Thursday, January 19, 2023

Re: Baldwin


So, apparently the NM prosecutor wants to finally pee on the electric fence, and after only fifteen months(!) without any prosecutorial movement, has finally decided to charge somebody (actually, more like everybody that wouldn't cop a plea in return for a wrist slap) with involuntary manslaughter for the wrongful death of Halyna Hutchins on the doomed production of the low-budget piece of guaranteed schlock known as Rust. (We leave it for legal aficionados to explain how Baldwin could face two counts of manslaughter for one death, but maybe New Mexico D.A.s took Common Core math. We suspect it likely that NBC correspondidiots simply cannot count nor use English adequately, and the reality of the charges will be explained in due course.) Desperation in court is a poor legal strategy, and letting one of the criminally culpable guilty parties plead out for six months' probation, which will likely be over before this even goes to trial, isn't going to play well in Albuquerque, or anywhere else.

We refer all and sundry to our previous posts on the topic, most particularly this one.

Other than that, we reiterate that Baldwin's indisputably an anti-gun five-star asshat who deserves all the karma he gets from this, and it pains us to note that unless he brought the live weapon to the set himself, and loaded it with live rounds himself, in violation of every procedure of every movie and TV production set going back decades and decades, his demonstrable criminal culpability in this incident remains at nil.

Starting with the obvious questions (by either side) in open court:

"According to industry wide safety regulations, whose sole and entire JOB is it, on production sets, going back to before anyone of the RUST set was born, to handle, load, supervise, and ensure the total safety and inability of prop weapons to cause death or injury to result on set from the use of any such prop weapon, barring a blatant violation of the safety rules?"

Rend your garments and gnash your teeth all you like, but unless you have new information at this point (a likelihood expressible as somewhere between dubious and naught), further blather will be pointless. And that barring severe mental retardation in court (not unlikely in the current legal climate) we suspect most of you are going to be even more pissed off
after the trial than you've been in the days between the incident and this indictment.

Learn to live with monstrous disappointment.

We cannot lose here, as either Baldwin walks - which would be the proper legal judgement based on the facts at large - or in a gross miscarriage of justice, he goes to prison. Win-win, from a karmic perspective, and heads-I-win-tails-you-lose from the standpoint of justice in a court of law. If you wish to scream and froth in praise of poor jurisprudence, you're at the wrong address.

We've already had blood relatives prove themselves incapable of any dispassionate and rational discussion on the subject, and have neither the time nor inclination to referee and shovel the leavings of frothing anonymous idiots of the internet yet again on this topic. The horse has been beaten to molecules months and years since. Put the stick down, and wait for the unparalleled comedy-tragedy of the actual trial. Bring popcorn.


Anonymous said...

Not sure, but I haven’t heard that a jury had heard this case. I have faith in our court system (kinda).

Dan said...

Baldwin pointed the pistol at her and pulled the trigger. Intent is irrelevant. Knowledge of whether or not the gun was loaded is irrelevant. His act directly led to a death. That is the definition of INVOLUNTARY Manslaughter. He is gui!ty. I bet they even have film of him shooting her. The only question is will he try to cop a plea, will the prosecutor accept a plea and if found guilty...which shpuld be a slam dunk verdict....will he serve any meaningful time in prison.

Mike-SMO said...

I don't have any theater experience. Are "common sense" rules of firearm handling enforceable by law? Obviously they were working without the set armorer present.

John Wilder said...

Had a conversation about this with The Mrs. today, and made the point that, "There is no rational gun safety system that relies on the intelligence of Alec Baldwin (or any actor)." Having been educated via your previous posts on the arts and practices associated with those systems, we had a lively discussion.

Her response was familiar to you from zillions of comments, and well argued (she is wicked smart). The culmination was:
"You're wrong."
"No, *you're* wrong."

That's where we ended it.

The only counterpoint (in reading the DA's comments in the article) was that "industry standard had no bearing on the law in New Mexico."

In the end, I'm just going to pop some popcorn and watch, since there is no planet on which this will ever be something that impacts my life. Unless I take up acting.

GMay said...

I'd link it, but no idea if links work. From an LA Times article dated Jan 19th:

“Regardless of what the practice may be in the entertainment industry, and regardless of what the protocols are on Hollywood sets, that’s not the law,” [Beverly Hills entertainment attorney Mitra] Ahouraian said. “The gun was in his hands. And if there’s any possibility that you are handling something that could harm someone, then you have an obligation to handle it safely.”

“Everyone in that chain of custody had some responsibility,” said Joshua Kastenberg, a law professor at the University of New Mexico. “The ‘it’s not my job’ defense just doesn’t fly.”

Carl Bussjaeger said...

"We leave it for legal aficionados to explain how Baldwin could face two counts of manslaughter for one death..."

Alternate charging. It isn't an attempt to convict him on both, but to give the jury a choice of charges on which to convict. One charge carries a potential 18 month sentence, while the other has a basic 18 month sentence plus a five year minimum for the use of a firearm in manslaughter.

And like it or not, despite Hollywood "standards" of someone else being responsible, Baldwin did manage to violate every basic firearm handling safety rule. I have known six year old to learn and follow the rules that escaped the 64 year old actor who's been handling firearm in films for years.

C said...

You're still right about all of it. It's funny that most people always spouted "the guns are tools" thing up until the Baldwin movie fuck up.

Aesop said...

Since posting "no comments" didn't make the point, we shall re-iterate laboriously-elucidated previous points:

1) The "Four Rules" have no place in criminal law. Not anywhere, in 50 states of 7 US territories, nor anywhere else on the planet, nor in any legal or criminal code extant.
2) Industry rules, from any industry, do have actual legal standing, in this or any similar case. You could look that case law up.
3) When you hire people whose sole function is to do a specific thing (for instance, to make sure the bolts on a jet engine are properly tightened, and they instead remove them, and the engine falls off mid-flight and kills someone) you cannot and do not prosecute (the pilot in the example given or) someone else, (because he "could have looked at the engine, and seen the bolts were missing") as if they somehow have a duty to do the work of subject-matter experts who failed to perform their job in an act of gross criminal negligence and reckless endangerment. You prosecute the person(s) who violated all standard safety and maintenance rules. This does not change because we're talking about a gun instead of a jet engine, or brakes on a truck, or any other thing, no matter how much anyone may wish otherwise. You're violating this concept of basic jurisprudence in Baldwin's case simply because you dislike him, which won't pass a smell test: i.e. it stinks, because the very idea is full of shit.
4) There is no chance that any properly supervised prop on a set could injure or kill someone unless everyone responsible for ensuring that level of safety abdicates all responsibility, and violates every safety regulation in place for decades, because they're grossly and recklessly incompetent. Meet Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and Dave Halls. That's why the firearms guidelines for actual weapons, which you imagine apply here, have no bearing whatsoever on safety and due diligence, and why this has to be so every single time.
{The fact that Baldwin was handed a loaded firearm, and one of the two persons directly responsible for ensuring that exact thing could never happen on any set, ever, has already been admitted and pled guilty to by one of the guilty parties in return for a slap on the wrist, is a fact the defense will make no small example of in this case. A prosecutor who goes after the innocent based on the word of an admitted criminally negligent felon isn't covering themselves with glory, nor will endear their judgement to the jury nor judge to any notable degree, absent a gross miscarriage of justice.}
5) When I hand you a potato, and don't tell you it's actually a bomb with the fuse lit, my subterfuge and failure of due diligence doesn't dragoon you into culpability when it explodes in your hand.

Aesop said...

6) By definition and black-letter rules, movie props are not - and not to ever be - actual firearms. The only way that happens, is for the people hired to make it so substituted actual firearms with live ammo for a harmless prop gun with dummy rounds. It also means firearms rules self-evidently apply to firearms, not props, and the substitution of one for the other is precisely the legal point of culpability at issue.
(So instead of going back to your "Who's On Third?" routine, answer the questions: Who brought a live gun to set? Who put live ammo in it? Who handed it to the actor?" Case closed.) Therefore, unless Baldwin brought the real gun to set himself, and loaded it with his own real ammo, then he is not the guilty party, and the person(s) who broke all the rules to do that is. [Pro Tip: One of them has already pled guilty to doing exactly that. Any decent judge should throw the case against Baldwin out on pre-trial motions, with prejudice, just based on that admission, unless the prosecution can claim Baldwin was notified by Halls/Reed of the switch knowingly. QED] And unless they broke all the rules, then there's nothing inherently dangerous about the exact rehearsal of pointing and firing a prop directly at the camera, which was carried out, as was well-known to be the exact point of the rehearsal to Baldwin, and the entire crew, in accordance with a written script of the rehearsal published and promulgated to the entire cast and crew days in advance of the rehearsal and that was, in fact, carried out. You have to do contortions and violence to the English language to deny those obvious facts, or pretend they don't undermine your entire arguments to the contrary.
7) You don't get to overlook 28 uninterrupted years of total safety by following the relevant industry regs despite more simulated weapons firing at people than the Korean War on TV and movie sets, nor overlook the violation of nearly every single one of 79 separate and clearly articulated, widely-published, and longstanding industry-wide standards of safe practice in an Ahabic quest to spear your white whale, no matter how much you admire the determination of the Pequod's captain, unless you first admit your delusional fervor in that endeavor, thus disqualifying you from any further input on the case. ("It was the strawberries that proved that the crew was against me!")
8) Take a look at the industry standards, and tell the class what industry rule Baldwin violated. Otherwise, in simple terms, STFU.
Because you self-evidently don't know what you don't know, and you don't know what you're talking about, no matter what you may imagine to be the case, and the longer you opine about things you cannot grasp, the more obvious you make that state of affairs.

Aesop said...

@Carl B.,
Thanks for that. I hadn't considered that option, and it makes perfect sense.
(Whether NBC can count or speak English is still up for grabs.)

realwesterner said...

Alec Baldwin, unlikeable as he is, proves yet again, however, that the very worst place, the most dangerous place for a firearm is in the hands of a liberal. That said, these raging celeb radicals insist on trying to earn their kibble and wood chips by selling pictures of themselves in action repose wielding firearms, and then use their celebrity and work with their might and bluster, and echo-chamber logic to diminish those that appreciate firearms and use them responsibly, and to make illegal such use. Whatever happens in the courts is almost irrelevant as the NM courts are a leftist driven failure, NM insists on aspiring to attaining Hellywood away from Hellywood status, the press in NM is itself an abject failure, and rich white hippies have been screwing with and screwing up NM since the 50's or before. The only way the matter could have been better (more ineptly) handled by all parties would have been to delay until Baldwin was in his 80's and then prosecute him.

Aesop said...

Working on set for years, I always said, even presuming competent propmasters and weapons handlers, that putting a prop gun in any actor's hand bordered on professional incompetence. I've seen them, after copious warnings with blank-loaded ones, muzzle sweep an entire crew, and walk off with empty prop guns, rehearsing lines, as they pull the triggers on revolvers repeatedly. They are generally just idiots with day jobs.

And, just like Teddy Kennedy, Baldwin's still killed more people than my entire gun collection.

All he lacks is legal culpability, and he's still a jackass. Karma's a bitch.

June J said...

If we could try and convict someone for being generally unlikeable and obnoxious...most of Congress would be behind bars. As would academics, media personalities, my neighbor across the street (who would probably say the same about me, but he's an a-hole).

Anonymous said...

I apologize if this has already been covered, but as one of the lead producers on the film Alec Baldwin is legally responsible for everything that happens on that production. The information about the lax security procedures and safety violations that were happening were his responsibility, and the list is extensive. He should have been aware of it. As to his contention that he didn't know the gun was loaded, the question I would like to see him asked is "Mr. Baldwin, if the scene had called for you to put the barrel of the gun against your head and press the trigger, would you have checked to make sure the gun was empty or relied on the armorer and prop master?"

Aesop said...

Dear Wisely Anonymous,

You've demonstrated brilliantly how one person can get so much wrong in four lines, it takes two pages of response to correct the errors.

1) Since you obviously haven't done so, click back and read the post I linked to from 15 months ago (merely the last among many such on this topic). Baldwin was but one of a dozen or so producers, and was legally responsible for nothing but providing the script. Which he did in exchange for a producer credit.

Your theory is that if someone dies in a Mustang because the brakes fail, Ford CEO Jim Farley could be criminally prosecuted. Best wishes advancing that line of legal nonsense. By that same theory, whoever made the gun itself should be criminally liable for Hutchins' death as well. Think long and hard about the global 2A consequences before you espouse that particular load of cobblers.

2) The beauty of an LLC is that the only money to be had is a share of the profits (that would be $0 to date, and probably in perpetuity), and the worth of the film itself (which, partially completed, is also worth $0). Other than a potential liability insurance payout on any policy secured by the production company, there's nothing whatsoever to be had in a civil suit, unless you can prove someone was grossly negligent in their job performance, which opens them up to personal civil responsibility for damages. Two people for a certainty, and perhaps as many as four, fit that bill. None of them is named Alec Baldwin.
And other than Baldwin, one of the four - likely and undeniably the guiltiest by far - has lawyered up since Day One, and the other pled guilty in exchange for a wristslap plea deal.
Draw your own conclusions from that.

3) The prop gun was supposed to be a) non-fireable, and b) loaded with dummy rounds, not empty. So Baldwin would have seen exactly what was in the gun: rounds that looked exactly like real ones. This is why actors aren't given orange squirt guns for filming either. We have listed the multiple consecutive safety failures elsewhere that led to what happened, and none of them are Baldwin's (nor any other actor's) to notice, prevent, or in any way intervene.

4) Actors do not "check" guns, ever. Having professional assclowns do so would kill people, probably on a weekly basis, which is why it's strictly forbidden in the industry, by both custom and policy. Doing so, in fact, would get an actor pulled aside and warned the first time, and probably fired the second time. (Any actor saying different is talking out his own ass.) The two hired employees whose express job it was to check all weapons couldn't tell they'd loaded a live round or rounds instead of dummy rounds, directly because of their comprehensive incompetence and gross reckless criminal negligence in violating nearly every rule of safe gun and ammunition use on set, so no one else could have done so either, including Baldwin, and neither could you or I. The director and DP, the two people shot, could have witnessed the loading had they asked to do so, but despite having been on set the entire time, evidently expressed no desire to do so. Probably because they couldn't conceive of their co-workers deliberately and consciously ignoring and violating some 60+ specific black-letter rules (out of about 79, AFAIK) designed to prevent exactly the incident that happened. So your hypothetical is moot, and your erroneous assumptions demonstrate that you don't know what you don't know.

Aesop said...

And you still haven't listed any safety rule that Baldwin violated. Not least of which because that number is still zero, as it has been on that day and ever since.

But you've demonstrated brilliantly that almost everyone who thinks they know what should have happened knows no such thing.

There was a simple way to prevent this: it's called Follow the published safety bulletins to the letter. Exactly like everyone else has done consecutively and unfailingly on every production for the last 29 years, and probably three times that long. AFAIK, only two people have been killed by prop weapons on production sets in recorded American cinematic history since Edison invented the thing, both of them by crew members violating the safety rules, and one by an actor performing the exact jackassical act, unscripted, that you came up with as a hypothetical idea. (That should come as a hint as to how stupid it is under nearly any circumstances.) By contrast, weapons ranges, where the Four Rules are supposed to reign supreme, knock off two people a month most years since ever, and the number of bullet holes on any firing range everywhere but downrange behind the targets demonstrates how well that safety policy works. You decide which record is a better example.

So nice try, but this has all been dealt with comprehensively ad infinitum long months ago, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

Don said...

I dry fire constantly. Whenever I leave a weapon, for any amount of time out of my direct possession...take a leak, make a sandwich, whatever...I check it to be sure it's unloaded and safe when I return. This turd should not be held to any lower standard. When you are handed a gun, YOU make sure YOU ascertain its condition. No blame shifting, no blame sharing...period. Make an example out of this arrogant, hypocritical cocksucker for all the world to see.

Aesop said...


You dry fire what constantly...??

Here's a challenge for you: see if you can discern, from the voluminous expositions on the subject I've already written, why every single point you made is completely irrelevant to this discussion, and has no bearing whatsoever on the facts of this case.

The only example you would be making would be trying to declare an apple is really an orange, and then looking puzzled when the juice you get from squeezing it doesn't meet your expectations.

kemp said...

"In the early morning hours of July 23, 1982, Morrow and two child actors, seven-year-old Myca Dinh Le and six-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen, were filming on location in California, in an area that was known as Indian Dunes, near Santa Clarita. They were performing in a scene for the Vietnam sequence, in which their characters attempt to escape out of a deserted Vietnamese village from a pursuing U.S. Army helicopter.[2] The helicopter was hovering at approximately 24 feet (7.3 m) above them when the heat from special effect pyrotechnic explosions reportedly delaminated the rotor blades[16] and caused the helicopter to plummet and crash on top of them, killing all three instantly. Morrow and Le were decapitated and mutilated by the helicopter rotor blades, while Chen was crushed by a helicopter skid.[17]

Landis and four other defendants, including the helicopter pilot Dorsey Wingo, were ultimately acquitted of involuntary manslaughter after a nearly nine-month trial. The parents of Le and Chen sued and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Both of Morrow's daughters also sued and settled for an undisclosed amount."

This will end up as a civil matter.

Tucanae Services said...

I know nothing about set rules and the like but would follow the rules my ole man set. You dump the cartridges if a revolver or pull the mag in an auto. Clear the chamber. Only then can you assume the gun is clear, and don't assume. Were I an actor on a set I would insist that I watch the armorer prep and load the weapon. Immediately handed to me for the scene and back to the armorer upon completion and I observe them empty the gun. That sets a clear chain of evidence of both condition and possession through out. That's the basics and I am sure I missed something.

Aesop said...


If you were at a shooting range, that'd be great.

Shooting range. Movie set.
One of these things is not like the other one...

And if you were the actor on a working set, you'd be fired on Day One, and never work again.

But if you were the weapons handler, that's their entire job on set.

So for probably only the 4,382d time, let's all see if we can work out who f**ked up there.

Everyone's first mistake, from which all subsequent ones proceed, is a total failure to apprehend the reality that weapon handling rules DO NOT APPLY to things which are not supposed to EVER BE WEAPONS. Say it with me, everyone, 100 times, or until the penny drops for you. Otherwise, you're reading hand grenade range rules for hand grenades about children's lunchpail thermoses, as if the two things and places were somehow interchangeable.

Getting that point totally, utterly, and completely wrong, OVER AND OVER AGAIN ad infinitum, is why 99.99% of comments are totally irrelevant to the entire topic and case.

Everyone keeps wanting to make this gun range rules.

Quick poll: How many live rounds are supposed to fly out of live weapons on a movie or TV production set? EVER?? ____________________

Bueller? Beuller? Ferris Bueller? Anyone? ANYONE??

Once you get that answer correct, get back to me, and see if we can catalogue which, and how many, prop non-weapon and ammunition safety rules had to be violated, and by whom, before the prop was put into Alec Baldwin's hand, and then see if we can figure out why I've said what I said, since Day Zero when this hit the wires.

Aesop said...


You should know that long after the fact, I've talked with quite a number of parties to the Twilight Zone manslaughter case. Because it was every medic's nightmare working on set.

The producers and director, John Landis, should have done lengthy prison sentences.
1) The production lied to the county fire inspectors, and sent the three fire inspectors out into the surrounding hills, lying to them that this was where their stunt would create the greatest danger, when they knew doing pyro blasts under a helicopter was the actual danger zone.
2) The production assigned production assistants to follow each of the fire inspectors (the only people who can halt filming on the spot, for any reason, and their word is literally law), and to report via radio walkie talkie when they were each sufficiently distant not to see what was being rigged to happen on camera.
3) The told the teacher that the kids were with the parents.
4) They told the parents the kids were with the teacher.
5) The kids were with neither the parents nor the teacher, and were on set after their work permits required them to be "wrapped" and sent home for the night, and participating in the SFX/stunt, despite the fact the there are no "kid stunts", because that's illegal, and did so without anyone acting in loco parentis, in the kids' best interests.
6) They told the SFX pyrotechnician to make the blast bigger, because the helo would be flying much higher.
7) The told the helo pilot to fly lower, because the pyro blast was going to be much smaller than it was.
8) After the whole thing literally blew up in their faces, the entire production heads at Amblin, including Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, were on airplane flights within the hour out of Burbank airport, to Mexico, where they were safely beyond the power of investigators to question or subpoena. And stayed there for weeks.

I got all of this firsthand from teachers, fire inspectors, effects persons, and Amblin production staff members present in person at the time.
IOW, they knew they were breaking all the rules before, during, and after the incident, and when it bit them in the ass, they threw the crew members under the bus, blew town ahead of the posse, and lawyered up.

And that's why Landis et al should have gone to prison.

The situation on Rust was simply a non-union low-budget production who hired an incompetent Prop Tart with delusions of competence. Gutierrez-Reed and Halls should be doing five years in prison for manslaughter via gross criminal negligence and reckless disregard for proper safety procedures. And the reason Gutierrez-Reed isn't even in the prop local is because she didn't even have the minimum of 30 days' work on union shoots, and was thus ineligible for the bare minimum of experience to get into that union local.

They didn't break any laws until someone got shot, and the persons responsible were simply morons, not criminal conspirators.

Neither Halls nor Gutierrez-Reed will probably ever work in the business again, but they still both deserve hard time in prison, because they got two people shot, and someone was killed, because of their criminal negligence.

SteveP said...

I left this comment at Kenny's place just before the charges were announced.

I predict that Baldwin will be held blameless, which is the correct decision. I hate him as much as anyone here, but he's not at fault. Here's why.
To an actor on a movie set or a stage a gun is a prop, no different than a lamp or a coffee cup. The vast majority of actors know nothing about guns and how to handle them. That's why production companies hire armorers. The armorer has absolute responsibility for all weapons on the set.
You may not have noticed, but it's part of an actor's job to point guns at people and otherwise handle guns in ways that would get anyone thrown out and banned from any gun range. The actors rely on the armorer to keep everyone safe and the rules for handling guns on movie sets reflect this.
People are flipping out because Baldwin violated the four rules that we live by. I hate to have to tell you this but the "four rules" don't apply on movie sets. (see the previous paragraph) They have 72 rules regulating weapons on movie sets, one of which is that actors are not to manipulate the controls on a weapon, including checking to see if it's loaded, unless instructed to do so. I found the list of rules shortly after the Rust shooting but it has since been memory holed for some reason.
People were quitting the production in protest of conditions. Among the complaints were that Hannah Reed, the armorer, wasn't following the protocols for weapon safety. She didn't keep the weapons secure and organized properly and she allowed live ammunition on set. Dave Halls, the assistant director that handed Baldwin the gun, was not authorized to touch any weapon, ever, on the set. He picked it up from an unsecure prop cart and gave it to Baldwin, telling him it was safe. Baldwin didn't check to see if it was loaded because he wasn't instructed to do so, per the rules. The mistake that he made was in accepting a weapon from someone other than the armorer or her assistant. For that he may share some measure of blame.
If any criminal charges are announced, I think Reed and Halls will face manslaughter or negligent homicide. Any culpability that Baldwin may have is that, as a producer, he didn't fire

At the time I wrote that I didn't know the extent of Baldwin's responsibilities as a producer. Now it appears that he had none.
I think the only thing that possibly makes him liable in any way is that he accepted a weapon from someone who was not authorized to handle them. As an experienced actor who has worked on productions where weapons were used he should have known better.
I've seen comments that Baldwin was playing with the gun but the witness reports I've read all say that they were rehearsing a scene that called for Baldwin to point the gun at the camera.

Wayne said...

"As we've hammered at again and again, Hollywood has The Seventy-nine[sic] Rules Of Firearms and Ammunition Safetyand which, besides being a wee bit more comprehensive than the Four Rules, have a much better safety record."
Uh, no, they don't. Following the link you provided in the post from last year, it lists 35 points, not 79. Maybe you should pick up a copy of Innumeracy.
Strike One.
"Besides being a wee bit more comprehensive than the Four Rules" LOL. If you take a look at page 4 of the document that YOU linked, you will see(to begin with):
1. NEVER POINT a firearm at anyone, including yourself.
2. NEVER PLACE your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Keep
your finger alongside the firearm and off the trigger.
3. KNOW WHERE AND WHAT your intended target is.
The first three "rules" listed here are basically threeof the Four Rules that you crapped on.
Strike Two.
At the footer of each page of the document that YOU linked, it says, " SAFETY BULLETINS ARE RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES ONLY; CONSULT ALL APPLICABLE RULES AND REGULATIONS". So they aren't legal "rules" with the force of law after all.
Strike Three.

Wayne said...

And also there is this from Actor's Equity.

Use simulated or dummy weapons whenever possible.
Treat all guns as if they are loaded and deadly.
Unless you are actually performing or rehearsing, the property master must secure all firearms.
The property master or armorer should carefully train you in the safe use of any firearm you must handle. Be honest if you have no knowledge about guns. Do not overstate your qualifications.
Follow all instructions given by the qualified instructor.
Never engage in horseplay with any firearms or other weapons. Do not let others handle the gun for any reason.
All loading of firearms must be done by the property master, armorer or experienced persons working under their direct supervision.
Never point a firearm at anyone including yourself. Always cheat the shot by aiming to the right or left of the target character. If asked to point and shoot directly at a living target, consult with the property master or armorer for the prescribed safety procedures.
If you are the intended target of a gunshot, make sure that the person firing at you has followed all these safety procedures.
If you are required to wear exploding blood squibs, make sure there is a bulletproof vest or other solid protection between you and the blast packet.
Use protective shields for all off stage cast within close proximity to any shots fired.
Appropriate ear protection should be offered to the cast members and stage managers.
Check the firearm every time you take possession of it. Before each use, make sure the gun has been test-fired off stage and then ask to test fire it yourself. Watch the prop master check the cylinders and barrel to be sure no foreign object or dummy bullet has become lodged inside.
Blanks are extremely dangerous. Even though they do not fire bullets out of the gun barrel, they still have a powerful blast than can maim or kill.
Never attempt to adjust, modify or repair a firearm yourself. If a weapon jams or malfunctions, corrections shall be made only by a qualified person.
When a scene is completed, the property master shall unload the firearms. All weapons must be cleaned, checked and inventoried after each performance.
Live ammunition may not be brought into the theatre.
If you are in a production where shots are to be fired and there is no qualified property master, go to the nearest phone and call Actors' Equity Association. A union representative will make sure proper procedures are followed.
State and federal safety laws must be honored at all times.
If any of the above safety tips conflict with the instructions given by a qualified instructor, abide by the instructions from the qualified instructor. If you are still not sure, contact your Equity Business Representative.

The Overgrown Hobbit said...

Since Mr. Baldwin has spent his power and fortune demanding that we peons be tried in the court of Feelz, everyone who takes the tack that he is guilty as sin, is correct.

The facts of the law, and the rules for actors and handguns ought to exonerate him, but they shouldn't.

Unless, and this is the only arguable point, that ship has not sailed, and rule of law is still possibly.

Convince me please. I'd love to be wrong.

Aesop said...

I give you a B+ in your understanding of the situation.
The only error you made was thinking Dave Halls was unauthorized to handle weapons.
The reality is that he should have been (because assistant directors have no business handling weapons), but due to the low-budget/non-union nature of the schlock production that was Rust, Halls had been the designated second person/witness to double-check and assist Guttierez-Reed in double-checking, handing out, and retrieving weapons on that set.

Normally, a properly staffed and run production would have hired and designated an additional prop person/weapons assistant to do that job, because
a) such a person would have weapons and prop experience,
b) it's within the scope of their department's responsibilities, and
c) that's simply common sense, not to mention
d) the 1st A.D. is literally the person who runs the entire shoot from a technical standpoint (not the director), and has far too many things to co-ordinate to be responsible for weapons,
but Rust was a cheap-ass production, and like money, and due to its lack, common sense wasn't in high supply on that show.
Halls also has a prior history of inserting himself into weapons handling on prior productions, and had been disciplined for it, so the Hollywood version of Dunning-Kruger was in play here.

Having Halls do the job could have worked, if he were both competent and diligent in doing it as an additional duty, but self-evidently, he was neither, and along with bumbling incompetent Guttierez-Reed, it was the blind leading the blind.

Nonetheless, Halls was, in fact, the designated weapons assistant to Guttierez-Reed, that was the agreed upon arrangement, so Baldwin, having nothing to do with that decision, and no say in it, was doing what he was supposed to do when handed a prop weapon from Halls, and committed no errors in doing so.

The errors were hiring an inexperienced bumbling incompetent as the armorer, and then designating another one, outside his entire production duties and responsibilities, to be the co-idiot.

Everything that happened subsequently was simply as inevitable as gravity, working.

Halls has already pled guilty to being exactly that criminally negligent boob, in exchange for a six month probation and no prison time, instead of getting the five years in prison he deserves for gross criminally negligent and recklessly indifferent incompetence leading directly to two people getting shot, one of them to death.

Aesop said...


Before you dislocate your elbow patting yourself on the back, you might wish a wee bit more information that evidently eluded you. To wit:

A) Actor's Equity rules are utterly meaningless. You don't know what you don't know here, and apparently were unwilling, incapable, or simply whjolly ignorant of the fact (and thus didn't know you didn't know) that Actor's Equity is the acting body governing behavior for theatrical plays on stages. if this had been a play on Broadway, or even in Peoria, that would have been a wizard source. As it was on a motion picture production set, citing it is a bonehead move. The correct body to which to refer (shocker, but news to you) is SAG-AFTRA, which is signatory to the Safety Guidelines I cited, put out by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
But hey, thanks for sourcing where any number of internet idiots think actors are supposed to point the stage props off-line from their fellow actors, because those rules make total sense on a stage play, where the auddience's perspective allows you to get away with that, but which is jackassically obvious on a TV show or motion picture where the cameras see everything, and such obvious half-assed attempts would look as fake as a Biden election result.
But you still missed that one by a mile. Strike One.

B) If you'd had the wit to read what I linked to for about another one second, you'd realize I linked to the entire catalog of 61 (at last edition) Safety Bulletins - the Safety Bible for the production movie, TV, and commercial industry nationwide - from the Contract Services group at AMPTP, signed by all the major and minor studios and television networks, all the above-the-line guilds (SAG_AFTRA, DGA, PGA, etc.) as well as the entire below-the-line crafts and services (IATSE, Teamsters, etc.) which covers everyone who actually makes the movies and TV shows, including, most particularly, the property department, which encompasses propmasters and weapons handlers). IOW, signed by everyone in the industry, and designed by the exact professionals in every guild, craft, and concerned entity, since ever.
Reading just that one second longer would have caused you to notice that you only looked at the first safety bulletin, which covers weapons and blanks (33+ enumerated rules), while blindly overlooking the second safety bulletin, which covers Live Ammunition, and has within it (another shocker for you) another 46+ enumerated rules covering the relevant rules for live ammunition use.
For Common Core grads, when last we checked, 33+46 comes to...hmm: Seventy-Nine Safety Rules For Weapons And Ammuntion. Just like we told you.

You could look it up:

Aesop said...

{There are actually more than that, because there are guidelines that aren't enumerated, and some of the enumerated ones repeat between the two bulletins, so it might be anywhere between 60-100 actual rules, depending upon how pedantic one chooses to be.}

What there aren't are a mere 35, which was your contention. Maybe you should pick up a copy of Innumeracy yourself, and read it, after you read a copy of Illiteracy. Strike Two.

C) We never shat upon the Four Rules. We merely pointed out that they are not part of any criminal or civil code anywhere in the continental US, and thus entirely unenforceable as any sort of statue, in any criminal case. This is important precisely because they were designed for actual weapons firing deadly projectiles, something which, as we hinted in prior comments, is supposed to happen damned near NEVER on any working production set anywhere, anytime, except on shoots conducted on live firing ranges, military installations, or ships at sea. Which, curiously, includes nowhere on the production facilities for Rust either. If you'd paid attention to what we said, you'd have sussed that out for yourself. Strike Three.

D) Insofar as they are partially incorporated into the industry wide safety guidelines, by both custom and precedent, they are enforceable in criminal and civil cases regarding the movie industry, as are similar safety guidelines for any other industry, and used as such to determine safe and accepted standards of performance in both civil and criminal cases, to determine ordinary and criminal negligence.
In court after court, such rules and procedures have the exact force of law for exactly the sort of situation on the set of Rust, just as similar rules or policies would have on a construction site, auto repair shop, steel mill, or even hair salon, as courts have routinely held going back as far as you'd care to look.
But those precedents are news to you, rather unfortunately. Strike Four.

E) Even more unfortunately for you, when you attempted to apply some of the Four Rules as a blanket admonition, reading comprehension (or the lack thereof) seems to have kicked you in the ass yet again, because right there in plain English in Safety Bulletin #1, we find the following passage:
"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."

People with IQs above room temperature may apprehend that this acknowledges the obvious fact that frequently on productions, it may very well be precisely necessary to point, and even discharge, a prop weapon in other people's direction. Nota bene that this exception is only mentioned with prop weapons, loaded with, AT MOST, blank ammunition, and appears NOWHERE in the safety bulletin covering Live Ammunition.

Aesop said...

As we noted time after time, 15 months ago, as was published worldwide in sworn affidavits from multiple relevant cast and crew members, the incident on Rust occurred in a rehearsal of a scene that called for Baldwin's pistol to be pointed and fired (with blanks) directly at the camera, and that this well-known and published fact was specifically known to Baldwin, weapons handler Guttierez-Reed, 1st A.D./weapons assistant Halls, D.P. Hutchins, director Souza, and the entire working crew and production staff, being in the script weeks to months in advance of that day's work. The rehearsal called for the same thing, with dummy rounds in place of blanks.
But all that escaped your attention. Strike Five.

This is why it doesn't matter that, nor if
a) Baldwin did or didn't observe the weapon being loaded, since he wasn't an actor in the line of fire (the only time actors may concern themselves with loading of weapons, as hands-off observers)
b) Baldwin pointed a prop weapon at the camera
c) Baldwin pulled the trigger
d) it was supposed to be a prop weapon, not a live weapon
e) with dummy ammo, and on camera, with blank ammunition.

Thus people whose entire job function was to scrupulously obtain, load, double-check, hand off, supervise, and reclaim the weapons and ammunition used were Guttierez-Reed, and Halls.
The failure to ensure that only a prop weapon, with only dummy or blank rounds, was provided and handed to the actor, was Guttierez-Reed's, assisted solely by Halls.
No one else. Period. Full Stop.

But you missed all that, because you glanced at the safety bulletins, and the facts of the case, but couldn't comprehend their realtion to each other, or application. Strike Six.

For noticing the first safety bulletin, we award you 33 points out of 79, which comes to a percentage score of 42%, which score, we absolutely and heartily commend on your behalf, makes you exactly 42% smarter than about 95% of the people anywhere on the internet who've offered an opinion on the case, since October of 2021.

Unfortunately, on every grading scale in existence, 42% is still a solid letter-grade of F. Strike Seven.

Thanks for playing, and we have some lovely parting gifts for you too.
But stick with it, Wayne. You're making solid progress, and are miles ahead of most of your peer group.

Wayne said...

A) Actor's Equity rules are utterly meaningless.
No, they aren't. Just because they don't apply to motion pictures doesn't mean they are meaningless. But Aesop, as is his pattern, has to go for the cheap insult.

B) If you'd had the wit to read what I linked to for about another one second, you'd realize I linked to the entire catalog of 61 (at last edition) Safety Bulletins.
False. No, you didn't, Aesop. Stop lying. In your post "When You Assume" from October 28, 2021 (which you linked in the current post), you included a link labeled "The Seventy-nine Rules Of Firearms and Ammunition Safety" which linked to
(no, you did NOT link to the entire list of safety bulletins, just this one)

This SAFETY BULLETIN #2 SPECIAL USE OF "LIVE AMMUNITION lists 19 guidelines that the Property Master (or in his absence the "weapons handler" is responsible for.
On page 4, it lists 11 items under GENERAL SAFE USE AND HANDLING OF FIREARMS
1. NEVER POINT a firearm at anyone, including yourself.
2. NEVER PLACE your finger on the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Keep your finger alongside the firearm and off the trigger.
3. KNOW WHERE AND WHAT your intended target is.
and several others.

Gee, those first 3 guidelines sound awful familiar. And those 11 guidelines are NOT specific to the Property Master. They are GENERAL guidelines. Hmmm, what does "general" mean in this context? Let's go to the dictionary:
general (adjective)
1: involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole
2: involving, relating to, or applicable to every member of a class, kind, or group
Looks like the GENERAL SAFE USE AND HANDLING OF FIREARMS guidelines apply to everyone on the set, including Baldwin.

C) We never shat upon the Four Rules.
Semantics. Yeah, you did. Own it. And you lied about it.

E) Even more unfortunately for you, when you attempted to apply some of the Four Rules as a blanket admonition, reading comprehension (or the lack thereof) seems to have kicked you in the ass yet again,
Total bovine excrement. And you refuse to acknowledge that your sacred "industry rules" included COL Coopers Four Rules (all four of them in Safety Bulletin #1 on Blanks, three of them in Safety Bulletin #2 on Live Ammunition). Or a lack of integrity. Perhaps the power of AND comes into play here.

This is why it doesn't matter that, nor if
a) Baldwin did or didn't observe the weapon being loaded, since he wasn't an actor in the line of fire (the only time actors may concern themselves with loading of weapons, as hands-off observers)
b) Baldwin pointed a prop weapon at the camera
c) Baldwin pulled the trigger
d) it was supposed to be a prop weapon, not a live weapon
e) with dummy ammo, and on camera, with blank ammunition.

Even more bovine manure. Yes, it DOES matter. As I said before, the general guidelines are GENERAL, they apply to everyone on the production.

By the way, I notice that in your sarcastic and condescending screed, you completely ignored where I quoted the text in the footer on EVERY page, "SAFETY BULLETINS ARE RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES ONLY; CONSULT ALL APPLICABLE RULES AND REGULATIONS".

Aesop, I could not care less about your "F" grade. Because it's bullshit.

Oh, and by the way. This tragic incident did not take place in California. It happened in New Mexico. California laws and standards do NOT apply. You do NOT understand the law, particularly New Mexico law. You should shut up before you embarrass yourself even more than you already have.

Aesop's grades on this thread:
Condescension: A+
Pedantry: A+
Legal Understanding: F
Integrity: ZERO

Aesop said...

1) Pointing out your error with Actor's Equity rules for stage plays isn't a cheap insult, it's the salient fact. Rust was a motion picture. Forgive us for assuming you knew the difference. Stop grasping at straws, and then playing for sympathy when your own failure leaves you hanging.

2) I've linked to all the safety bulletins, on this blog and numerous other ones, times beyond counting, since this happened. Yet again, as no live firing was allowed on the production set of Rust, the rules for LIVE FIRING only apply - had you READ them - on actual firing ranges, military bases, ships at sea, or anyplace where the local authorities issue a permit allowing live weapons firing. Which - shocker, yet again - doesn't include the set of Rust. But again, you haven't read the Safety guidelines, so it isn't surprising you keep wanting to choose the ones that do not apply, and try to crowbar them into applying in this incident. Safety Bulletin #1 does actually apply for ALL prop weapon use, on every production set, everywhere, at all times. You should spend more time reading it, instead of trying to apply rules for live ammo (which were nonetheless broken by the weapons mis-handler(s) on Rust), and invest a little brain power into comprehending the rules that apply on every set, which cleverly include what Bulletin #2 doesn't:
the clause that says
"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."

As I noted, brighter folks, even in Hollywood, realize that you NEVER point LIVE weapons with LIVE AMMO at anyone, ever, under ANY circumstances, but in making movies and TV shows, you FREQUENTLY point PROP guns loaded only with DUMMY rounds or BLANK AMMO directly at people, pretty much every day of the year, on thousands and thousands of scenes, and have done so since silent movies were a thing.

You should stand up (maybe even get an apple box to stand on if necessary) and let that particular cluebat smack you right in the forehead, and let it sink in.

The Four Rules are one guys' idea. They're notably popular. What they aren't, is criminal or civil statutes, which has been the point at issue since the incident on Rust. They also only apply to real weapons with real ammunition. Not to paintball guns, or Airsoft guns, or Nerf guns, or squirt guns. Or, as in this case, to prop guns with dummy rounds and blanks. Wishing otherwise doesn't make it so, no matter how hard you or anyone else think it does. Which is what we've told self-righteous jackasses since Day One. If telling you the truth about that is what you consider "shitting" on them, enjoy your reality sandwich.

They are included in the Safety Bulletins because in situations NOT on camera, they're a lot of good habits to get into, which necessarily have to be frequently and consciously broken on show after show after show, but only under diligent supervision. Unlike you, Hollywood isn't all idiots who throw the baby out with the bathwater just because they want to. But when a couple of incompetent nitwits assigned to be exactly that diligent supervision decide not to follow the guidelines, other people pay for that incompetence and gross criminal negligence in blood. For the third time in 110 years.

Aesop said...

If you don't like sarcasm and condescension, don't be an ignorant jackass and set out to deliver same, or act like a crybaby when it blows up in your face. I'm better at it than you, a lot smarter, and far better informed on the salient facts of this case. If that stings, take your lumps and stick to things you know about, and avoid the things about which you're demonstrably wholly ignorant. That sting is pride slapping you in the back of the head. All you've done in these three replies is pull your pants down and show your ass to the entire internet. You had a choice, and you chose poorly. Make better choices.

Unfortunately for your further ignorance, the Contract Services Safety Bulletins apply to every set in the U.S. and Canada (and they're working on Mexico) by law and custom plus anywhere else in the world where production companies, actors, directors, or productions from the US and Canada who've signed the basic contracts go.
Violating them for those entities anywhere or time has full legal consequences, because SAG-AFTRA, the PGA, DGA, IATSE, and every major American studio and network has signed onto them (and indeed, helped to co-write them, jointly).
If you get some knuckleheads together in your backyard with a video camera, you're on your own. But when you have people in the producer's guild, director's guild, SAG, and IATSE working, them come into full force. That would include Rust.
It's not a California standard. It's an international standard.

So bandage up your dick, stop stepping all over it with cleats, pull your pants up, and bone up, instead of being a bonehead. We hate kicking retarded kids, but some of them ask for it, over and over again. You're not a victim, you're a volunteer.

What's going to happen in a New Mexico courtroom with a New Mexico jury is going to determine if the D.A., judge, and jury are reasonable people of average intelligence, or knuckleheads. Knuckleheads in all those positions isn't particularly noteworthy in recent American jurisprudence. Or posting commentary on blogs. So we'll see, some months hence, if the people of New Mexico chose to try and adjudicate this case on the facts and merits, or simply show their asses.

For you, that jury is in. And we've wasted enough bandwidth on your ignorant rantings.

Best wishes in your future endeavors.

Mike-SMO said...

An additional question.... Safety protocols generally assume that all prior steps have failed. I assume that anyone handling a single action pistol would "cock" the pistol whenever it was ubholstered.

Baldwin was pointing at the camera, which, as I recall, had a shield in frint of it, since "shit happens".

Baldwin pointed his pistol at someone standing near the camera and pulled the trigger.

The danger was there, which is why the camera had a shield. Baldwin pointed his pistol at a person and, perhaps inadvertantly, pulled the trigger.

The camera shield means that armorer and actor errors were a known hazard.

The armorer and/or the AD screwed up. The camera protection indicated that such a failure was a known hazard.

Granted, he is an actor. Baldwin was "framing a shot" and had no need to fire the weapon. Safety rules assume that everyone else has screwed up their assignment. On that alone, is Baldwin responsible for the death?

Aesop said...


1)Safety protocols assume that only an idiot would ignore them, precisely to prevent the exact scenario that occurred. Which happened at all because they were wholly ignored, at every step.

2) The rehearsal called for Baldwin to draw, cock, and fire the pistol pointing directly at the camera. Which was well known to Baldwin, Souza, Hutchins, and every member of the crew, particularly Prop Tart and her idiot ASSistant, the 1st A.D., days and weeks in advance. "Rehearsal" implies it will be done more than once prior to filming, followed by as many film takes as necessary to get the shot just right on film.

3) The actual film take(s) would require a blank or blanks (plural) to be loaded, and for that, a plexiglas shield (we're talking brand new unblemished 1/4" plexi here, not 3 inches of bulletproof Lexan, and they don't peel the wrapper of the plexi until just before the camera rolls), invisible to the camera lens, but sufficient to halt or deflect any unburnt powder grains or bits of wadding is always used. It is never used, nor ever intended, to stop bullets flying out of a real gun. To suggest anything like the latter would be regarded as asinine by the entire crew, not least by the camera personnel or the prop department. Shooting live rounds at crew is explicitly not permitted under the rules for live fire. Only dummy rounds and blanks may be pointed and "fired" with anyone downrange, as only the regs for dummy rounds and blank loads contain the exception clause.

4) Blank blast fragments were the only danger anticipated, because everyone assumed (falsely) that the people hired, and charged with total weapon expertise wouldn't be totally, recklessly, and criminally derelict in breaking every single precept of the two relevant safety bulletins.

Everyone wants to drag in the Four Rules, designed for real weapons and real bullets, as if that's what applies here. They never have, and they never could. The minute Prop Tart brought real weapons and real bullets to any set, and deliberately or through reckless negligence combined the two, she (and her assistant nitwit) combined lit matches and gasoline. The entire resultant explosion is thus entirely their fault.

There is no game of legal Twister that enables on to contort that reality into Baldwin's fault, the reality being that ANY actor holding that gun for that rehearsal would have experienced the same outcome.

Driving a truck is dangerous, and brakes are provided. That doesn't make the driver of the vehicle in any way criminally responsible as a guilty party when the mechanic forgets to connect the brake lines or fill the master cylinder with fluid.

This was a "rig to fail" situation, and the guilty are self-evident.

Prosecution: "But the driver is responsible to maintain the vehicle is good working order."
Defense: " Which was why he took it to a certified mechanic for proper servicing."
Judge: Case dismissed.

This isn't a difficult case for people to grasp.
People just prefer to act like two-year-olds who don't want to be told "No!"

I'm still waiting, in vain, for any one to point to which safety rule(s) Baldwin violated.
Or for anyone to answer the question "How many live rounds are supposed to fly out of live weapons pointed at live people on a movie set?"

Because the answers to those two questions take the exact axe everyone has to grind right out of their hands, and ends this discussion with finality.

nick flandrey said...

the charging docs have been released for the bad Baldwin... Interesting read. Still think his lawyers and expert witnesses will tear the State's arguments apart. The first half is all filtered thru their "it's a deadly weapon and he should have known better" attitude, and the second is entirely predicated on the idea that producer Baldwin had management authority on set, something he's denied, and wouldn't be normal anyway. No mention of the actual people with authority. Where's the UPM in all this? Or the Line Producer (either as responsible for day to day, or for making the budget decisions that let to Pinkie getting hired.) The DA has NO idea how the industry works, or what the chain of responsibility in this workplace actually is. They are charging the janitor for poisoning the coffee pot with a cleaner provided by the purchasing agent, in an unmarked bottle which cost less than the regular safe cleaner, at the direction of the facility manager... The charges and background describe the failings by the armorer, and the AD in some detail, but then put all the responsibility on the actor... bit of a witch hunt when looked at objectively. If the other two had done their jobs without reckless disregard, the meat puppet couldn't have hurt anyone. No matter what meat puppet did, if Pinkie and the AD had done their jobs, no one would have died. So where is the charge for Pinkie? AD has wisely already pled, and took the deal. And fwiw, there is more detail about where the live rounds were found ( including in the leather) which is how I suspect it got on set. Someone was shooting live rounds wearing the rental leather at some point, and the rounds were still present when the leather showed up on set, and it got unloaded into the box of dummy rounds on set. There is more detail about the previous NDs too. Plenty of blame to go around, and plenty of mistakes made. n

{This post in its entirety cut and pasted by me from a post by nick, where it didn't belong, and dropped into one where it does. - A.}