WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RUST SHOOTING?

November 7, 2021 – 6:21 am

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It’s not rocket science. Just check any prop gun before firing. By Thomas Knapp.

On October 21, actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed one person (cinematographer Halyna Hutchins) and wounded another (director/writer Joel Souza) on the set of Rust, a western film he was making in New Mexico.

Reportage generally describes the shooting as an “accident,” but it wasn’t. There are two kinds of firearms discharges: Intentional and negligent. This incident is no exception. But that doesn’t mean the intent or negligence was wholly Baldwin’s.

Was the shooting intentional or negligent? And whose intent or negligence contributed to it? From afar, this looks like a complicated question.

Don’t write off intent entirely. The motion picture industry in general, and the Rust set specifically, were in the throes of ongoing labor disputes. It’s not beyond belief that sabotage was involved.

Negligence seems the more likely explanation, though.

The gun was supposed to be a prop. It was presented to Baldwin by assistant director Dave Halls as a “cold gun” during a rehearsal, to indicate that it held no ammunition. But when Baldwin drew it, and presumably pulled the trigger, it turned out not to be “cold” after all.

Did Baldwin personally check the gun’s chambers for live ammo before using it?

Did Halls personally check the gun’s chambers for live ammo before pronouncing it “cold?”

Did production armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed personally check the gun’s chambers for live ammo before authorizing its presence on the set?

Competence, experience, and trustworthiness may be expensive, but they aren’t optional where guns are involved.

Is it true that, as The Wrap reports, crew members had taken the gun off-set for some target shooting with live ammo earlier in the day, then returned it - possibly with live ammo still in the chambers?

Is it true that, as the Los Angeles Times reports, one of the complaints motivating a walk-off of crew members that day related to previous discharges of prop guns?

It sounds like there may have been plenty of negligence to go around on the set of Rust. And Baldwin may bear a good deal of responsibility for that negligence in his role as a producer trying to squeeze a lot out of a small budget ($6-7 million, a pittance by Hollywood standards). Competence, experience, and trustworthiness may be expensive, but they aren’t optional where guns are involved.

As an actor,  Baldwin probably bears a good deal less responsibility, but certainly not none.

Yes, the shooting occurred at the end of a long chain of people and protocols which should have made it impossible for what happened to happen. But he, not those other people, drew the gun and pointed it at Hutchins and Souza.

Even on a movie set, personally checking a gun for live ammo before pointing it at someone is the absolute bare minimum of personal responsibility (off a movie set, by the way, one should never point a gun at someone one does not intend to shoot, even if it’s certainly unloaded).

There’s seemingly plenty of blame to go around here, for everyone and everything except the gun. It’s an inanimate object. Guns don’t kill people. People do, whether intentionally or negligently.

Note: Thomas L Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.

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  1. 12 Responses to “WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RUST SHOOTING?”

  2. Baldwin is to blame . He was one of the producers as well as the one in charge . He also fired the gun . Why were live rounds allowed on a movie set ?

    By George on Nov 9, 2021

  3. Old rule applies . Never point a gun at someone unless you intend to use it . Always check for ammo .

    By George on Nov 9, 2021

  4. It’s fun to see Trumper assholes blame Baldwin because they hate his Trump impersonation on SNL.

    It’s a movie set, assholes, they have experts that are supposed to know a blank from a real bullet. And real bullets aren’t supposed to be there.

    They fucked up when they hired an inexperienced armorer.

    They had already had two misfires.

    Producers aren’t always involved in day to day operations on set.

    By Derrick on Nov 9, 2021

  5. That wasn’t me commenting above . Another motherfuckin, Dic suckin, coon and hi Yeller lovin Jew bastard name hijacker .

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  6. He should get what Joe Pesci got in Casino

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  7. Or what dirty laundrie got in the Florida swamp

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  8. The gators and wild pigs doin the honors

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  9. Alec Baldwin is to blame . He shot the fuckin gun wit a real bullet In the gun . What the fuck was real bullets doin in the movie ? Never knew bout Baldwin’s take on Trump . I’m sure he’s a liberal Hollywood jew Bastard

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  10. Two conservatives In Hollywood is Bruce Willis , Jon Voight . Think Clint Eastwood is too

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  11. Liberals is ruining the fuckin country

    By Derrick on Nov 10, 2021

  12. I’m retarded, my comments prove it.

    Please read my comments PLEEEEEASE I need attention!!!!!

    By Derrick on Nov 11, 2021

  13. Just another dumb actor living in the world of make believe and then it all comes crashing down because he has no common sense. I feel sorry for the victim and family of the victim, but Baldwin is no victim. Just plain stupid in my opinion.

    By BigE on Nov 13, 2021

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