25 October 2021


I just figured out what is so damn galling about Aesop's position on firearm safety.

He thinks there should be an exception to personal responsibility with a firearm.

I don't.

That's the essential conflict here.

Expanded on this my rejection that there should be special laws for people above a certain income level or in certain jobs.

Both rejections are at play here.

Yes, Hollywood created a procedure that allows dancing monkeys to hold a firearm and point it at others in a way that's resulted in damn few injuries and even fewer deaths.

But I disagree that absolves the person with the gun in their hand from responsibility for the harm done when that procedure fails.

But why did that procedure fail on the set of "Rust?"

Because there really isn't an industry wide standard with accreditation with regards to becoming an armorer.

It's a master and apprentice model.  A model that breaks over and over in history when family is involved and skills turn out to not be hereditary.

The set was clearly not following the strictest guidelines with regards to firearms because there were live rounds on set, they were not segregated from dummy and blank ammunition and the cast and crew had access to both live ammunition and the firearm in question.  They were plinking with it during down time.

More than a few actors have been railing on the goings on at that set.  Many of them outlining what the correct procedures should have been.

My contact in Orlando (who asks not to be named because they like their job) spells out the basics:

No live ammo on set.  Period

Everyone on set will be briefed about the shot and the presence of the firearm.  Anyone on set during the shot can call a halt for a safety violation and the briefing informs everyone of that.  Everyone knows what the rules are from this and if they don't attend the brief, they are not allowed on set.  Safety is everyone's responsibility.

No live guns in actor's hands until the shot.

No blank ammo loaded until the actual shot.

The live gun with blank ammo will spend the absolute minimum amount of time in the actor's hands.

The actor does not operate the firearm unless directed to do so and only at the designated point in the script.

Blocking, rehearsals and run-throughs are done with the rubber or resin look-alikes both for safety and expense.

With modern cameras, there is no reason for anyone to be downrange of a "down the barrel" shot.

Because cameras suck at depth perception, there's no reason for the actor to have to point a firearm at anyone directly.  A little to the side doesn't show on camera.

Now, how many of those rules were broken in New Mexico that day?

There's proper ways to do things when playing with dangerous items.  Ways that mitigate the dangers.

At the end of the day, the person on the trigger is the one who decides that they are OK with how well the procedures have been followed and they pull the trigger, or refuse.  Making them responsible for what happens in the end because they are the last go/no-go in the chain.

If, as Aesop claims, actors are too stupid or uneducated to make that decision, they should not be allowed anything sharper than a marble or harder than meringue.

If they really are that incompetent, we shouldn't be making excuses for them, we should be getting actors who know what they're doing.  Actors who care about their co-workers.

Something else to consider, when you're trying absolve the dancing monkey of the responsibility of shooting someone, you're creating a situation where they don't have to care about safety.  They will not suffer consequences, why should they bother with making sure it's safe?

You're guaranteeing that someone else will get killed by an actor, maybe even the same one.


  1. As someone that admittedly had my own (thankfully harmless) negligent discharge in 1984, and was almost killed by someone else's five years later (that only did property damage), I speak from experience. It is very simple... if the gun is in your hands, all 4 Rules of Gun Safety apply to YOU, and ONLY YOU are responsible for everything that firearm is capable of until that firearm is given to someone else or otherwise secured. PERIOD! I don't buy any excuse for circumstances or procedures.

  2. I am pretty sure that the problem is "personal". Who do you think on that set had the power and arrogance to bully the young "armorer" into allowing a "house" gun out of her control and to be used with live ammunition? I don't think that training or a license will help with an "I am God" attitude running the show. "Safety" was already an issue and part of why part of the crew walked. If the trigger-puller is prosecuted, it will go a long way toward ensuring a competent and useful armorer. In this case, it was trivial for an intelligent person to visually scan a "Cold" pistol and see a problem with the ammunition. ["Cold" means "None" so any Brass {cartridge rims or caps, depending} means "problem"]. And then don't pull a trigger while pointing at others, unless there is a scripted, choreographed plan for doing so. If a firearm is called "Cold", there would be no problem with rotating a cylinder or "jacking" an action. [Many modern firearms have "closed" actions.] Still, "All guns are loaded, don't point".

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, an actor can't check every round in a magazine, but "Cold" is "None" which is a different situation. If "Cold", any "Brass" means a flag on the play. Probably any of the dogs who played "Lassie" could figure that out.

    My guess is that the pistol was used, on a whim, to train an actor who was gun-shy on how to make "realistic" moves. A well-organized set would have provided separate firearms and/or oportunities for training, etc. Grabbing a set gun for live-fire training broke safety control and distracted the young armorer. Small production with the financier/Producer on set. Guess who. If you "in charge", you face the "music".

    1. I think that the union crew doing a walk-out was indicative that when they, rightfully, called safety violations they were overruled by production (same person who shot someone).

      Diabolical Canadian James Cameron had a little primer about teaching actors real guns for Terminator 2 that had a statement to the effect of, "we're out here in the desert a long way from the set with real guns..." which implied that he knew that live ammo and prop guns don't mix.

      The armorer, in this case, wasn't even on set when this happened! !!!!!

      What I wanna know now is why the fuck didn't person who's supposed to have sole control of the firearms and ammunition on set didn't store said items so unauthorized access wasn't happening when they weren't present.

      I fear that you've nailed the issue in the 10 ring with "I am God!" and that will land back at Mr Baldwin's feet.

    2. I need to amend here, the wounded director has attested that the armorer was on set. I'd read earlier that she wasn't. Mea Culpa.

  3. Ayup. As I said before, if they're that stupid, then when they do bad things they should be put down like the rabid dogs they are.

    Plenty of people can handle gun safety. Why should a small number get away with violating all aspects just because they are 'better than us' and 'hollyweird elite?'

    And for someone who rails at us daily for being too stupid to understand masking or shots or quarantine (all of which involve subjects much more deep than 'Don't point a gun at something you don't want to destroy') Mr. Greek-Philosopher-Guy sure seems to cover for people too stupid to safely open a yogurt container.

  4. I think blogger Paw Paw correctly assessed the situation yesterday. Since the gun was a single action revolver AND this was a rehersal, not actually filmed, removing the cylinder entirely and reinserting the pin would have allowed the handgun to be fully functional, cocked and trigger pulling allowed. All the while entirely being completely safe from firing a bullet.


  5. Your blog ate my comment at the preview section. The short version is that it's not that Aesop's position is necessarily galling. It's entirely reasonable, but not as infallible as his internet dick-waggling would have his fanbois believe. Nah, it's his delivery. I enjoy creative invective and insults as much as anyone, but if you're going to lay it on that insufferably thick, it gets tedious reading tired old recycled barbs. It makes any intelligent discussion not just impossible, but boring.

    1. I'm sorry that Google's Blogger team ate your comment.

      I tend to discount Aesop because we've all died from Ebola and Covid already... except we didn't.

      When we didn't, suddenly he'd been telling us all along that we wouldn't.

      So I am waiting for the change to, "Alec Baldwin is a murderer because he violated the 4 rules, and I've said so all along!"

      His abrasiveness and the walls of text just make it that much easier to only pass his comments on when he's got his shit in one sock and making a well reasoned and well supported argument. He's got several comments disagreeing with me under those circumstances.

      Too often though, his comments are just lorem ipsuming.

  6. Another safety rule that was broken is that anyone like the directors that need to be near the camera are supposed to be behind a lexan shield. If they'd had that in place, chances are the director wouldn't have been hit at all and the assistant might not have been a fatality, and possibly not hit at all either. The thing is that there are multiple levels of safety rules and as far as I can tell due to Baldwin's corner cutting they violated all of them. If even one of them had been followed the incident may not have happened or at least not been so serious.

  7. I don't read Aesop, in fact I had to google to find his blog. I won't be looking back again. He certainly does like to hear himself blab. Overly grandiosely verbose and overwrought delivery. Sorry, but while the inept armorer is probably most directly to blame, his arguments on why Baldwin is completely legally and ethically blameless just don't quite fly. His insistence that people from the gun community are looking for more restrictions, let alone legislation, is also a straw man argument. I haven't seen anyone suggesting that the rules that the movie industry already has are insufficient. The problem is that pretty much all of them were broken. More rules wouldn't change anything, and I certainly haven't seen McThag or anyone else claim they would. I also don't buy Aesop's insistence that Baldwin doesn't have any responsibility at all for making sure his production followed the rules. Aesop wants to push that responsibility all down to subordinates, but at some point the people at the top are responsible for what their underlings do. And I have trouble believing that Baldwin was completely unaware of the rules, which means I believe that he knew that corners were being cut and probably he was the instigator for that.

    1. You can sure tell he's never had Command.

    2. Cthulu help anyone who had to answer to someone with an ego like his.


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