Tragedy on the Movie Set Rust

 

I work at an electric utility.  My job is IT-related, providing support to our power plant workers and field personnel (linemen and other electrical workers).  As a part of that job, I attend safety meetings.  Safety is big at our electric utility and again and again is called the first priority for employees, with providing electricity to our consumers as a second priority.

My job is not as hazardous as the electrical workers I support, but my job does take me inside power plants and substations, and my training includes safety protocols to follow while in those facilities.  In addition, the technology I am responsible for assists in making those facilities a safer place.

With regards to the recent accidental shooting on the set of the movie Rust, I have some observations working for an employer with a safety culture given the facts (still subject to change at this early date).

Fact one:  Before this tragedy, there had been a previous incident involving an accidental live ammunition discharge on set.

Was there a safety stand down?  If something equivalent had happened in one of my employer’s power plants, there would have at least been an investigation and preliminary findings would have been shared with all personnel, even office employees not working at the plant.  My employer is committed to transparency.  While accountability is part of our safety program, actual names would not be shared, just the incident and the findings.

Another tenet of our safety program is that safety is everyone’s responsibility.  Our field personnel, usually linemen, are allowed, but not required, to carry firearms in the field, because, bears.  But before granted that permission, they are required to attend a firearms safety course, even though the average Alaskan has considerable knowledge about firearms, even the ones that don’t own one.

Was there a firearms safety course that all personnel, especially the actors, had to attend?  Were they instructed on how to check any firearm handed to them on whether it was loaded or not?  Were firearms handed to them with the safety on?  Was there a safety on that firearm?  Did all personnel handling firearms on the set, including the actors know how to tell the difference between a blank and actual live ammunition?

Was there a safety briefing before the scene was to be shot?  Going back to my electric utility employer, all field personnel are required to have a safety briefing before entering a substation.  All plant personnel are required to have such a briefing before starting a task on the floor of the plant.

Those are just some of the questions I expect the investigation of this incident to address.

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Al Sparks: Was there a safety stand down?  If something equivalent had happened in one of my employer’s power plants, there would have at least been an investigation and preliminary findings would have been shared with all personnel, even office employees not working at the plant.  My employer is committed to transparency.  While accountability is part of our safety program, actual names would not be shared, just the incident and the findings.

    Where was OSHA?  If we had a similarly dangerous occurrence (the accidental discharge of a firearm), the job would have been shut down for a couple of days while OSHA investigated.

    • #1
  2. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Al Sparks: Was there a safety stand down? If something equivalent had happened in one of my employer’s power plants, there would have at least been an investigation and preliminary findings would have been shared with all personnel, even office employees not working at the plant. My employer is committed to transparency. While accountability is part of our safety program, actual names would not be shared, just the incident and the findings.

    Where was OSHA? If we had a similarly dangerous occurrence (the accidental discharge of a firearm), the job would have been shut down for a couple of days while OSHA investigated.

    I suspect that Hollywood and Hollywood people believe that OSHA is only for the peons, not for Hollywood.

    • #2
  3. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Al Sparks: Was there a safety stand down? If something equivalent had happened in one of my employer’s power plants, there would have at least been an investigation and preliminary findings would have been shared with all personnel, even office employees not working at the plant. My employer is committed to transparency. While accountability is part of our safety program, actual names would not be shared, just the incident and the findings.

    Where was OSHA? If we had a similarly dangerous occurrence (the accidental discharge of a firearm), the job would have been shut down for a couple of days while OSHA investigated.

    OSHA is busy addressing the most important crisis extant in the world today – vaccination mandates.  They can not be expected to concern themselves with mundane things like employee safety.

    • #3
  4. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    Why is there even live ammunition anywhere on set? Are they so far in the boonies they have to hunt for food? Or security guards to fend off the crazed New Mexicans?

    • #4
  5. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Steve Fast (View Comment):
    Why is there even live ammunition anywhere on set?

    My question exactly.

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    OSHA is busy addressing the most important crisis extant in the world today – vaccination mandates.  They can not be expected to concern themselves with mundane things like employee safety.

    Sorry.  I forgot.

    • #6
  7. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Aviation has a good metaphor for situations like this: “The holes in the Swiss cheese lined up”. Meaning, it took more than one layer of screwup. One person makes a rare mistake, the next one makes a different unlikely mistake, and then the third one, who’s supposed to monitor and catch problems, fails too.  That’s how Three Mile Island happened, as well as the Challenger shuttle disaster, as well as the AF 477 crash. 

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    New officers in the academy start on the range by loading the rounds they need. For example two rounds center mass you load two rounds, fire them and you’re empty, then the next step is load three rounds center mass, and so on.

    Experienced officers shoot fully loaded. For example with the Glock 17 you have 18 rounds in the Glock, and then two magazines on your belt, each magazine contains 17 rounds. You have to count your rounds as you shoot, and replace magazines when needed. This is called a hot range. Nobody moves forward, or backward off the firing line until everyone on the line is holstered.

    You don’t remove your Glock from the holster unless you are on the line, and shooting. If you’re waiting to shoot, or walk back to your vehicle that pistol remains holstered. If you didn’t empty a magazine you must drop the magazine and unload, or reload on the line.

    We were required to report an accidental discharge when we were on duty, or off duty no matter the time of day or night. Failure to report that discharge meant termination, and an officer I did not know did not report an off duty discharge, suffered a wound to the hand and was terminated.

    • #8
  9. davidbatig Coolidge
    davidbatig
    @davidbatig

    It’s fun to condemn ‘idiots’, but until this investigation is concluded, I’m not prepared to even contemplate blame.

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Why was Baldwin pointing a gun and firing it at someone?

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Why was Baldwin pointing a gun and firing it at someone?

    Because they were making a movie about people shooting people?

    • #11
  12. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    Why is there even live ammunition anywhere on set? Are they so far in the boonies they have to hunt for food? Or security guards to fend off the crazed New Mexicans?

    Perhaps half-crazed Californians who had just arrived fro San Francisco. 

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    Why is there even live ammunition anywhere on set? Are they so far in the boonies they have to hunt for food? Or security guards to fend off the crazed New Mexicans?

    Perhaps half-crazed Californians who had just arrived fro San Francisco.

    I’ve read that some of the people on set were doing some target practice earlier with the same gun.

    • #13
  14. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Steve Fast (View Comment):

    Why is there even live ammunition anywhere on set? Are they so far in the boonies they have to hunt for food? Or security guards to fend off the crazed New Mexicans?

    Perhaps half-crazed Californians who had just arrived fro San Francisco.

    I’ve read that some of the people on set were doing some target practice earlier with the same gun.

    I read one report that said that.  The info will flow. 

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    What do you/anyone think the chances are that this movie will eventually come out?  After all, The Crow did.

    • #15
  16. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Al Sparks: Was there a safety stand down? If something equivalent had happened in one of my employer’s power plants, there would have at least been an investigation and preliminary findings would have been shared with all personnel, even office employees not working at the plant. My employer is committed to transparency. While accountability is part of our safety program, actual names would not be shared, just the incident and the findings.

    Where was OSHA? If we had a similarly dangerous occurrence (the accidental discharge of a firearm), the job would have been shut down for a couple of days while OSHA investigated.

    OSHA is busy addressing the most important crisis extant in the world today – vaccination mandates. They can not be expected to concern themselves with mundane things like employee safety.

    They’re probably also focused on transgender issues, because who isn’t these days?

    • #16
  17. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo?  Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?  

    There are a million whys here….

    • #17
  18. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed. 

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Well, there are some people even here who criticize a specific model of gun’s operation, etc, and if they used a sound effect that wasn’t of the right gun, and the right ammo/load, in the right atmospheric conditions, at the right distance, in exactly the right sync to when the gun is supposedly fired…  they’d criticize the movie for that.

    I see stuff like that regularly even for relatively innocuous stuff on youtube such as “Lost WW II fighter found in the ocean” etc.  If such-and-such-a-plane had a 3-blade prop and the video shows an “example” 4-blade or even the WRONG 3-blade, they get jumped on as “Fake.”

    • #19
  20. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Well, there are some people even here who criticize a specific model of gun’s operation, etc, and if they used a sound effect that wasn’t of the right gun, and the right ammo/load, in the right atmospheric conditions, at the right distance, in exactly the right sync to when the gun is supposedly fired… they’d criticize the movie for that.

    I see stuff like that regularly even for relatively innocuous stuff on youtube such as “Lost WW II fighter found in the ocean” etc. If such-and-such-a-plane had a 3-blade prop and the video shows an “example” 4-blade or even the WRONG 3-blade, they get jumped on as “Fake.”

    Well, I guess we should blame Neil Degrasse Tyson and his cronies.

    It’s looks to me that this was a somewhat low-budget endeavor. And probably a movie I would have watched and enjoyed. Having watched thousands of hours of Arnold Swarzenegger and Bruce Willis movies, as well as Bruce Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, (and loved every minute) the details are for losers.

    • #20
  21. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Yes, a lot of questions.  If Baldwin was firing a blank to film the gun going off, why didn’t he think it wasn’t a “hot” gun?  Because he thinks guns loaded with blanks are “cold”?  Then what is an empty gun?  Iced?  Are blanks the same thing as empty?

    And on the other hand, if blanks make a gun “hot”, why did he say that he’d never been handed a hot gun before?  Are guns loaded with live rounds volcanic?  Where did the term “hot” come from if guns loaded with live ammo don’t exist in film work?

    It seems like there are three safety conditions — empty, blanks and live — and only two words to describe them.

    • #21
  22. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Yes, a lot of questions. If Baldwin was firing a blank to film the gun going off, why didn’t he think it wasn’t a “hot” gun? Because he thinks guns loaded with blanks are “cold”? Then what is an empty gun? Iced? Are blanks the same thing as empty?

    And on the other hand, if blanks make a gun “hot”, why did he say that he’d never been handed a hot gun before? Are guns loaded with live rounds volcanic? Where did the term “hot” come from if guns loaded with live ammo don’t exist in film work?

    It seems like there are three safety conditions — empty, blanks and live — and only two words to describe them.

    And of course there’s the possibility that the gun was SUPPOSED TO BE “cold,” but it wasn’t.

    • #22
  23. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Yes, a lot of questions. If Baldwin was firing a blank to film the gun going off, why didn’t he think it wasn’t a “hot” gun? Because he thinks guns loaded with blanks are “cold”? Then what is an empty gun? Iced? Are blanks the same thing as empty?

    And on the other hand, if blanks make a gun “hot”, why did he say that he’d never been handed a hot gun before? Are guns loaded with live rounds volcanic? Where did the term “hot” come from if guns loaded with live ammo don’t exist in film work?

    It seems like there are three safety conditions — empty, blanks and live — and only two words to describe them.

    And of course there’s the possibility that the gun was SUPPOSED TO BE “cold,” but it wasn’t.

    Right.  But did “cold” mean only blanks?  This occurred as apparently during filming a shot.  Why would they even have blanks if they weren’t gong to use them, when the whole point of this shot is to film the firing of the gun?

    Eh, we won’t know for a while, if ever.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Yes, a lot of questions. If Baldwin was firing a blank to film the gun going off, why didn’t he think it wasn’t a “hot” gun? Because he thinks guns loaded with blanks are “cold”? Then what is an empty gun? Iced? Are blanks the same thing as empty?

    And on the other hand, if blanks make a gun “hot”, why did he say that he’d never been handed a hot gun before? Are guns loaded with live rounds volcanic? Where did the term “hot” come from if guns loaded with live ammo don’t exist in film work?

    It seems like there are three safety conditions — empty, blanks and live — and only two words to describe them.

    And of course there’s the possibility that the gun was SUPPOSED TO BE “cold,” but it wasn’t.

    Right. But did “cold” mean only blanks? This occurred as apparently during filming a shot. Why would they even have blanks if they weren’t gong to use them, when the whole point of this shot is to film the firing of the gun?

    I we won’t know for a while, if ever.

    I can think of other options too.  It might have been that Baldwin was going to film the scene holding the gun and looking like he fired it, but some kind of stunt double was going to be filmed from a different angle actually firing the gun, even just with a blank.  He was given the stunt double’s gun by mistake.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    These are all excellent questions and comments. I’ve been wondering these things as well…Why did they have live ammo? Who in world loaded the “prop” gun with live ammo? Why did Baldwin aim at a non-actor and pull the trigger? Who was in charge of making sure the gun was loaded with non-live ammo?

    There are a million whys here….

    As to why AB was pointing at a non actor, my understanding is that they were trying to get a birds’ eye view of the gun. Which makes no sense to me. There has to be thousands of those shots that could be McGuivered. Same with the sound effects. How many thousands, and thousands of tape is there of a bullet firing?

    A million whys, indeed.

    Yes, a lot of questions. If Baldwin was firing a blank to film the gun going off, why didn’t he think it wasn’t a “hot” gun? Because he thinks guns loaded with blanks are “cold”? Then what is an empty gun? Iced? Are blanks the same thing as empty?

    And on the other hand, if blanks make a gun “hot”, why did he say that he’d never been handed a hot gun before? Are guns loaded with live rounds volcanic? Where did the term “hot” come from if guns loaded with live ammo don’t exist in film work?

    It seems like there are three safety conditions — empty, blanks and live — and only two words to describe them.

    And of course there’s the possibility that the gun was SUPPOSED TO BE “cold,” but it wasn’t.

    Right. But did “cold” mean only blanks? This occurred as apparently during filming a shot. Why would they even have blanks if they weren’t gong to use them, when the whole point of this shot is to film the firing of the gun?

    I we won’t know for a while, if ever.

    I can think of other options too. It might have been that Baldwin was going to film the scene holding the gun and looking like he fired it, but some kind of stunt double was going to be filmed from a different angle actually firing the gun, even just with a blank. He was given the stunt double’s gun by mistake.

    Yes, there are a lot of hypotheticals.

    • #25
  26. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Why was Baldwin pointing a gun and firing it at someone?

    Because they were making a movie about people shooting people?

    https://nypost.com/2021/10/23/baldwin-ignored-no-1-rule-of-gun-safety-hollywood-weapons-expert/

    • #26
  27. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Sorry, not very knowledgeable on this incident.  How many shots were fired?  Weren’t 2 people shot?

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Sorry, not very knowledgeable on this incident.

    What would one expect when getting information through the news media? 

    It’s another reason why I don’t think it’s very important to keep up with the news.  

     

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Why was Baldwin pointing a gun and firing it at someone?

    He was practicing for the photo shoot, pardon the pun.  Just saw this on Yahoo News:

    Actor Alec Baldwin was practicing removing a revolver from its holster and aiming toward the camera during rehearsal for the movie “Rust” when director Joel Souza heard “what sounded like a whip and then a loud pop,” according to a search warrant obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday night that also provided grim new details about the final minutes of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ life.

    In the newly released document Souza said someone identified the weapon as a “cold gun,” meaning it did not have any live rounds. But instead the gun discharged, striking Hutchins in her chest and Souza in his right shoulder, according to a Santa Fe County, N.M., sheriff’s detective’s affidavit used to obtain a search warrant. Hutchins was pronounced dead at an Albuquerque hospital.

    And further down:

    Souza said three people were handling the gun for the scene: armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, then assistant director Dave Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin, the affidavit said.

    Halls had taken one of three prop guns set up by Gutierrez Reed on a cart left outside the structure because of COVID-19 restrictions, the affidavit said. Halls did not know live rounds were in the gun when he handed it to Baldwin, and Halls yelled “cold gun,” according to the affidavit.

    Souza said cast and crew were preparing the scene before lunch but then had a meal away from the rehearsal area around 12:30 p.m., according to the affidavit. When they returned, Souza said, he wasn’t sure if the gun was checked again, the affidavit said.

    And still further down.

    Souza said he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder when the gun discharged. Hutchins grabbed her midsection, stumbled backward and “was assisted to the ground,” Souza told the detective.

    The search warrant said Russell recalled hearing a loud bang, seeing a bloody Souza and hearing Hutchins say she couldn’t feel her legs.

    The shooting came after crew members raised concerns about safety conditions on set. Two “Rust” crew members told the L.A. Times that, less than a week earlier, a stunt double had fired two accidental prop gun discharges after being told the gun was “cold.”

    There seems to have been a lot of improper gun safety there.  And stupidity.

    • #29
  30. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Manny (View Comment):
    There seems to have been a lot of improper gun safety there.  And stupidity.

    No kidding. 

    Somebody hands me a gun, I check the chamber.  I don’t care if they checked it or not.  I don’t care if I trust the person or not.  You always presume that every gun is loaded.  Every time.

    I just don’t understand…

    • #30