, and so do tank cleaners when they do confined space entry.

As a workplace, movie sets are covered by and regulated by a wide variety of federal, state, local, and other bodies, including industry specific bodies. Commenters have been reacting as if they believe the movie industry to be completely devoid of regulation or best practices. IN THIS CASE THOSE BEST PRACTICES WERE NOT FOLLOWED. Production companies, like other businesses, will often go to places where they can avoid certain requirements, and where they are out from under the 'watchful eye' in order to save money. By working non-union, they avoid the contractual requirements of the collective bargaining agreements that have codified practices and procedure, lines of authority, etc. Even working non-union, the production should STILL have followed industry standards, and they didn't, as you can clearly see for yourself by READING the appropriate materials.

See this for the responsibilities of the Prop Master.

https:\\local44.org\images\stories\Members\The-Crafts-Introduction.pdf

See this for the appropriate Safety Bulletin #1 and #2 which cover the use of firearms on set, and are considered to be MINIMUM requirements, and acknowledge that there can be other more stringent requirements.


https://www.csatf.org/production-affairs-safety/safety-bulletins/

Nick Flandrey said...

(cont)

Please note the following from Safety Bulletin #1 which contains this SPECIFIC reference to pointing a gun at people or things


GENERAL SAFE USE AND HANDLING OF FIREARMS
1. Refrain from pointing a firearm at anyone, including yourself. If it is absolutely
necessary to do so on camera, consult the Property Master (or, in his/her
absence, the weapons handler and/or other appropriate personnel
determined by the locality or the needs of the production) or other safety
representative, such as the First A.D./Stage Manager.
Remember that any object
at which you point a firearm could be destroyed.


Pointing a gun at people and things is a normal activity SPECIFICALLY acknowledged in the bulletin.

There is this further point-- Item 11 SPECIFICALLY addresses the fact that personnel can be “Directly in the line of fire.”

11. Protective shields, eye, and hearing protection or other appropriate Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) shall be issued and utilized by all personnel in close
proximity and/or directly in the line of fire.


Again, a rare but acknowledged and legitimate circumstance in this workplace.

Even further, Safety Bulletin #2 specifically addresses LIVE ammo, when,where, and how to use it, so it's also true that sometimes live ammo IS used in film-making.

Like any industrial accident, LOTS of things needed to go wrong, starting with hiring the wrong person for the job of armorer.

There are now articles saying the gun was used for live fire 'recreation' off set. That's how the live round could have gotten into the gun and onto the set. Another violation of the rules. Go and read the rules yourselves and count the ways they F'd up on this production. And please keep in mind that because THIS production couldn't follow the rules and do dangerous stuff safely doesn't mean that OTHER productions can't.

And save a bit of outrage for the US worker killed ever 99 minutes on the job, mostly by vehicle accidents and falls.

nick

added- oops, I see that Aesop beat me to it.

Aesop said...

@SAM,

He's erudite.
And completely wrong.
He has no idea of what he's bloviating, however concisely, because he doesn't understand either the controlling legal underpinnings for set operations, nor how a set operates itself.
His opinion on the matter is literally worthless.

But definitely clearly, logically, and succinctly expressed.

This is how someone can be smart, and still all wrong, on this topic.
It's a big club.

Bibliotheca Servare said...

Aesop, the very first page of the bulletin you linked to includes this sentence:

"No one shall be issued a firearm until he or she is trained in safe handling, safe use, the
safety lock, and proper firing procedures."

Before any of the numbered items.
How does "...trained in safe handling, safe use, the safety lock, and proper firing procedures." jive with

"Actors looking and comprehending is fine.
Actors touching and finger-fucking the equipment, at any point except when they're handed the weapon, a split second before actual filming occurs, is not."?

If the bulletin requires the actor, or extra, or anyone who is "issued a gun" to be "trained in safe handling (etc)" then even the Starbucks Baristas you mention had to successfully pass that training, long before the "a split second before actual filming..." you suggest. Unless "training in safe handling, safe use, the safety lock, and proper firing procedures" means something very different from what the plain English would indicate.

Cap-and-ball pistols are hard, but why the fuck was Alec holding a gun that he hadn't personally seen a rod passed through, or hadn't heard bb's rattling in whatever substitutes for a dummy cartridge in a cap-and-ball revolver?

Multiple protocols were violated, and if the golden child armoress is the only one who fries over this then a lot of people are going to get away with spitting on those procedures. The AD grabbed the gun off an *open cart* with *no one nearby* and handed it to the actor without performing a final check?! What the actual fuck?

Aesop said...

Actually Reading The Safety Bulletin: Achievnment Unlocked!
Huzzah, sir!

Trained in safe handling:
"Here's the grip, this is where you hold it. This is the muzzle: where bullets and muzzle blast come out. Try not to point it at other people unless the script/scene requires it. This is the trigger: when you squeeze it, the gun goes "BANG!" This is the safety. Red means "DEAD" when you pull the trigger. There is/is not any safety feature on this gun. This unlocks the cylinder/releases the slide/releases the magazine, where the blanks or live rounds live. This is the chamber(s), where the blanks/bullets live when they go "BANG!" This is how brass/cartridges is ejected/removed after the blanks/rounds are used. This concludes your entire safe handling briefing."

Note that none of that requires, nor should "recognizing blank versus live rounds", nor should.
It's safe weapons handling, not ammunition handling.
actors shouldn't be handling ammunition, as a general rule, unless there's a very specific requirement, and they aren't the experts on it.

"Cap-and-ball pistols are hard, but why the fuck was Alec holding a gun that he hadn't personally seen a rod passed through, or hadn't heard bb's rattling in whatever substitutes for a dummy cartridge in a cap-and-ball revolver?

Multiple protocols were violated, and if the golden child armoress is the only one who fries over this then a lot of people are going to get away with spitting on those procedures. The AD grabbed the gun off an *open cart* with *no one nearby* and handed it to the actor without performing a final check?! What the actual fuck?
"

"What the actual fuck?" indeed. This is ENTIRELY an ARMORER Fuck-Up Scenario, and a slipshod low-budget non-union production scenario. As noted, they broke mutiple rules, written in blood, fucked around, and found out, which killed and wounded people needlessly, and as amazing and infuriating as it is to whole swaths of seemingly intelligent people nominally on our side, none of those fuck-ups track to @$$hole Baldwin, however much anyone wishes it were otherwise.

Mirabile dictu!

You have achieved true wisdom, Grasshopper.
You are a GO at this station.

This is why we blog.

Anonymous said...

Proof Positive wrote:

"Just by looking at it, could YOU tell if it was loaded or not? And if the rounds loaded were blanks?"

Um, yes, I could. By placing the hammer at half-cock with a thumb blocking the hammer and looking at the front of each chamber as I turned the cylinder, I would be able to see what was in each of the chambers.

Now having said that, I will also say I've owned and been shooting these types of firearms for several decades while Baldwin hasn't. As a meat puppet, he should not be expected to have this level of experience.

Aesop said...

@Anon,

The minute you touched the weapon, you failed the station.
Looking is not boogerhooking and coonfingering.
NO GO.
Do over.

But you are correct: Baldwin, nor any actor, is expected nor required to know anything beyond basic "BANG!"-end and "Hold here"-end and "Trigger-squeeze for Bang!" ability.