Thursday, October 28, 2021

When You Assume

Court TV


The Lynch Baldwin Posse, much like, or because of, Jackass Branca, wants to assume a lot of facts not in evidence, in order to comfortably leap to their conclusions, and thence "Get a rope!"

The first one is, they want to assume that what Baldwin's gun should have looked like would be the photo in the header.

They then go on to assume that what he would have actually seen would be this:

And then thrown the "Hey, waitaminute, there's a BULLET in my gun!" flag, and all tragedy would've been averted.

Natzsofast, Guido.

The rehearsal in question was specifically one where Baldwin was to draw his pistol, point, cock, and fire it right at the camera.

For those four days or more behind the curve, the "Another take? How 'bout I shoot you instead?" story disappeared, as the pure fairytale it was, in about 2 seconds of the incident.

They weren't shooting "takes". They were rehearsing for them. Takes are when they're actually filming, for those gloriously ignorant of the entire moviemaking process (yet somehow consider themselves competent to opine on it). So nobody, not even Baldwin in Full @$$hole Mode, is going to say that, or do that, because it never happened like that.

He was doing his exact job, as instructed by the script, his boss the director, and his whole reason for being on set.

So, where were we?

Oh yeah: Capturing a gunshot from the shooter looking straight down the barrel, which was in the script, and why he was pointing at it (and the three people in closest proximity, by default).

So, on any movie in decades, what would that gun have looked like, from the camera angle?


Because you, me, and 100 years of cinema audiences want ever-more precise cinema verite, we won't sit still for empty guns with CGI muzzle flash, guys "firing" with auto slides locked back, or rifles out of battery, and 57 other "it's bullshit" complaints armchair weapons aficionados spew like dog piss on a fire hydrant every time there's a new action movie.

So the cylinder is loaded with dummy rounds. Not empty.

Which would look like this, when Baldwin, the PropTart, or anyone else "checked" the weapon.

QED. So long, and thanks for all the fish. And fuck off with your ignorant ravings.

"Yahbut, Aesop, the dummy rounds, the blanks, and live rounds are all supposed to be conspicuously marked, so that Any Foole, even gun-amateur Baldwin, let alone PropTart, could spot them immediately!"

Uh huh. They certainly are supposed to be.

By whom, Sherlock?

Oh yeah, the same exact homicidal PropTart that violated all the OTHER Safety Bulletin rules and regs???

Who probably loaded the very live round(s) into the chambers along with the dummies?

So Baldwin wouldn't have seen anything untoward whatsoever, having "checked" the weapon before the rehearsal.

Which brings up another point:

Who says Baldwin never "checked"?

Granted, he's only supposed to witness loading if blanks are being loaded, and only then if he's the guy in front of the muzzle, and such witnessing is completely at the actor's option. And that opportunity depends on (stop me if you've heard this one) the same PropTart Armorer.

Whereas the actual loading of the gun, every time is supposed to be done by the armorer (in this case) and her designated assistant (usually another asst. armorer, but sometimes the prop master or another prop person). So who was that guy? The 2d AD, Dave Halls, whom we'll get to in a minute.

On this set, there was no double check by a person competent in weapons,  so weapons weren't double-checked correctly, and any such check was de facto slipshod, and the Armorer never conspicuously marked anything, just like she brought a live weapon to a set where it never should have been, and live ammo to a set where it never should have been. Starting to get a picture? Spot a trend?

And after mixing up dummy rounds and live ones, there's no way anyone could have "checked", and gotten any different result than dimbulb PropTart or 2nd AD Halls did.

Baldwin didn't "check"? Prove it. How do you know he didn't?

And more importantly, what difference would it make to the final result if he had, under the circumstances - yet again - wholly and completely the sole responsibility and creation of The Armorer on the movie, which she obviously failed in every respect to prevent?

Weapons amateur Baldwin, the very guy the Lynch Baldwin Mob wants to hold responsible for such an "obvious" failure of due diligence and circumspection, would have no more chance that Stevie Wonder to spot a problem, so whether he actually did the wholly superfluous third  "check" is entirely irrelevant to the incident.

But, alas, you can't argue anyone out of a position using facts, logic, and common sense, if he didn't use facts, logic, and common sense to get into that position in the first place. {cf.: Teaching pigs to sing.}

(The proof that this whole online pantytwist is nothing but kneejerk dogma is because even this will not dissuade the Baldwin Lynchers from their sacred mission. When nothing will disprove your pet cause, it's a religious belief, not a reasoned opinion, like Evolution, Global Warming, Second Hand Smoke, Bigfoot, Space Aliens, and every other illogical, unscientific, whackdoodle tinfoil batshit crazy theory every concocted by the minds of halfwits.)

Halfwits? Which brings us to the 2nd Assistant Director, one Mr. Dave Halls.


*picked the weapon in question, from among three, off of the armorer's prop cart

* brought it to set and handed it to Baldwin

* loudly and clearly shouted "COLD WEAPON!", assuring everyone on the set - including Baldwin - that it contained no ammunition, either blank or real.

Of those three acts, see if you can guess how many were

* totally outside the scope of his normal job function as a 2nd assistant director, anywhere, since ever (their job is to assist on set with production, not props, and to wrangle talent to and from set)

* a specific violation of the Safety Bulletins it's his department's job to know and promulgate to the crew, on every production since ever in his lifetime and career working as an A.D.

*  a grieveable offense between the IATSE Property Union and the Producers Guild of America, had this been a union show, or even just a union armorer, which could lead to him being fined, suspended, and/or thrown out of the industry, for cause

* pure busybody dumbassery by an amateur weapons wannabe, which got someone killed.

TL;DR: All of the above.

So per affidavit testimony, two people, per the protocol, averred the weapon was not loaded with blanks (let alone live ammo), and neither of them noticed it was a real gun (or were too stupid to know this was something not permitted on a properly-run production), let alone noticed that there was a live round in the weapon.

But Baldwin, less weapons-savvy than either of them , would have made a difference and averting tragedy by "checking"... what, exactly?

Nextly, in their hop-skip-and-jump quest to assume Baldwin right into prison, all and sundry want to hold Baldwin to The Four Rules of firearm safety. How cute.

Sorry to break it to you, but

1) They don't apply here, or a host of other places, for multitudinous reasons.

2)They aren't the law, anywhere, AFAIK, and certainly not in NM criminal statutes. You could look it up, and I invite you to do so, and tell me where they are so codified. I'll wait.

So once again, the whole legal argument to the contrary based upon them can go suck it.

As we've hammered at again and again, Hollywood has 
The Seventy-nine Rules Of Firearms and Ammunition Safety, and which, besides being a wee bit more comprehensive than the Four Rules, have a much better safety record. They're also a lot more applicable to prop guns and blanks than are rules designed for live weapons designed to kill people, rather than for prop weapons, designed to not hurt anybody, with people standing at both ends of the hot range.

Any number of Brancasses in the lively internet discussion have tried to point out that, having  failed to "check" the weapon in the fatal shooting, Baldwin is therefore culpable for the resultant death, because he failed to exercise due regard and diligence in the matter of using an inherently dangerous device, and was therefore grossly negligent.

1) Due regard and diligence is a fine thing for actual guns firing actual bullets, which are  inherently dangerous. The movie industry doesn't use real guns on primary sets, ever, and so the items they use are not inherently dangerous. Brancasses trying to apply the wrong standard to the wrong implement fail the basic smell test. I'll shoot 100 prop guns at the jury itself from 30', and we'll see if there's any inherent danger. (Not really, that would be wildly prejudicial to the recockulous Imaginary Prosecution, so instead, we'll just shoot at cardboard cutouts of the jury, on a closed firing range.) Then we'll repeat the test with 100 real guns and real bullets, the exact kind not used in movies, and the exact one the Armorer never should have brought, and we'll see which one of the two is inherently dangerous.

2) Then I'll call Steven Spielberg to testify to the zero gun deaths in the Normandy Beach landing scene of Saving Private Ryan, which exact body count of no one was achieved using 500 prop guns shooting tens of thousands of blanks over several days of filming. Then we can get Ridley Scott to talk about all the people he didn't kill in Blackhawk Down under similar circumstances, then Chad Stahelski can talk about the zero dead from three John Wick movies (so far), and then Michael Mann can tell us about the three-day full-auto blastfest in downtown L.A. seen in Heat that killed another zero people, then we can get James Cameron to tell us about the inherent danger evidenced by the zero people he killed in The Terminator, Terminator II, Aliens, and True Lies, combined.

The one thing absolutely true about prop weapons is the almost utter lack of inherent danger. Provided you don't leave a slug in the barrel, or put them up against your own skull and pull the trigger, which are the only other two accidental gun deaths one even hears about in movie history.

The problem arose when a live weapon with a live round in it got introduced onto a film production set, when neither one of them were ever supposed to get there.

So, for the 500th time, who was it that fucked that up? "Paging Reed and Halls."

And lastly, the entire concept that Baldwin failed to exercise any diligence is recockulous prima facie, as any prosecutor would have beaten into his cheeks like Jack Nicholson slapping Faye Dunaway around in Chinatown:

Prosecution: "So, Mr. Baldwin, did you do anything, anything at all, to exercise due caution and circumspection to see that no one was harmed with your hand before the fatal shooting???"

Baldwin: " Yes, I did."

Prosecution: "Oh, really? And what was that?"

Baldwin: "I made sure that the production had hired an armorer, rather than put the whole load for everything on just a propmaster, along with all the other duties of the propmaster's job. Someone whose entire, sole job, as Armorer, was to provide the entire production the correct weapons for the show herself, ensure that none of them could harm anyone accidentally, ensure their safe functioning, hand them out and take custody of them except when they were necessary on set for rehearsal and camera work, clean and maintain them every single day, and take scrupulous regard for loading them with the proper dummy rounds, or blanks, as required, while preventing any situation where there could ever be a real gun capable of chambering live ammunition on set, and furthermore that they themselves would never bring any live ammunition on set, nor let any be loaded accidentally, and to conspicuously mark dummy rounds, blank rounds, and live rounds uniquely so that any one of them and all of them could be quickly and absolutely correctly identified by the armorer, and their designated assistant, who was to double check every weapon with the armorer every time, before handing it to myself or any other actor. That seemed to me to be a pretty specific amount of due caution and circumspection to me, based on Hollywood's 28 year history of not killing people on set utilizing the exact same system. In fact, it seems to me to be extremely foolish to depend in any way upon weapons amateurs like myself or any other actor, rather than to specifically employ a subject-matter expert on firearms and ammunition, whose job was to comply with the 79 specific rules and regulations Hollywood insists are safe practice, since decades and decades ago. That's the due caution and circumspection I employed, in this case, sir."

Prosecution: " further questions...witness is excused."

Followed by the shortest deliberation of verdict in history, about 15 seconds, before the jury finds, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the foreman of the jury wants to change his first name to Red, and tell the judge what he thinks about the Prosecution:

I want accountability for weapons screw-ups just as much as anybody, and maybe more so, because unlike 99% of the country, I've worked on movie sets, as well as being a "gun guy", on top of which I'm the one trying to save the lives of people who get plugged by jerks with guns, and have been doing so since before some of you were even born.

It's also why I want to make sure you go after the right dumbass, instead of kneejerk lynching the guy you don't like the most, just because of that.

Baldwin's an anti-gun fucktard (although I'll wager that tapers off a bit now, in volume if not in basic intelligence), and all that karma shitting right in his mouth now is epically deserved. Pile on with all of that you'd like. The memes and videos I've seen have been hilarious. But his criminal prosecution for any sort of negligence is simply jackassical overreach, springing from undisguised hatred, and not any rational approach to the facts at hand.

And I'll bet 90% of the people in this entire discussion haven't seen The Oxbow Incident once, and think 12 Angry Men is about last years' NBA championship losers.

Take a breath, and cool your jets.

What did happen, what should happen, and what will happen, are all up in the air. And there's no guarantee whatsoever the last two will be identical.

Besides, maybe a miracle will happen, and maybe you'll be able to have your way yet.

But I can't lose, because heads, I'm right, and tails, Baldwin goes to prison.

(And let's be serious: more than a few of you don't give a shit either way: If I told you the tide came in twice a day, you'd run down to the ocean to check it yourself, just because I said it, and that pisses you off. You don't have a dog in this fight, you've just got your panties in a twist because you're not happy until everyone else isn't either.

Get a new schtick. We're over and done with you. And we're tired of being Hoot Gibson explaining proper weapons safety to Captain Steele in the Mogadischu chow line.)

Comments? New evidence, and logic, with no more "Yahbut..." mulligans given, or fuggedaboudit.

The Society For The Protection Of Deceased Equine Critters rules are in full effect. 


Comedy Truth from Phil

And McThag piles on too!


BigCountryExpat said...

Interesting vidya on the Ytube of Ian McCollum (The Gun Jesus) inverviewing a guy who does the work for a HUGE amount of Hollyweird in converting 'real firepower' into 'Blank Firing Prop Guns'... mad amount of work... pretty interesting stuff.

Robert said...

Considering that what any of us think/feel/believe has nothing to do with The Baldwin Investigation, why not let the electrons take a break and post about something lighter like, I dunno, the impending apocalypse or sumthin'? It's not like any of the cementheads are gonna change their minds, y'know? Oh, look, freezing weather is nigh; no mosquitoes! Yay!

BTW, your insightful blog posts are always appreciated.

John Wilder said...

Next, you're gonna tell me that Burt Reynolds didn't do all of his own stunts in Hooper.

Jester said...

I think you've done a pretty decent job of laying the case out Aseop. And I think the fact that Baldwin has done such a complete job of making a jackass of himself in so many levels for so many years has everyone coming out thinking he's done and fucked up finally where he can be nailed to the wall.

That's not the case and I agree with something you said earlier that I think Ill expand upon some. Perhaps some folks will read and see the real karma at play.

He was the one that hired these folks yes? Or was involved some way at who was hired? Just think folks, his acting career is I'd give it 90% chance finished if not from him retiring or just no one wanting anything to do with him. If he gets the 18 months in jail, hell we've had a lot of actors/actoresses do some time and come back out just fine. The civil suits likely going to be leveled at him or his holdings are going to be -astronomical-. Even if they fight it and win it's still going to cost a fortune. And I'd guess that you would have a out of court settlement which will be enough to cripple him. I'll bet that all the above happens and he turns himself in to a hermit and is not heard from again.

Cincinnatus said...

IF nothing else, Ive learned a lot about the inner workings? of Hollywood, including the difference between takes,rehersals, gun safety on set, and a slew of other things. The circumstances surrounding this education are indeed regrettable, but its still neat! Thank you Aesop for peeling back the curtain a wee bit

Ray - SoCal said...

This stated the armorer had another title as prop master, so she was doing two jobs.

You never have a prop assistant double as the armorer,” Zoromski said. “Those are two really big jobs.”

Anonymous said...

All Baldwin‘s defense lawyer hast to do is print Aesop’s posts over the last for five days and read them verbatim to the Jury.

“Not guilty“.

Bill Quick said...

The civil suits likely going to be leveled at him or his holdings are going to be -astronomical-. Even if they fight it and win it's still going to cost a fortune. And I'd guess that you would have a out of court settlement which will be enough to cripple him.

I can tell you for sure (and I think Aesop will agree, if he thinks about it), that Hollywood won't reject Baldwin over this, because he and they are almost all lefties, and he is being attacks by online conservative mobs in full cry.

You know how families can be at each others' throats...until some outside attacks one of them, and all of a sudden they are united against the attack.

That's what will happen here.

Aesop said...

I don't think they're going to be astronomical.
a) They won't be able to successfully sue Baldwin for negligence (meaning they might, but they'll lose), so all liability will devolve to the actually negligent parties, and the production company.
b) The armorer is a 24 y.o. Millennial twat who's going to be broke by noon net week, and okingat the ass-end of an expensive trial, and a guilty felony verdict, followed by 18 months in prison. Her assets? Less than zero.
c) Dave Halls, 2d AD, and designated double-checker, is in line to lose his shit, (and probably his career in The Biz) Which probably isn't much, if working on this level of crapola is the best he can do.
d) 99:1 the movie production company is set up as an LLC, which means the only assets the company has, besides liability insurance, will be an empty bank account, a half-finished shitball movie that'll never get completed, let alone seen, and the rights to the script, with will be mostly worthless too.
e) Damages will be modest for the director, who's alive, and minimally affected. Not nothing, but not that much.
f) Dead DP Hutchins' family are the real victims. She's a DP, up and coming, with potentially 20-25 years of productive work ahead of her in The Biz, and an 8- or 9-year old (I forget) half orphan son and husband left behind.
The base rate for camera operators, which is well below her pay grade, is over $100/hr. That's $200K/yr, minimum. Probably double that, in reality.
So payout would be somewhere in the vicinity of $8M, before we even start tugging heartstrings for the little boy who's lost his mother, or the widower single-parent father who has to raise his son alone.
They'll take what liability insurance gives them, because there isn't anything more, and there won't be, and fighting for more will just eat up what they do get, to no likely improvement.
Son and husband are screwed, IOW. A few millions? Likely. It's a $6M production, and that's all been shot to hell.
If they get a check, they should run, not walk, to the bank to cash it.

It's all there's going to be.

Work on cheap-ass productions, pay the price.

Baldwin's career? probably just ended, even if no one told him.
He's good, but he ain't that good, he's not a A-lister anymore, and he's 63 or so.
and his favorite pet cause just spun around and bit him in the ass, with alligator teeth.

His best move is quietly retire from the big show, narrate documentaries, and find a hobby, like sailing, fly fishing, or golf.
The less he says about guns until the day he dies, the fewer times he'll wake up with a pie in his face.

a posse ad esse said...

Like a previous poster noted it looks like they combined the role of propmaster asst with armorer.
"Zoromski said he initially asked for a department of five technicians. He was told that “Rust” was a low-budget production and that plans were to use items from a local prop house. He modified his request to have at least two experienced crew members: one to serve as an assistant prop master and the other as an armorer, or gun wrangler, dedicated to making sure the weapons were safe, oiled and functioning properly.

But the “Rust” producers insisted that only one person was needed to handle both tasks.

“You never have a prop assistant double as the armorer,” Zoromski said. “Those are two really big jobs.”

Walters, the production manager, sent Zoromski an email Sept. 24 that read: “We’d really like one of the assistants to be the armorer that can push up on the gunfights and heavy armor days,” according to a copy of the email shared with The [LA] Times.
I don't think there are any criminal statues regarding knowingly creating a dangerous work environment with but this is egregious and will be his downfall in a civil suit.
I also read that they decided not to get one of the common insurance policies but damned if I can find out now.

It will be interesting to see if this meets the legal definition of reckless endangerment or criminal negligence. #Not a lawyer

Anonymous said...

Ok got it now. Anything else going on in the world?

Chris said...

Wow, this shit is still a topic/discussion..

I’m of the mind there are alot more important things happening that should see this level of writing and talk.

Hello Folks..
The Country is Disintergrating?
They wanna pay illegals what you only dream of.
There is no border.
The FBI has become the Stasi

And Bozo Baldwin is the Hot Topic?

Weeeeez doomed.
In my worthless opinion

Walter Coast said...

"Baldwin didn't "check"? Prove it. How do you know he didn't?"

If he checked, the headlines would have read "Alec Baldwin Finds Live Round in Prop Gun".

William said...

Interesting logic applied to this. Still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Keep up the good fight.

Avalanche said...

"They weren't shooting "takes". They were rehearsing for them. Takes are when they're actually filming, for those gloriously ignorant of the entire moviemaking process (yet somehow consider themselves competent to opine on it)."

So, are you arguing semantics? "Takes" vs. "rehearsals"? And yet you're (entirely legitimately: never doubt I agree with your broad, deep, and accurate experience IN the moviemaking world) claiming your own ascendency in how this whole fiasco will go because you know it would and should be handled IN "the entire moviemaking process"? Andrew Branca KNOWS -- and his position is based in as long a career in HIS field as you have in yours -- how this will likely go IN COURT. It really and truly does NOT matter how "the moviemaking world" views this. The court cases, the LEGAL investigations and assignment(s) of blame, have NOTHING to do with how the moviemaking world operates!

You're NOT arguing in the correct arena of expertise. You're saying that because the moviemaking world does it THIS way, that therefore the courts, can, should, and WILL do it that way.

Aesop said...

@ a posse,
Combining roles is economy, not necessarily negligence. Making it impossible for a person to keep up with their duties, and then ignoring the problems caused is.
As I said, UPM Walters is in for some very pointed questions on what was obviously poor planning and decision making.

@Anon 8:46A
You mean anything we haven't discussed 100 times?
Is the president still a fraud?
Is his party hell-bent on tearing the country down around our ears?
Are they driving Tyranny like a chariot, over the entire Constitution and body of laws of the nation?
Are they all batshit lunatics?
Are they inflating the currency so severely that Weimar/Zimbabwe isn't an if thing, it's a when thing?
Have they take a legitimate pandemic with a relatively mild 2-3% kill rate, and compounded it to destroy the economy, bring every human being in the country into total subjugation, and then promulgated fake vaccines with huuuuuge and potentially lethal side effects as the only cure?
Are the moonbats now on an unrestricted mission to destroy everything that we hold dear, blow up the country, and initiate a massive civil war, the likes of which conflict hasn't been seen since the First World War?
Should you be preparing for that, personally and corporately, to every degree humanly possible, and be flexible as to whether you're going to need to shelter in place, form a resistance underground, or literally take up arms in full-out open armed revolution? And then try to rebuild society, and civilization itself from the ashes?
Did we miss anything there? Or does that about cover the main points?

@Walter C,
If he'd fired a live round in a prop gun. he'd also be able to fit an elephant in his sock drawer. That what you described as a headline is entirely impossible has been the entire problem with this from Day One. Live rounds don't fit in prop weapons. If they do, it's not a prop weapon, and who fired it is irrelevant. The person who brought the live weapon and put the live round in it is the problem.

Aesop said...

"Takes" versus "rehearsals" is the difference between you looking at a centerfold, versus taking the actual Playmate of the Year on a date. That's not semantics, it's a difference in reality. When people try to spin bullshit fairytales, and can't even get the terminology of their story right, it tells me that someone totally unacquainted with the industry got caught telling whoppers.

How this fiasco will go is the realm of prophecy. I decline that mantle.
How it should go, based on the facts in evidence, rather than Brancass' wild assumptions, most in total ignorance of the salient facts of the case, and the milieu in which this occurred, are crucial points.
If Brancass told me in the case of a guy who pummeled someone, repeatedly for an hour, over and over and over, and which person subsequently died of massive brain injuries, then opined authoritatively from his massive fund of legal expertise that such a case was clearly outright murder after aggravated assault, without looking - and in fact, specifically dismissing and refusing to consider - any other facts of the case, do you think he'd look like a silly sonofabitch shyster if we informed His Legal Holiness that the incident in question was a televised National League Football game between the Bears and the Patriots, and the persons in question were opposing linemen on the respective teams?
That's the level of absolute legal ignorance masquerading as wisdom in Branca's assertions in this entire matter, and he hasn't made any notable effort to look beyond his law books at the actual world in question before issuing his dicta. That's not simple jackassery, it's gross jackassery, and why he's a jackass, in over his head. He cannot and evidently will not look out of his law books in the ivory tower, and look at the other 47 facts in the case, long enough to come up for air.
Context makes a wee bit of difference, and if he was sick the day in law school they mentioned that, he should have made the lesson up before he graduated.

If Baldwin had been carrying a real gun, that was his, that he'd loaded with live rounds, at a party, whipped it out, spun it around, pointed it, and killed someone there accidentally, Branca would be spot on. None of which happened here!

That Branca (and any number of "gun guys") thinks the fact that none of those conditions apply here, from A to Z, other than Baldwin having a weapon in his hands, explains why he's online, rather than busy in court, or living on a tropical island with a bigger pile of gold than Scrooge McDuck from his legal victories.

As to the "gun guys", they'd do well to listen a lot more than talk, and realize they don't have any experience whatsoever, nor familiarity with the setting and salient facts of this case, as should be immediately evident when they're asked, "So how many rounds have you fired on a movie set?"
"None? Okay, so we've established that exactly none of your gun wisdom everywhere else - which may, in its proper context, be exactly that - applies here in any way, starting with your fetishistic religious worship of The Four Rules, no matter how much you think they are a natural law of physics, handed down from Mt. Wisdom by Saint Cooper. Thanks for playing, STFU, and sit back down."

Mountain Lawyer said...

Well Aesop, now Branca, Dershowitz and Turley say Baldwin has criminal exposure. What do they know, right?

Aesop said...

He had criminal "exposure" the minute the gun went off. That's a given.

Criminal culpability, under the precise circumstances, is going to be a much tougher row to hoe.

His due diligence and circumspection were discharged the minute someone was hired to insure the exact tragedy that happened, couldn't ever, and more than a couple of legal experts have noted the same thing.
If I hire you to drive a truck, and you run someone over and kill them, because you failed to follow not one, but every single rule in the driver's handbook, I'm not the person going to jail, even if I started the truck's engine, and held the door for you to get in the cab. Civil liability? Certainly. Prison? Not unless I was materially at fault myself, and driving the truck I hired you to drive, recklessly.
Everyone wants to pretend that's different in this case, because they hate Baldwin.
Neither the D.A. in Santa Fe County, nor a jury, are likely to be similarly irrationally blinded.
But if they nonetheless do, and even convict, it would hardly be the first time in living memory when a prosecutor or a jury had lost their minds, and acted contrary to every rule of jurisprudence and basic common sense, now would it?

We've already dealt with Brancass' dearth of investigation into the particular facts of the case.
We doubt Turley or Dershowitz, given their actual life situation, have had any more time than Branca took to dig into this any more thoroughly, but if they have, contrary to my expectation, we'd love to see a link to same.

I'd like to see if they're just gainsaying the point, or if they actually bring some thought to the matter, and can advance a legal argument besides "Sorry, I don't know anything about all those irritating particulars", which is Brancass' entire stock in trade on this question, to date.

Including him into that trio does the other two a grave disservice, and makes them seem like Larry, Curly, and Moe.

a posse ad esse said...

Glenn Jarret has an interesting take on my previous question of reckless endangerment/criminal negligence, albeit not with regard to hiring Reed and Halls as I had guessed (at least, not directly) but with regard to his role as an on-site producer and whether that means he should have known about previous accidental discharges on set and what not. He admits to much not being known but does lay out HOW Baldwin could be guilty of manslaughter. He says it better than I can so...
"If Baldwin was merely a hired actor who simply followed directions on the set by relying on the assurance of the assistant director, there would be insufficient evidence to support an involuntary manslaughter charge against him. He would not be culpable at all under the law. But this was not the case during the shooting of the film.  

Baldwin served as an on-location producer for the movie. The terms of his contract are not known.  

Nevertheless, his additional role may have imposed upon him an affirmative duty of supervision for many aspects of the production, including some responsibility for the safety of the crew.  

If he had any reason to believe that there was a problem that might jeopardize the lives of individuals on set, he had a legal obligation to take steps to ensure their safety and security.  

Three former members of the film’s crew have reportedly stated that there were at least two accidental gun discharges on the set just days before the fatal shooting. These dangerous occurrences allegedly resulted in a complaint to a supervisor about safety practices on the set. This means that a repeat incident was entirely foreseeable. Was an investigation immediately conducted? Was the filming suspended until the problems were resolved? The answers are, so far, unclear.  

If it can be shown that Baldwin, as a producer, knew or should have known about inherently unsafe conditions involving firearms and, thereafter, failed to take corrective action to remedy the danger, he could arguably be held culpable under the law of manslaughter.  

Even if Baldwin was unaware of the prior gun mishaps, a prosecutor could effectively argue that a responsible producer would have put procedures in place to make sure that such vital information was conveyed to him in his executive capacity overseeing the filming while on the scene.  

Failure to do so would constitute the kind of recklessness or negligence the law forbids. An increase in responsibility for a production carries with it an increased duty to protect employees."

Again, a lot of speculation, but I find it interesting nonetheless. Then again, I suppose there is the same level of speculation in arguing either side of this since no one knows the details of this gigantic clusterfuck yet.

Markus Awreleous said...

Question on proper configuration of dummy rounds on movie sets (as opposed to blanks) when for example they’re used to achieve the realistic look of a loaded revolver when viewed from the muzzle, as your photo depicts: how are they SUPPOSED to be marked to distinguish them from live rounds? You know, when a COMPETENT armorer is involved… Are the primers left off? case color-coded? Pachmeyer snap caps? Something else? I would think when SAA revolvers or similar are used, you’d have to ensure a distinguishing feature was visually inspectable from the loading gate, at a minimum. Looking for what is considered best practice here.

Aesop said...

@ a posse,
In short, no, to any of that.
The person responsible for knowing with and dealing with the day -to-day minutiae is rather cleverly named the unit production manager. Sometimes, he may have a line producer supervising him, sometimes not. IDK if they had a line producer on this show (doubtful, but not impossible) but if it wasn't Baldwin, he has neither duty nor responsibility to know anything.
If Baldwin is an executive producer, he's merely the money, and his responsibility ended when he ponied up some of the dough to make the flick. He is no more responsibility for anything than a shareholder in General Motors has for a defective car.
In all likelihood, Baldwin's contribution to the flick was agreeing to be in it, in return for which he gets a "producer" title as an honorarium, and bragging rights in case it wins any awards, plus a piece of the gross if it ever shows a nickel profit. As it's unlikely to do any of those things, it was literally probably jut a "thank you" on top of his acting salary (which is probably bare SAG scale, Which is to Hollywood what the "league minimum" is the MLB, not anything like what he'd get for Top 5 billing in anything with a real budget), just for agreeing to appear in this piece of schlock.
jarret obviously doesn't understand the studio hierarchy either, and is grasping at straws.

The only responsible supervisor for the prior incidents is the UPM, and if they had one, the line producer. They have actual day-to-day duties and responsibilities, which is when line producers is virtually never one of the talent. Baldwin doesn't have time to learn lines, and also be on the phone to find out why the honeywagon pumper hasn't pumped out the shitters on location since yesterday, or track down how many people walked through the lunch line, and check the caterer's billing to make sure it matches the call list for the previous day.

A prosecutor could also try to jump up his own ass, and it wouldn't change the fact that unless Baldwin was actually formally in charge of overseeing every detail of the production as the line producer (if the show even had one), rather than just one guy out of 12 with "producer" credit, which is less likely than him being the long lost hereditary Czar of Russia, this is another dead end. He has no "executive authority" over production, and neither do most "producers". It usually comes down to one or two guys out of the laundry list of credits.
If they're really lucky, sometimes they get their money back, and if lightning strikes, they get a little gold statue to go on the mantelpiece.



Aesop said...


While I was typing this, just before I posted it, I did a quick search, and hit paydirt:
"In addition, sources who prefer to remain anonymous tell us that Donnell Smith was the day-to-day producer on Rust, who hired 3rd Shift Media, a production services company based in Atlanta. There are two Ryan Smiths associated with the Rust production: producer Ryan Donnell Smith and Ryan Dennett Smith who owns 3rd Shift Media.

Production sources also tell Deadline that 3rd Shift Media was involved in hiring Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. 3rd Shift Media employees also provided services on the production, including Gabrielle Pickle, Rust's line producer, and UPM Row Walters."


Walters and Pickle are the ones in a pickle.
And yet again, Baldwin is totally off the hook.
And Mr. Jarrett's Google-fu clearly sux.
That article took exactly 3 mouseclicks to hit.

BTW, it's worth noting that one of the executive producers quoted in that article, Alan Cheney, lied his ass off about the production:
"“Rust is a union-certified production, in good standing with all of the major production unions and guilds, including IATSE, the Teamsters, SAG, and DGA,” said Cheney. IATSE has ripped Rust for hiring non-union crew when the camera team walked out."

It was not "in good standing with IATSE", which is the umbrella international union of the AFL-CIO that covers everybody on a show except writers, directors, actors, and Teamsters.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is not a member of IATSE as far as I can tell (I did an online search of the industry experience roster, and she appears nowhere on it, under any combination of names), and union shows don't have non-union personnel like weapons handlers on them. Probably more than half the crew or more isn't union either. They may have been paying union scale to some members, but the minute they hired non-union scabs for the camera department when the Local 600 guys walked off the show, they were in de facto violation of any basic agreement, if they ever even signed one. Being a union show is like being pregnant; there's no such thing as "part way".

The rats are bailing off of this ship as fast as they can, and the AD (his title keeps shifting back and forth between 1st and 2nd) and armorer will be holding the bag, with the day-to-day supervising producer Smith, line producer Pickle, and UPM Walters holding the rest of it, for not firing Reed, and for hiring her in the first place, and for failing to take cognizance or corrective action after the prior mishaps.

Based on all available information, Baldwin should never even get indicted.
But he's going to be a star witness.

Aesop said...

@ Markus,
It varies somewhat, but as a general rule:
Dummy rounds have small holes drilled in the walls of the case, and where the powder charge would go they are filled with lead shot (larger than the holes) or BBs, so when shaken, they rattle. I've seen expended primers, deactivated live primers, and pieces of brass rod in the primer pockets. Also wood, or rubber eraser, painted with metallic brass paint.

Usually, you don't want something the camera is going to see, like on the case heads, (though if the camera isn't seeing those, I've seen them marked with a green stripe for dummies, red - or blue - for blanks, and red only for live rounds)* and you would shake them as you loaded them, with the weapons handler (armorer on this show) and the double-check person (AD Halls, foolishly) both present at the same time, to assure that only dummies had been loaded.

Blanks are usually wad-plugged or star-crimped, which is self explanatory.
Live rounds I'm assuming you already know.

As no blanks were to be loaded for the rehearsal, the actor wouldn't have needed to be present for any of this, and any cursory eyeball-only "check" through the loading gate by the actor would have been functionally worthless. As no actor was to be downrange, and no blanks had been loaded, the only check necessary was that of the armorer and her designated double-checker, who both failed abysmally in every possible way, starting with using a live weapon instead of a prop gun.

The two people hired by the production for their firearm expertise didn't have any, nor did they show any due diligence in performing mandatory duties.

Those two jackholes thus bear the entire responsibility for the mishap, and for everything else that happened, except for the responsibility for firing them for gross incompetence earlier, and for hiring them in the first place.

The wonder isn't that these two @$$clowns killed somebody on set; the miracle is that it took them 12 days to do it. They should both kill themselves now, and skip the trial, IMHO.

*[Propmaster's or weapons handler's individual choice; the rule merely requires "distinctive marking". I've also seen various marks like Xs and Os with sharpies, in black, or colors. As long as the handler knows what he's doing, it really doesn't matter. Just to mark them "distinctively". And to keep any live rounds for second unit shooting locked up separately securely, and keep any such the hell away from the set in the first place. This production did none of them, and was a lethal clowncarnucopia of fail.]

LSWCHP said...

Thanks for your very clear explanation of all this mate. I originally thought Baldwin was looking at a long stretch, but clearly not.

I appreciate the time you've put it explaining all this, against the constant attacks of the dim.

a posse ad esse said...

Fair enough, but like Jarrett carefully said, he hasn't seen what was in Baldwins contract. Neither have I. And, with all due respect, neither have you. So not one of us has any idea how much responsibility he chose to take on with this. Maybe it is exactly as you say. If so, who do those people report to? I presume someone is above them and that they, too, were hired by someone in the production.

a posse ad esse said...

Also, I think we all agree the armorer et al are the ones in serious trouble here and no one is saying they aren't. But that doesn't automatically preclude Baldwin from criminal liability until we know for sure what his contract said and where the buck was supposed to stop.

a posse ad esse said...

Found an answer to question regarding who supervises the UPM etc. According to veteran production workers that Buzzfeed interviewed "Producers are usually responsible for nearly every aspect of a film — financing, hiring, managing logistics, and supervising on set. There’s a hierarchy, and they’re at the top. When things go awry, veteran production workers told BuzzFeed News, the mistakes made on the ground — whether by an assistant director, an armorer, or a unit production manager — should be traced back to those who built and set everything in motion months before. And, workers say, there had been issues on several past Thomasville projects."

Aesop said...

The article at the link I provided lays it all out. Baldwin isn't in charge of anything, and any liability he bears is as a member of the shareholders (Producers) who set the production in motion.

Producers set up a production and designate one of the group (the line producer) to oversee all day-to-day. Period. Full stop. There's no other "secret" chain of command. That's it. The line producer reports to the production group as a whole, and is responsible for overseeing the UPM, who runs the show and hires and fires. The UPM is the one who addresses safety concerns. He does what needs to be done to keep the production running, on time, on budget, in consultation with the line producer and whomever the group has designated to liase with the UPM.

That's Donnell Smith (day-to-day liason), Gabrielle Pickle (line producer), and Raw Walters (UPM).

Baldwin was none of those people. He apparently provided the original script, in return for which, and for acting in the production (and probably no seed money of his own), was given a producer credit.

Anything else is just another another "Yahbut", and grasping at straws.
He's not The Guy.
Any liability that attaches to him is either for the actual act (which ought to be nil) and for being a member of The Company making the film, which is civil, and covered by production insurance. As an LLC, any fault of The Production legally ends at the assets of that LLC. Which, as we stated, is an empty bank account, and rights to a script, plus a can of film. The insurance payout is going to be the whole pot there is, and it won't be fabulous sums of money.

That's. It.

Getting harmed by such a production is a lot like getting hit by an illegal alien with no car insurance.

Nahanni said...

Prop Tart! LOL!

I am SO stealing that!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Aesop - Second to LSWCHP for your lengthy and (rather tireless) explanation of all of this. I am indeed one of the 99.9% of the people that has (literally) no idea how these are all made.

I am trying to fight the inherent reaction I have for Baldwin to suffer because I find him to be rather tiresome and loudmouthed. That said, it might be a decent him for him to and take some of his money and set up some sort of account for the child - ideally with no publicity, just do it.

As a martial arts practitioner, the thought has occasionally occurred to me that in the event I resulted in severe injury or even worse (unlikely in our art, but still possible), what would I do after that? Honestly, I think I would just not perform the art anymore, both from a general reluctance as well as the very real knowledge that my practice of it injured (or worse) another human being. Would that Mr. Baldwin takes your advice and considers a quiet, introspective retirement.

Anonymous said...