The situation is not looking so good, as new information emerges about Alec Baldwin’s incident where he shot both a cinematographer (and the director) on a Thursday movie set.
Now there are reports that there had been a lot of problems before the shooting – that the crew was upset about long hours, low pay, and having to commute 50 miles from Albuquerque instead of staying in Santa Fe. The Los Angeles Times reports that the crew of cameras left the set hours prior to shooting.
As the camera crew — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — spent about an hour assembling their gear at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, several nonunion crew members showed up to replace them, the knowledgeable person said…
“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue to shooting,” the knowledgeable person said.
There were two misfires on the prop gun and one the previous week, the person said, adding “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”…
It took approximately six hours for the shooting to begin after the departure of the union camera crew.
On top of those issues, according to the LA Times, the woman who was killed, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, was “advocating for safer conditions for her team.” So what was she seeing and with what did she have a problem? Are these problems the reason she was killed?
This all raises the question of whether or not the shooting had any relation to the problems on the set: was it due to someone who wasn’t experienced in a job?
We reported earlier today that according to the IATSE Local 44 – the union includes prop masters – that Baldwin fired a live round and that the prop master was not a member of the union.
The Times further clarified the union’s report about the gun having a live round.
A source close to The Times said the union does not know what projectile was in the gun and clarified that ‘live’ is an industry term that refers to a gun being loaded with some material such as a blank ready for filming.
Stephen Gutowski, a gun expert, pointed out that even blanks could cause trouble in The Atlantic.
Blanks are cartridges made without using the bullet. These cartridges still have a primer or powder charge but are about half as strong as a live round.
This means that they continue to expel hot gases at high speeds and are still dangerous. This is especially true if something is lodged in the prop gun’s barrel that the charge can propel forward.
The latest report indicates that Baldwin was handed the gun loaded with ‘live rounds’ but didn’t know it was loaded, that the assistant director believed it was safe and told Baldwin it was a ‘cold gun,’ indicating that it was safe. But it’s not clear how the ‘live round’ got into the gun.
Brandon Morse (my colleague) wrote this piece today about how we need better gun education. Unfortunately, we’ve seen incidents in the past on movie sets, including the death of Brandon Lee that tragically didn’t need to happen and usually involve a bad mistake in the safety process.
There were clearly issues for those who had problems before with guns. Baldwin wasn’t just the actor who held the gun, he was also the co-producer. This could suggest that he may be responsible for the alleged problems. There will likely be more, but police must ask many questions about what happened.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: An industry professional provided RedState with a link to “Safety Bulletin No. 1 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SAFETY WITH FIREARMS AND USE OF “BLANK AMMUNITION,” which is the industry standard regarding firearms handling on sets.)