Monday, October 25, 2021

Soopergenius Achievement: Unlocked


The longer some people talk, the more they make Baldwin's jackassical anti-gun arguments sound reasonable.

People like them are why Alex Jones and George Nouri still have paying gigs, why Nigerian scammers still send e-mails, and why the tags on my shirts say "Remove shirt before ironing".

FFS, you lot, Just. STOP.

I'm begging you.

Think of how it pains me that you're so unbelievably stupid, I have to defend Baldwin for killing someone with a gun, because he's literally morally and legally blameless, and those baying for his head on a platter are literally dumber than a bag of hammers.

Man. I just threw up in my mouth a little.


June J said...

I thank you for the very clear explanation of the workings of movie/tv sets in regards to firearms safety.
That the industry has gone to great lengths to prevent another Brandon Lee tragedy should be considered by all whose first impression is to throw Baldwin in jail for being an actor pretending to be capable of handling a firearm safely.
Without fail, every single person I've talked to about this has thrown up the 4 Rules of Firearms Safety as justification of charging Baldwin with...well anything.
After discussing what you've said based upon your experience, maybe a couple of people acknowledged that "yeah, maybe it wasn't his responsibility to ensure the firearm was indeed unloaded."
The movie/tv industry is about fantasy, no reality. Hell, even the so called "reality shows" are mere fantasies of real life in most cases.
Nowhere in fantasy where there are car crashes, people leaping off buildings, off cars, etc is there the reality that crap is actually doable outside of a massive production. (As countless "fail" videos on YouTube demonstrate when people try it).
Thanks again and keep up the good work.

Bill Quick said...

Sigh. It's become a religious question to them, Aesop.

And you know how that goes.

Rick in NY said...

Agreed. Also, this proves the point that accidents happen when someone "thinks" a gun is empty while reality patiently disagrees.

Perhaps if he wasn't such an anti-gun boof he would have learned to check it himself... but that is past and a shot once fired cannot be recalled. I would suspect he sincerely wishes he could.

Sadly, an innocent woman was killed and a man injured in a completely avoidable incident... perhaps firearms proficiency should become a training standard for actors and actresses who use them, live or prop versions, in their chosen line of work. No exceptions.

Just a thought.

Charley Waite said...

These threads have been fascinating reading. There is some very very weird dynamic in the internet gun community. Jesus wept.
Keep on keeping on Aesop.

TGreen said...

I agree with you on Alec Baldwin, the actor.

Care to comment on Mr Baldwin, the producer, who did not fire Ms Gutierrez after two on-set NDs?

1chota said...

I would wager that if an investigation could be screwed up it would be screwed up by a New Mexico sheriff's office.
Like you I believe we need to sit back and wait.
Did the SO take Baldwin into custody? Did they perform a gunshot residue test? (I know, I know, but it needed to be done.) Did they perform a blood test for alcohol or drugs?
Was the woman prop person(?) taken into custody? Were all the guns collected?
You read so much stuff, but one rumor was that she had unloaded the guns after the incident. Not good if true.
We simply do not have enough facts at this time to make an intelligent determination.

Anonymous said...

Morally and legally blameless? Gonna tag that declaration a bit premature.

As to the latter, probably best to wait until a court reviews all the evidence and hears all the testimony. All we can do now is speculate based on long-distance hearsay. Fun for a few minutes, but kinda pointless. On both sides.

As to the former...well, I think the outcome of the latter may in part determine that, or at least influence it. But again, only those who were there have any idea what really happened. I'll wait for that to come out in trial, if I remember to pay attention to yet another Trail Of The Century(tm) when it finally hits the courts.

What does seem to be indisputable is that AB's actions were part of a chain of events that resulted in two shot, one killed. Take his actions out, and those two people are here today, un-perforated. But the same might also be said of the armorer and eleventy-seven others who formed the links in that chain.

We shall see.

Still, it's fun to treat AB like a pinata, and more funner to watch you get steamed at people with whom you disagree. Pass the popcorn.

Avalanche said...

Andrew Branca, Esq, who specializes in self-defense law (and whose book I read every two years as a refresher and whose class on GA law I have taken), has moved up his calculations to Baldwin possibly being at risk for felony involuntary manslaughter: "The more we learn about the facts of this case, within the context of New Mexico criminal law, the more this shooting looks increasingly like a crime—specifically, felony involuntary manslaughter. So, today let’s explore that possibility in further detail."

Branca bases his discussions of court cases -- and ongoing not yet in court cases -- on black letter law and a state's jury instructions where they are available. And of course, his 20+ years of defending and serving as expert witness IN shooting cases. I have no idea if there IS some sort of leeway in any states for "the armorer was 100% responsible; the guy wot dun shot is not." I don't know if California, home of the Hellmouth, has some *legal* leeway provided to on-set incidents. My GUESS is that, since there have been so exceedingly few actual shootings, followed by exceedingly few actual COURT decisions... that there really IS not "body of precedent" that could outweigh the actual black-letter law. (And NM is not Cal.)

It also strikes me that there likely IS no carve-out for "the law ceases to apply where there are four pages of mandatory safety directions for a set" in ANY state? If I write four pages of mandatory safety directions, and hire a special person to manage any guns on site for my company, and make anyone entering my premises sign a contract to abide by the four pages -- and someone STILL get shot --- does the law, do the courts, give a goodgoddamn about my four pages?! I think not!

Love you Aesop, (go Navy, beat army!!)(except I hate football), but coming at this NOT from "on set we live this way," as against "in COURT they act this other way" is not clear. Especially not with established case law to lean on.

Steve said...

At the risk of putting myself in your (metaphorical) target sights to receive a full mag of ridicule: Eliminate the possibility of criminal charges; clearly there will be civil suits, and as producer of the movie, Baldwin appears to be in serious trouble.

1chota said...

ruralcounsel said...

a posse ad esse said...

Read an article somewhere that said that the on site medic was not aware they were rehearsing when the incident happened.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but if someone hands me a gun, I check it myself.
Yes, I know he's an actor and probably doesn't really know which end the bullet exits.
BTW; I won't miss him in any case.

Nick Flandrey said...

Seems that there was an on set medic after all.


The on-set medic for Alec Baldwin's Western film, where a camerawoman was killed on Thursday, immediately realized that there had been a terrible mistake, according to a report.

Cherlyn Schaefer heard a 'loud shot' which surprised her, according to the medic's report from the immediate aftermath of the shooting, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

She said the noise was unexpected, because the team making the film Rust in the New Mexico desert was not meant to be using special effects at that point.

'Are we rehearsing? Because 'fire in the hole' wasn't called,' Schaefer said, according to the report.

The phrase 'fire in the hole' means that special effects are being used for an explosion.

After hearing someone say 'medic emergency' following the bang, she ran to a church on the set where the first scene after lunch was being set up.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

If it helps, I used you as a resource and got the whole homeschool group to consider that union-busting quasi-illegal #YouGoGirl set armorors were at fault.

It is interesting, though, that the only people who try to ban gun-ownership are the ones I know can't be trusted to have one.

Aesop said...

@Rick in NY,
@Anon 8:19P,

Nice of you to drop in without having read anything in the last 5 posts regarding the incident.

1) there are no "guns" on movie sets. Functional shootable weapons are specifically not supposed to be there in the first place, except under specific and well-known and publicized circumstances.

2) Actors (or anyone whose job function is not Prop master or weapons handler) are specifically not allowed to "check" weapons in any way, shape, or form by industry-wide common agreements and black letter safety rules. Actors may visually witness when a weapon is loaded, if they choose. They are not required to do so.

3) Any "checking" by an actor using anything but eyeballs is a violation of the safety rules, union rules, and the production safety guidelines, which were developed with the specific input of all the production crafts and guilds, including actors, and every major production company (Fox,Disney,Paramount,Sony,Universal, etc.). Violating those rules is grounds for a grievance and fine. Repeated violations can lead to suspension, termination, and being literally thrown out of Hollywood, forever.
See if you can guess why it's simply not done.

4) Why in hell would you check a gun that
a) you aren't allowed to check, except as a witness
b)isn't a gun
c)isn't supposed to shoot,
d)isn't supposed to be loaded with anything but blanks;
e)isn't supposed to be loaded at all for a rehearsal
f)was loudly and publicly averred to be unloaded before it was handed to you
g) was supposed to be treated like all weapons under the very safety guidelines that have performed flawlessly, with zero fatalities, for tens of thousands of movies and television productions, with no accidents in 28 years, despite millions of rounds being fired?
Show your work.

4) An actor handed an on-set weapon is literally in the same position as a passenger handed a ticket on a commercial flight. Do you pre-flight the aircraft, inspect the engines, and vet the flight crew's licenses and certifications before you fly? Why not? What would happen if you tried that? What would happen if everyone on the flight tried that? Why, then, do you suppose no one does that?

That level of stupidity is what you're suggesting as a standard of behavior, because of a basic and fundamental misunderstanding of the situation on a production set.
This is not you going to the shooting range with a real gun, and real ammo, all by yourself.
Best wishes with that, and thanks for playing.
Maybe go read almost every post here since Friday, and come back to this when you're up to speed.

Aesop said...

@T Green,
@ Steve,

As a producer on the movie (not sure at all he's the, SOLE producer, Baldwin is in no such serious trouble.
Virtually every movie is set up as an LLC.
At the end of the movie, the sum total of "assets" are the rights to the production, and the film in the can (lately, the video on the drive).
Any lawsuit will hit the production's insurance.
Insurance will make a determination, and offer a payout, or suit will be filed, and the insurance will make the payout based on a judgement, to the limit of liability.
It's unlikely any final judgement will exceed the liability limits of the production.

Baldwin won't lose a cent as producer of the film, but it may be difficult to impossible for him to secure insurance or financing for future projects.

(As an aside, this is why Robert Downey was blacklisted for years: his well-publicized struggles with drugs made him uninsurable, and whenever a director wanted to hire him for any project, the completion bond companies (who agree to assume liability for the total cost of the picture if some catastrophe prevents its completion) would simply say "We cannot insure any picture with Robert Downey, well-known drug addict", and he would be dropped from the cast forthwith.
Until he cleaned his act up, and the director and producers of Tropic Thunder agreed to personally assume all financial liability if Downey fucked up and crashed their movie because of a relapse. Actually clean and sober, and ecstatic at getting his career back after years in the wilderness, he performed flawlessly and hilariously, because he has always possessed one helluva talent for acting, and the rest is history.)

Aesop said...

@ a posse,
@ Nick,
Cherlyn Schaeffer is not a union roster medic, but per IMDb, has been working in the industry for a couple of decades, mainly as an on-set medic.

1) I give her the benefit of the doubt as an average-capable EMT.
2) At least Fly By Night productions hired a medic while weapons were in use. So not total fucktards.
3) She probably did the best she could once things instantly went to shit.
4) She gets one demerit (and it's a fairly big one) for not knowing WTF was going on. Her job is to know what the production is doing at all times, and be in close proximity to the set at all times. She should have known a rehearsal was happening, and been within sight of the actual rehearsal, not out on a wander nearby and listening only to the radio. Sometimes you have to do that and go somewhere else, but as a general rule, the medic should be just off camera, but within line of sight to the director, 1st AD, and camera whenever the crew is working, unless the quarters on-set are so restricted as to make this level of proximity virtually impossible. The medic should always be very close at hand, and it sounds like she wasn't far away, but not knowing what was going on is still a party foul, in my book. But not a dereliction of duty, whatsoever. Just not top-notch practice.
5) That said, I'm sure she did as much as possible, within the limitations of her kit, and scope of practice. Someone taking a bullet in the chest is a nightmare scenario, and we lose people like that even in a trauma ER with doctors, surgeons, and twenty people right there doing everything humanly possible. One EMT, alone, waiting for 9-1-1 and LifeFlight in BFEgypt with two gunshot victims? One critical, and one serious? That right there is a "FML!" scenario.
6) She has my sincerest condolences on the shit sandwich she had delivered. That's what happens on set, exactly like a tour of duty in a war zone: hours and days of boredom, punctuated by moments of utter terror.

Aesop said...

@ 1chota,
The rules in Oz are similar to the US, but if anything, even more restrictive.

@ ruralcounsel,
Schlicter is brighter than Branca (they're both lawyers) but still a dickhead.
He's saying, point blank, "Yeah, Baldwin wasn't at fault, but we need to be dicks and frothing moonbats ourselves, and apply an unreasonable standard of expectations, because using our brains is too hard, and handicaps us against the fucktards on the Left who act that way."

That's like saying that "Since the Leftards sets themselves on fire and beat the flames out with a fireaxe, we have to do that too."

He's usually spot-on, but in this case, he's got his head just as far up his ass as half the commenters hereabouts. Worse, he knows he's being a jackass, with no other excuse than "everybody's doing it", and yet does it anyways.

Nick Flandrey said...

Branca would be better off spending his time speculating how to DEFEND TBB (the bad baldwin) in court. THAT would actually track with his expertise. And I guarantee he'd be focusing on the same things that Aesop and I have been hammering away at, this is an industrial accident. It's workplace injury. It's not a USE OF FORCE in any way.


Aesop said...


I held your comment, and my response, for last.

1) Branca is a jackass.
2) It was obvious to me that this was nothing but a case of criminal involuntary manslaughter in about 30 seconds, by last Friday, after taking the two mouseclicks necessary to look up the relevant NM statues Friday morning. Maybe Branca needs a computer class and better internet access. But my parents were married to each other, and I never went to law school, so maybe that's where I have some advantage over Branca in basic common sense, and concluding the obvious.
3) IANAL, but if I were, I would pay for a bloviating jackass like Branca to be the expert witness for the other side, out of my own pocket.
In order to prove guilt in a case of involuntary manslaughter, you'd have to demonstrate gross negligence.
Negligence requires two things:
DEFENDANT had a specific duty to perform.
DEFENDANT failed to meet that standard of performance.
4) In this case, were some NM prosecutor witless enough to try and make his bones on Baldwin's back, he'd be screwed, in about 2 seconds.
a) Prop guns are not real guns, by custom and black-letter legally enforceable requirement.
b) Live ammunition is never to be used on set, never to be loaded, let alone on a rehearsal, etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum, to the tune of, at minimum, TWENTY-NINE DISTINCT, CLEAR, DELIBERATE, FLAGRANT, UNQUESTIONABLE AND SEPARATE VIOLATIONS OF FUNDAMENTAL PRODUCTION SAFETY GUIDELINES REGARDING THE USE OF FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ANYWHER IN NORTH AMERICA, written in consultation with about 5000 Hollywood lawyers, any one of whom has a demonstrably higher IQ than Branca, let alone a vastly better knowledge of and grasp of their application, or even their very existence.
c) Specifically to the elements necessary to demonstrate criminal culpability: Alec Baldwin has no specific duty to ascertain anything with regard to the weapon's status, other than it being handed to him on set. He was given a weapon that the Producer's explicitly designated subject-matter expert had selected and brought to set, and which weapon a member of the production staff assured Baldwin and everyone, loudly and publicly, was empty and unloaded, and whose very presence signified it was a "prop" gun, incapable of firing or chambering ANY live projectile, EVER. Under those circumstances, he rehearsed a scene wherein the director wanted him to fire at the camera lens, and when he followed that stage direction, it transpires that the gun was REAL gun, with a REAL bullet, which issued from it, and struck the DP and director, all of whom were equally surprised at this occurrence, as was everyone on the entire production.


Aesop said...

d) The one, only, SOLE PERSON with a duty to ascertain and insure that this circumstance could not and would not happen, ever, by following - Not the paltry Four Rules - but instead the Hollywood industry-standard 79 Rules, was production armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who in fact was the most incompetent, ignorant, untrained, clueless piece of shit idiot to ever set foot on a movie set and handle weaponry in at least 28 years, if not ever in recorded history.
e) Lacking any legal duty to perform, Baldwin cannot have failed to meet any such non-existent standard.
f) The only person who actually had any such duty, was Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
g) She clearly, egregiously, and flagrantly failed to meet her obligations in any way, shape, or form, in fact violated nearly every single rule and requirement on the date in question, which directly and inevitably resulted in the entirety of the incident, and subsequent injuries and fatality.
h) Substitute anyone in the entire 160,000 actor SAG roster and put them in Baldwin's shoes on the fateful day, and nothing changes: the DP still dies.
Substitute anyone in the IATSE Local 44 Prop Master or Weapon Handler roster as armorer for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and they simply follow the same guidelines as have been flawlessly followed in Hollywood for over 28 years, since before PropTwat was even born, and they discover the problems in 2 seconds, the incident never takes place, and nobody dies.

There is thus no grounds to even attempt to charge Baldwin with anything, and every reason to not only indict Reed, but charge her and obtain a conviction of the entirety of responsibility for the crime of involuntary manslaughter, and throw the book at her.

Anything else would be official malfeasance.

Nick Flandrey said...

To expand on my comment above, it's not different because he's an actor and it's Hollywood. It's different because he's a worker who was involved in a fatal accident during the normal course of his employment.

The policies of his employer are in fact crucial, as is that his actions were (appear so far to be) WELL within guidelines and safety policies of both his employer an the industry at large.

Changing that, setting a new precedent that he didn't do enough by following his company rules, has MASSIVE implications for every other industry in the country. SERIOUSLY. ANYONE who signs off on their work and passes it to the next stage, or accepts the work done before them without doing it all over themselves, or works under a limit to their authority and responsibility (like various license levels of medical personnel) would be impacted.

Branca is not the right guy for this case. Out of his experience. He should be war-gaming the DEFENSE, not the offense.


Aesop said...

But Branca is pro-gun, and Baldwin is anti-gun, so Branca dislikes him on principle, and is setting aside obvious legal common sense to go on an anti-Baldwin jihad, because knee-jerk.
Which is how he's a jackass, and why I said so.

Jim Wetzel said...

Well, this has been an interesting time at the Raconteur Report. It did cause me to learn a little about blank ammunition. We've all heard of "blanks," but I'd never had occasion to wonder about just what they are. I found that they're cartridges with primers, powder charges, and some wadding to keep the charge in place in the absence of a bullet. In addition to the hot gases, the wadding may emerge from the barrel, as well as any extraneous debris that might be in there, making them dangerous at close range (don't know how far "close" is). I also found that they're for sale by numerous prop companies (and others), and that they're surprisingly expensive. That last shouldn't have surprised me; not much demand for blank ammunition, economies of scale, and so forth.

Thanks for the learning opportunity.

Mark said...

I do have one question:

As producer of the film (rather than actor in it), was Baldwin responsible for hiring the half-wit armorer, or did someone else screw the pooch on that? If it was his decision to hire someone who was obviously under-qualified (either because she was willing to work cheap, or he was trying to get into her pants, or embrace the concept of and) I'd submit that he bears a moral responsibility for what happened (but probably not a legal responsibility).

If I hire someone to do a job who's obviously not qualified, and that person fails to perform his or her duties adequately, that falls on me. Doesn't matter if the job in question is painting my house, shining my shoes, or handling potentially deadly implements. So while as an actor he bore no responsibility for checking the weapon in question, as a producer he chose (I assume, again correct me if I'm wrong) the person who DID bear that responsibility and who screwed up by the numbers.

I also get that you hire who you CAN at the time you need them, and sometimes you don't get your first, second or tenth choice. But if you're in the position of using someone so inexperienced in a role where things can obviously go sideways in a VERY bad way, you need to take extra precautions to prevent tragedy. I've no doubt that if her father handed you a prop and declared "cold gun" you could literally bet your life on it (and two other people's for that matter) with never a worry. Her, not so much.

Mark D

Paul M said...

Tragic, accident. Yes...but someone needs to get prosecuted. Baldwin? Hard to say. But the armorer gal - a daughter of a top flank armorer - was reportedly given the job.

a posse ad esse said...

What are your thoughts on the armorer allegedly having to leave the cart outside the church where the scene was being rehearsed due to covid rules? Have we heard, yet, whether this is true? If so, was the cart left outside where the asst dir. had to come get it or did they wheel it in the building where she was not allowed?
Seems to me that if she was not allowed to keep an eye on the gun because of a conflicting safety rule that was imposed upon her then it is possible that the gun was manipulated without her knowledge.

Is it also possible that she was coerced into allowing live rounds on set by someone with authority? Coercion is a thing in Hollywood, so I would not be surprised.
Last thought, live ammunition is clearly prohibited in the bulletins, unless they have a ton of permissions. It'll be interesting to see if they had those permissions, and if they didn't, it'll be damming for whoever brought the ammo on set. Especially if they brought it into the church where the armorer allegedly was not allowed due to covid.
The whole thjng is shaping up to be an incrediy mismanaged shit show.

C said...

"This is not you going to the shooting range with a real gun, and real ammo, all by yourself."

This is what people can't get through their heads. It's too fucking simple. All they have to do is stop thinking of the production as a range/hunting trip and the prop/tool as a weapon.

Work in any production environment worth a damn as an assembler or operator. Start taking apart equipment and stopping production because you want to make sure it's safe. Your ass will be out faster than you can say termination.

Ken W said...

From a managerial standpoint, they had two accidental discharges on set prior to the fatal mishap. Isn't The Boss (whoever that is) at some point responsible for the failure of their subordinates to do their jobs? What investigations were done on the two ADs (assuming this is not just rumor)? What corrective actions were taken? Near misses that could have taken a human life need to be responded to. If the armorer was incompetent (and it certainly seems so) - doesn't the person who failed to act on that, given two prior demonstrations of said incompetence also bear responsibility?

Glypto Dropem said...

Time for my $0.02: There is a conventional wisdom taught in Officer School in the fire service in relation to a Line Of Duty Death or career ending injury. It is never "just one thing" that causes the incident, but a whole series of little things that occurred from the moment that firefighter woke up that morning. The comparison is made to slices of Swiss Cheese. When the slices are cut and plopped randomly on a plate the holes don't line up. That is compared to a shift or day where nothing bad happens. But take the slices and carefully align them so all the holes line up and that is your L.O.D.D. Each hole becomes one little contribution to the overall incident, and if only one of those things didn't happen, the death or injury of a firefighter would not have happened. That is where the partial blame is placed on Alec Baldwin, regardless of procedures or circumstances. It could be as simple as where he stood, how he gripped the gun, where he was aiming, whether he pulls the trigger or not, etc. There are an infinite number of variables that would have made the shot maybe not fatal, or no one struck at all. As much as I despise that piece of crap, he is not wholly responsible. But as a producer, much like a Fire Chief, he will be held accountable and should be held liable.

Anonymous said...

Staggering to watch Aesop surgically decapitate every single “Baldwin is guilty” moron while they utter “‘‘tis but a scratch.”

He’s cut your head off! “No he hasn’t.. Tis merely a flesh wound.” LOL.

We are doomed.

Wayne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mark said...

@Jim Wetzel: I used to be a Civil War reenactor, and we'd put on a demo for new recruits to show them that our blanks were indeed dangerous. Our standard blank was 60-70 grains of black powder in a 58 cal musket, with a percussion cap and NO wadding at all, just loose in the barrel. The blank would shred an aluminum soda can at a couple inches range. One sure way to get the First Sergeant up you ass was to stand with your hand over the muzzle, even if unloaded (see Rule 1). One dumb ass put his hand on the muzzle and his CHIN on top of his hand.

Mark D

Anonymous said...

Sure is hard to check a weapon to see if it is loaded.
But to note this (which I learned from my military father before I even have memory of the experience) I must truly be a dumbass.

Aesop said...

Wayne has elected to froth at the mouth, shit his diapers, and eat the contents, because superhero J. Noble Daggett was dissed, for caused.

Ah, well.

Aesop said...


It's not hard to do.
That's why they specifically hired an armorer to do it for every weapon on the production.

You're only a dumbass by choice, if you cannot grasp this fact, and somehow think the job of everyone else at work is to fingerbang your work, tear it apart, and jump up and down on it to make sure you did it correctly.

Call that toss in the air.

Aesop said...


Links examined in the next post.