The Alec Baldwin shooting resulted from failed gun safety

Yesterday, the big news was that Alec "I hate the Second Amendment" Baldwin shot a cinematographer to death on a movie set with a fake gun.  Today's big news is that the movie was apparently being done on the cheap, with a work crew having walked off the set early the same day and the prop master in charge of the guns being replaced that afternoon.  Why should we care?  Because it shows again how Hollywood facilitates gun culture but hates the NRA so much that the people handling guns are careless unto death with them.

According to the New York Post, the film's crew were generally unhappy with conditions on the set of Rust:

Another source briefed on the situation told The Post that a crew of workers had walked off the film's set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, NM, Thursday morning over what they alleged were poor safety protocols, before Baldwin, 68, fired the gun later that day.

[snip]

An unidentified crew member told the LA Times that Hutchins [the woman Baldwin killed] had been advocating for safer working conditions for her team.

The newspaper reported that a half-dozen camera crew workers went on strike Thursday to protest their working conditions.

The crew reportedly showed up as scheduled at 6:30 a.m. but began gathering up their gear and personal possessions to leave.

A settlement was apparently reached because the Times reported that the workers — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — later spent about an hour setting up their gear.

But several nonunion workers reportedly showed up to replace them, and a member of the production staff ordered the disgruntled crew to leave.

The production staffer threatened to call in security to remove the workers if they didn't go voluntarily, according to the Times.

Because we don't know what the crew members' complaints were, one might wonder what their complaints have to do with the fact that a prop gun misfired.  Well, it turns out that one of the replacements that very day was the person in charge of prop guns.  Because of that abrupt turnover, that person may well have been unaware that the gun was trouble:

The prop gun also misfired twice on Saturday and once during the previous week, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a knowledgeable crew member who told the paper that "there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set."

When it comes to gun safety, you can't have this kind of haphazardness.  The person who handled the guns should have been briefed about any problems with them...but apparently wasn't.  It's also unclear whether the substitute armorer made inquiries about the weapons for which she was responsible.

And finally — and this is the biggie — Alec Baldwin failed to confirm that a gun in his hands, that he was firing, was actually safe.  Elementary gun safety is that you personally make sure that the gun you're handling is safe.  If you don't want to handle the gun, you make the person who is handling it open it up and show you that it's cleared.

But Alec Baldwin, who's made a good living pretending to fire guns and, along the way, glamorizing them, hates the NRA, which is (I believe) the No. 1 organization when it comes to teaching gun safety across America.  I've attended at least four NRA gun safety classes over the years because I strongly feel that if you're not shooting every day, you can never be reminded often enough about the rules.

I'm betting that even though Baldwin knows how to look cool handling a gun, he's never taken a gun safety class in his life and made the huge mistake of trusting without verifying someone he'd never met before who handed him an allegedly unloaded gun.  Does that make Baldwin criminally liable?  I don't know.  But the whole rushed, careless business of dealing with a real weapon is shameful.  People like Baldwin who hate the NRA but still play with guns (and there are many like him in Hollywood) either must stop the gunplay or start being responsible.

But I still feel sorry for Baldwin.  If he'd gotten a punch in the nose, lost his job, or been publicly humiliated because he's an obnoxious, uninformed, loud-mouthed man, and just generally a horse's derrière, I would have cheered his comeuppance.  But no matter what a jerk he is, he's not a killer.

In Baldwin's arrogance, I'm sure he'll redouble his demands to end all guns (except in Hollywood), rather than recognize that anyone who handles real guns, including an actor, should know what he's doing.  After all, if he crashed a big rig on the set because he'd never driven one before, he wouldn't demand that big rigs get banned, but he might regret never having taken a driving class.

Image: An 1851 Colt revolver.

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