On Alec Baldwin’s Shooting

We recently learned that Alec Baldwin is being charged with involuntary manslaughter for his accidental shooting on a movie set. I don’t know the details of the case, nor the intricacies of the law, but I have a question about movie props.

Why was an actual gun used on the set? And why were actual bullets used on the set? Why wasn’t it a fake gun: plastic, or metal without a working barrel? Why does it have to fire blanks? Why can’t everyone just pretend, and let someone add the bang and the muzzle flash in post-production?

Movies are filled with fakery. The light sabers in Star Wars weren’t real; the lighting effects and “wooj-wooj” noises were add afterwards. The phasers in Star Trek weren’t real either. Jar Jar Binks was 100% computer generated. So were a gazillion “props” from the Harry Potter movies. Even regular, non-SF non-magical movies have special effects. They’re easy.

Why are guns different?

EDITED TO ADD (2/14): Hollywood has procedures for handling firearms on movie sets. And this CGI recreation provides details on how this gun handling failed to meet industry standards.

Posted on January 26, 2023 at 7:08 AM59 Comments


Amit January 26, 2023 7:29 AM

Because it’s cheaper.
Firing a gun on pretend will not have the expected recoil or the distinct flashing – both are possible to fake (I’m assuming), but will make every such scene more expensive.
The question about live bullets (or even a gun that can shoot such bullets) still remains open though.

Bilateralrope January 26, 2023 7:33 AM

Live bullets should have never been on set.

As for why they use real guns:

  • Blanks produce recoil for the actors to react to. That causes the actors to move differently to when they are trying to simulate the effect of that recoil on an empty gun. The difference is enough for some viewers to notice.
  • Real guns with blanks are cheaper than good quality CGI. Rust was never a big budget production like the others you mention and, if you look into details, you’ll find other cost cutting at the expense of safety. Have a read at why a veteran armor, who had long wanted to work on a western, turned down the job: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2021-10-25/prop-master-alec-baldwin-rust-accident-waiting-to-happen

Hollywood does have procedures for handling firearms on set:

They weren’t followed. The shooting wasn’t the first time a gun that had been declared cold (empty) had accidentally discharged. The first time was a blank, but that still shouldn’t have happened. The union camera crew quit over the lack of any investigation into the first accidental discharge, among other complaints, and were replaced by non-union camera crew before the fatal shooting.

Vesselin Bontchev January 26, 2023 7:47 AM

Star Wars fan here. Jar Jar Binks was not 100% computer-generated. He was played by a live actor (Ahmed Best) wearing Jar Jar’s head as a hat (and also some gloves); only the skin was added later with CGI. The lightsabers were quite real – they even broke several during the shootings. Only the lightning and sound effects were added with CGI. The phaser shots in Star Trek are purely CGI – which is why they look so unrealistic.

What really puzzles me with this case is why the actor is being charged – and not, say, the movie director, the person responsible for the props, the safety instructor, etc.?

Bilateralrope January 26, 2023 7:49 AM

@Vesselin Bontchev

Alec Baldwin was also the producer of Rust.

The armorer has also been charged.

Joe Slow January 26, 2023 8:29 AM

Money, mostly. But also verisimilitude.

I know how a gun looks when it is held and fired; I’ve held and fired them myself. Faking that with CGI is certainly possible but it requires a much higher degree of accuracy to make it believable for such a familiar object. I don’t have any real-world experience with lightsabers or phasers (sadly), so it’s much easier to suspend my disbelief even with bad CGI. See also: uncanny valley

Good CGI costs a lot more, so yeah, it’s entirely about money.

Winter January 26, 2023 8:39 AM

The Atlantic has an interview with someone who actually handles guns on movie sets:

A Hollywood Armorer on the Rust Shooting Charges


Everything that could be wrong was indeed wrong on the set.

But I understand the general idea. Guns are treated differently in the US. In most of the world, an elementary school would be evacuated when a child is seen with a gun. Not so in the US.


amk January 26, 2023 9:39 AM

Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste used home made fake firearms, shaken by the actors and with muzzle flashes added post production.

It was made in New Zealand with no budget.

Tangurena January 26, 2023 9:52 AM

I’m reminded of the movie Lord of War. Commonly, when guns are needed in movies, replicas are rented. In this movie, it was cheaper to buy actual guns from one of the front companies of the person the movie was based on than it was to rent replicas.


Making movies is a strange business.

Clive Robinson January 26, 2023 10:15 AM

@ Bruce, ALL,

Re : Money is the root of all evil.

If you have an “accident” in a commercial event/venture, then you can always say money was the cause.

Actually, it’s mostly not relevant it’s kind of like saying a thief has hands.

What is important though is the journy from the bank account to the bullet getting fired.

I know from my days wearing the green that few recruits could say what a blank round or live round looks like when you put one of each in front of them.

In part the issue is loading systems like magazines need the rounds to have a physical profile that includes the bullet.

Thus if I gave you a bag of mixed rounds and asked you to load a magazine with your eyes closed the chances are good you would get a mixed assortment.

If you watch people very familiar with loading magzines, they do it by touch not sight. I used to load by touch whilst being on lookout and as often as not in total darkness. I was not looking at the rounds and I was not feeling them to see if they were blanks or live (though the weight of the round does give it away).

I once nearly shot somebody in training during an ambush practice, the “Blank Firing Arrestor”(BFA) on my “Self Loading Rife”(SLR) I’d been loaned from a recruite for the demonstration got fired off. Luckily I “aim off”[1] in such training, we went and looked for the BFA and we only found part of it, and it had metal fatigue fractures…

All of these “accidents” are bot just predictable but foreseeable, yet they happen… The reason is we don’t take the time or care to check properly. The drills we teach only go so far.

So I’m not interested in the excuse of “money/profit” I want to know the journy of that bullet from the box it was purchased in to the point it got fired.

[1] Aiming off when giving a demonstration with any projectile weapon is always a good idea. I happen to know that movie actors should be shown how to do it. Importantly from all but a couple of very tight camera angles the aiming off will not be seen by the camera lense so the film audience won’t get to see it either in the final film.

Remy January 26, 2023 10:29 AM

A few reasons to use real firearms on set:

Closeups/hero-shots: prop guns, at the end of the day, end up looking like prop guns. Even a high-end airsoft replica will not mirror the handling when viewed in extreme closeups.

Historical firearms: decent replicas of historical firearms are hard to come by if they exist at all, and this is the main reason why Rust was using real firearms on set.

To fire blanks: blanks provide a significantly better illusion of a gun firing than post-production does.

Frequently, on productions, there are non-functional prop firearms used alongside real firearms, with access to the real firearms strictly controlled by the armorer. Use the non-functional firearm in the wide shot, cut to the closeup where the real gun is used, back to the wide shot with the non-functional firearm. This can all be done with absolute safety, and is overseen by people who specialize in this kind of safety- it’s less dangerous than many other stunts seen on film.

What boggles my mind, what strikes me as absolute insanity is that there were live rounds anywhere on set. Anywhere near the set. During the production, there is absolutely no reason to put live rounds through your props, for a number of reasons, starting with safety and continuing on down to “if you break the prop, what are you doing the rest of the shoot?” Dummy rounds (real bullets but without any powder and with the primer deactivated, again, meant to be used in closeups) are packed with a BB inside of the brass, specifically so that with a simple shake, you can tell that the round is a non-functional round.

That this was allowed, and that the crew were going out into the desert to take potshots with the props… batshit insanity.

yet another bruce January 26, 2023 10:50 AM

ARMORER: Cold Saber! (passes lightsaber to Hamill)

ARMORER: Cold Saber! (passes lightsaber to Guinness)

Guinness checks the aperture to ensure the Khyber crystal has been removed.

TimH January 26, 2023 11:36 AM

Call me pernickety, but people who talk about ‘live bullets’ are not familiar with firearms. The bullet is the projectile that fires from the cartridge case… or the wad in the case of a blank (still dangerous). The wad is necessary with a blank to hold the propellant in place.

A unit of (live) small arms ammo is a round or a cartridge.

Now the silencer/suppressor issue is a whole different level of pedantry.

jamesD January 26, 2023 11:50 AM

… Gun mishaps are a tiny tiny problem in movie production, and deaths are very rare — it is a trivial concern from any objective perspective.

Consider the vast number of movies & TV made over past century worldwide, with massive use of real guns (especially war movies)– gun deaths are almost unheard of.

Then consider that about 40,000 Americans now die annually in horrible motor vehicle crashes, with many more badly injured.

Which is the bigger problem for us to address — guns on movie sets or the daily carnage on our streets ??

Objective Perspective matters a lot

Jim January 26, 2023 11:59 AM

These questions are what led to these charges. When someone does or does not do something, with such disregard to safety and common sense, that another person is injury or killed, that person committed a crime.

Why do people drink and drive? Why do people leave guns unsecured in homes with children? Why did this movie production do what they did resulting in someone dying and other being injured? They committed a crime and should be brought to court for a fair trial.

David in Toronto January 26, 2023 12:31 PM

When I was young I took a firearms course as a Scout at a firing range at a local Fire department in Canada (it was a different age). I owned a gun for years (I no longer have one but would not hesitate to go through the process to get one if I needed one). Biggest takeaway was safety and respecting the gun. Proper handling, cleaning, maintenance, shooting. We were even shown what a blank could do a close range.

Reading the accounts, there were gross safety and procedural violations it’s clear there was an attitude problem. No one respected the gun. Actors are supposed to be briefed on gun safety, it sounds like that instruction was ignored.

Yes percentage wise it’s small. But doesn’t mean people should not be held to account. Also, it doesn’t mean they can’t do better.

Too many people die from insecure storage, sloppy safety practices, and ignorance. Let’s do better.

mark January 26, 2023 12:46 PM

JamesD: dear gun nut a trivial search online for US gun deaths gives “In 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S.”

So, more people died from guns than cars. It’s the guns.

iAPX January 26, 2023 12:54 PM

This case is very interesting, because if it wasn’t for firearm, maybe an accident would have happened on stunt, or meals or whatever.

Actor Alec Baldwin pulled the trigger, while pretending not having done so (the firearm expertise disagree with his declarations).
Producer Alec Baldwin did everything he could to cut price down, cutting corners , including security-wise.

An accident occurred with a firearm before. Not investigated.
Unionized workers refused to work on it, due to lack of safety, totally unsafe environment.

Then this “accident” happened.
This was not a random accident, this is what you get when every garde-fou (guardrail) is ignored, this is by no way “accidental”, this is criminal.

Chuck Glasser January 26, 2023 1:09 PM

There is no such thing as an unloaded gun. Try pointing one “an unloaded gun” at a cop, don’t be surprised if he shoots you.

If he doesn’t shoot you he is certainly justified in taking it away from you and pistol whipping you with it. Never, point a gun at someone unless you intend to pull the trigger… er squeeze the trigger. If you do, then they are always justified in beating you to a pulp.. BTW, this is court tested, certainly in the military.

When someone hands you a gun, or you pick one up the first thing to do is check the breach, always! But then again why would you do that because it is always loaded.

JonKnowsNothing January 26, 2023 1:20 PM

@jamesD, All

re: Gun mishaps are a tiny tiny problem in movie production, and deaths are very rare — it is a trivial concern from any objective perspective.

There have been a good number of high profile actors killed by similar gun accidents on set. Guns that were not loaded with live ammo, had live ammo in them and killed the actor it was pointed at.

It really should not be about the number of deaths, but about even 1 death in such a “secured system”. Clearly the protocols were not sufficient in this case, and were not sufficient in previous cases.

re: General gun deaths in the population or in wars

Gun deaths in the general population are intended deaths. The guns are loaded with live ammo and are fired with intention to kill what they are pointed at.

Guns on movie sets are supposed to be “make believe” guns, even if they use real guns on the set, it’s not intended to kill the people on the set.

Homicide vs Manslaughter vs Accident

re: Real Guns are Real Guns

For USA gun enthusiasts, they know guns the way people here know code and security.

They will buy into make believe light sabers and make believe “set on stun” weaponry. They will buy into make believe armour and weaponry used in sword and board (1) movies. However, when it comes to guns, they know a fake one from a real one.

People spend money on plastic replica light sabers with battery powered light and sound effects, on lathed wizards wands for swish and flick, they dress up in fake armour and weapons (2), they buy clam shell style cell phones, just based on a movie image of “koool”.

People who like guns will spend money to buy the same gun as used in the movie.

In the USA, you can sue for defective plastic light sabers or splinters from swish and flick and any number of dangerous products. We cannot sue gun manufactures for the allure of their products.

re: Circular Firing Squad

The layout and story board for films is well defined for Hollywood productions. It’s known in advance, where, when, why and how action takes place on the set.

There are a number of cameras rolling and scenes are re-shot multiple times to get different angles and lighting.

In the cases of on set gun deaths, it is always because the gun is pointed at a person. It’s not necessary to have a person in front of the gun, especially with modern editing.

In the current case, the gun was pointed at off camera personnel.

There is a complacency that having a gun pointed in your direction is benign and we rarely react by Getting Out of the Way. We are lulled because the Hero always gets up and The Bad Guy resurrects 3 times from increasing lethal attacks by the Hero before finally succumbing and the Hero rides off in the Sunset.

Standing in front of a gun, shouldn’t matter what kind it is or who is holding it.


1) Sword and Board : Sword and Shield. In computer games often referred to as The Tank. The Tank’s job is to hold The Boss in position long enough that the rest of the team can defeat it. If a Tank fails to hold, The Boss often whips around and smashes into the light armour classes, generating a “WIPE” with the team defeated.

2) Any number of historical re-enactment groups, some less historical than others. All involving cosplay: costumes, accessories, armours, weapons, horses, etc.

TS January 26, 2023 1:34 PM

We demand realism from movies/shows. We are good at noticing small details (under particular circumstances), and for all the spectrum of opinions on guns, we are familiar with what they look like/how they behave.

CGI that could make a fake gun (especially in action) look real upclose (currently) is a very good CGI. Very good CGI costs money.

I’m going to speculate that creating a functioning prop that looks, operates and handles like a real thing is orders of magnitude more expensive than the real thing and multiples of cost of very good CGI. Making a replica of a historical/antique – again, multiply.

So, on macro-level, it is about budgets, and savings at the cost of safety.

This is not to take away from Clive Robinson’s point. The idea that live ammunition was on set is reflective of safety culture / level of professionalism of whoever was responsible for firearms. Zoromski’s story, if accurate, only confirms the lower-bidder-at-the-cost-of-safety mentality of the team. Good on Zoromski for walking away, shame on whoever was responsible for hiring armorers for not asking “maybe there is a reason why a professional just told us ‘thank you but no, thank you’ – should we re-evaluate our paradigm here”

The scary part is that I suspect the decision-making that led to low safety standards is probably not as rare – ‘Rust’ just happened to “get caught” by causing a terrible accident. That much more the reason to nail those who are responsible as a lesson for the others. If I understand correctly, they had “multiple warnings” along the way which they ignored.

re: lightsabers metaphor – i think if lightsabers were real, we’d be scoffing at the props in StarWars as “fakes”. “the buzz, the temperature of the light, the amount of sparks on contact and the speed of movement – it’s all wrong!”

Ok, i’m going back to yelling at the screen “suppressors don’t make them silent” and “that’s not how lockpicking works” now.

Jeff January 26, 2023 1:43 PM

From the reporting at the time, the handling of guns on movie sets has been “tuned” over decades for safety. It appears, from the reports, that the armorer failed to enforce the standards for safety.

One of the rules (again from reports) is that the actor must not tamper with the weapon at all, or the armorer will be required to take it back and inspect the condition before they can continue. So the actor is not able to check the weapon they are handed, and must rely on the armorer’s “cold gun” call.

Why he pulled the trigger is a question. Apparently they were simply checking the camera angles for the shot, to ensure they’d get what they wanted. There was a shield in place, but it was intended to catch debris from a blank round, not a bullet.

I’m certain that all of these procedures will be modified in the future.

This should be treated like any other industrial accident. Getting emotional because this death was by gun is not productive. Consider the decapitation by helicopter accident on a previous production. People who have seen the raw footage feel that the root cause of that accident was the director asking for the explosions to be more spectacular, to the point that the pilot lost control due to the turbulence. What’s needed is careful, reasoned review and correction of procedures to ensure this will not happen again.

One position on this incident is that the armorer failed (much as the director may have been the root cause of the decapitation), and this was a people problem, not a process problem. But that’s not how you deal with industrial accidents. If a human can foul it up, you change the process to at least block that specific method of fouling.

Frankly January 26, 2023 3:21 PM

Period-authentic firearms are a special type of prop. Older guns did not have the modern safety features, like a transfer bar to prevent accidental discharge. So an “old West” revolver prop might be much less safe than a modern revolver used as a prop. Semi-auto pistols are modified with lighter springs to fire blanks. There is no substantial recoil with blanks, and it shows in almost all movies and TV shows.

Older props were set up to fire blanks, prior to good CGI. A gun firing blanks is also able to fire real bullets:

Brandon “Lee’s death in 1993 was the last recorded accidental death by a prop gun on a movie set [.44 caliber bullet]. Before that, in 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum was killed on the set of the TV series Cover Up. Hexum accidentally shot himself in the head with a gun loaded with blanks.” [NRP.org]

You can die from a gun loaded only with blanks, if the muzzle is up close, as the hot gasses can damage soft tissue extensively.

Muzzle flash is not the issue. Rust likely did not intend to use blanks, but dummy rounds. They would have added CGI muzzle flash later, as that is a canned effect (cheap). Live rounds were on the set because the crew were firing real ammo from prop guns for fun in their free time.

New standards are needed which prohibit any prop gun that can fire bullets or blank ammo from any set over which the unions (guilds) have control. This can be done by agreements among the entertainment unions. Prop guns should be unable to even load real ammunition and blanks.

Mike January 26, 2023 3:30 PM

I once saw an an airport gun in a import store that was powered by gas of some kind. It also had realistic recoil. So they do exist. Hollywood just needs to produce/update the design.

Winter January 26, 2023 4:10 PM


Which is the bigger problem for us to address — guns on movie sets or the daily carnage on our streets ??

You can add the preventable deaths from insufficient health care coverage.

All are symptoms of the same underlying lack of consideration for other people’s life&limb.

The traffic deaths are a good yardstick. The USA has worse traffic statistics than Russia. USA traffic death rate is twice that of Greece, purportedly the worst in the EU. Americans just don’t care.

Parisni January 26, 2023 4:27 PM

Also why weapons in films ? I mean let’s replace them with flowers, bibles or anything humans is proud of

SumDumDum January 26, 2023 5:01 PM


bibles are a cancer to humanity.

@ all

here’s the thing I don’t get, but is probably due to me having been raised with guns in the home, is even after you get handed a weapon after just watching someone check it, YOU ALSO CHECK IT! problem solved… and could have been avoided in 10 seconds flat.

Kent Brockman January 26, 2023 5:06 PM

Would this even be a story if it wasn’t a celebrity pulling the trigger? Gun deaths in the US are so yawn…

Steve January 26, 2023 5:32 PM

American schools have had two shootings this year. It’s January. One was a 6 year old kid shooting a teacher. Two people died in the other shooting.

One person is shot on a movie set and it’s all over the press.

Get your priorities right, America. Do you even care about your own kids?

JonKnowsNothing January 26, 2023 6:45 PM

@Parisni, All

re: Books as physical weapons

In the USA, you can go to jail for winging a book at another person. If your throw is accurate and you hit them, you can go to jail for that too. If the book causes any damage, like cut, bruise, abrasion, or knocks them down, you can add that in to your Doing Time Count.

Books are dangerous, in more than one way.

lurker January 26, 2023 6:52 PM

When you treat guns as household appliances, familiarity can breed contempt.
The armorer was the professional on set with the responsibility to see that “prop” guns were not loaded, or at least loaded only with approved blanks. Anyone who has had professional/military training in weapons handling would have also checked themselves that the gun was not loaded with lethal ammo. Should Baldwin have so checked? He trusted his armorer.

The film’s armorer who prepared the gun, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will also be charged with involuntary manslaughter, and the production’s assistant director, David Halls, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the Santa Fe special prosecutor, Andrea Reeb. The exact chain of who handed the gun to whom is disputed by the trio.

The Guardian also mentions other cases on the periphery, against Rust for emotional distress, and against the ammo supplier for delivering both blanks and “live” rounds to the set.


Clive Robinson January 26, 2023 8:46 PM

@ All,

A couple of points to note,

Firstly Gutierrez-Reed the armour has said there were no lead rounds on set by her actions. It would be safe to assume if any had been ordered by her and delivered then there would be a paper trail of orders and deliveries to show that. No mention has been nade of any such paper work.

Secondly it appears Gutierrez-Reed is suing the supplier of the prop amnunition. In which it is claimed the boxes are “made from loose” by the supplier, not “original sealed” from the manufacturer. If that is the case, then less than it’s possible the person loading the boxes was not as qualified as they should be. Also that quality control was deficient, simply weighing a box would have shown a discrepency that should have been checked.

Neither of those rule out “third party” ammunition.

The Sheriff has indicated they are / were considering sabotage, by a disgruntaled person…

But also there are stories floating around of “guns going off set” into the desert by people to do knock down shooting. If there was no live rounds brought on set as Gutierrez-Reed insists, then where did the live amunition come from… I know from past experience that in some parts of the US ammunition could be purchased almost as easily as a sandwich and diet soda, if that is the case in the area around the set I don’t know. But if it is anyone “doing a little plinking / knock-down” could have brought ammunition on set in their pocket and even their own hand gun in a bag.

Did this happen, simple answer is we don’t know, but we do know that there was a “walk-off” over a number of issues several days prior to this incident.

Could live rounds get put in the boxes of prop ammunition on set?

Simple answer is probably yes. If a gun was illicitly borrowed and returned but not fully cleared, then it would be possible that some one unloaded live rounds and put them in part used boxes of prop rounds whilst also “dumping brass” into the armoures used brass bin.

I’ve very very rarely seen “count out and count in” at an armory except in off range usage[1] when doing guard patrols with live ammunition on base or civilian areas where every round has to be accounted for. Even then it was not counted but magazines were issued sealed and numbered and weighed back in to save time etc.

So yes it could be either sabotage or foul-up by a third party… in either case it would be very difficult to find evidence of that, not all rounds come with batch/lott numbers let alone tracable serial numbers that some people want to happen (and would be pointless with reloading brass getting sold or passed on etc and even turning up in fassion accessories).

[1] On UK military ranges you are supposed to “police your brass” that is pickup all the round cases ejected from weapons at the firing points. But you’ve little chance of getting exact numbers back. However in the 1980’s I used to regularly find brass that others had missed that should not be there like .22 and some interesting bolt action rifle rounds including rimmed 303. On one occasion down on a range in East London I found one[2] of real interest to collectors at the time. It was for an AK-74 and at that time there were officialy no AK-74’s in the UK or most other places out side of Soviet controled areas…

[2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.45×39mm

SpaceLifeForm January 27, 2023 12:39 AM

@ SumDumDum

You should not hand a weapon to another person.

You should set it down, and let the other person pick it up.

R. Cake January 27, 2023 2:01 AM

The number of comments on this thread says it all. I mean, this is a matter of Matthew 7,3.
Firearms have no place in the hands of civilians, really. And just about everyone on this planet understands this: except for places where there is
a) an ongoing or recent civil war (Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan) … AND of course
b) the U.S.
Good luck. I have no clue how this could possibly be fixed. Most probably it will take generations of education, but that may or may not help. Good luck and my deepest compassion to all victims of useless shootings, their loved ones and friends and all the thousands and thousands that are traumatized by these every single year.

Delta Alpha Pi January 27, 2023 3:35 AM

From the collected anecdotes it looks like the revolvers are more prone to incidents. You need blanks for the flash and the bang but also ammo with ball without the gunpowder because they must be visible in close front pictures.
The Crow movie incident is somehow exemplary to understand how misfortune and negligence work perfectly together.

Basically they rely on the absence of real ammo to ensure safety. And nonetheless they fail.

If they bring also real ammo to the movie set you get the full setup for disasters.

Matt January 27, 2023 4:02 AM

Because the movie is being shot in Murica. If it was shot in Europe, like A Fistful of Dollars, it would be illegal to have real guns on set.

Denton Scratch January 27, 2023 6:48 AM

Should Baldwin have so checked?

He’s an actor, not a professional firearms handler. If the props man had given Errol Flynn a sharpened sword, and he had run his adversary through by accident, that would be the fault of the props man, not Flynn.

I don’t get why Baldwin has been hauled up.

Clive Robinson January 27, 2023 10:04 AM

@ Denton Scratch, ALL,

Re : Feeding the beast.

“I don’t get why Baldwin has been hauled up.”

Because politicians and the MSM woke the beast that almost always underlies vigilantism. And once woken the beast has to be fed. Think of it like the “virgin offerings” of legand to mythical monsters like dragons etc.

But the beast is neither myth or nonsense, it’s all those that make the “just society”. The thing is justice is not required but a show trial is, it all has to be a spectacle to amuse and saite the beasts lust for blood.

The US people have been told he is a “bad man” by the press over and over. He now can not get justice only a show trial or early demise as his career is now effectively over.

Yes he made mistakes after the event in talking to the press. Whilst there may be good journalists out there, the rest know that ripping Baldwin down from the pedestal their earlier colleagues put him on will bring them both money and prestige at little or no risk.

But hey that’s what living in a “free speech nation” run by “capitalistic morals” gets you, where the press can convict you in the eyes of the masses without evidence or fairness or any form of justice.

It’s why other nations firmly believe in “innocent untill proven guilty” and reserve some very harsh judjments and punishments for those that break the rules thus preprejudice individuals who might form a jury.

David in Toronto January 27, 2023 10:25 AM


The reason that Baldwin is being charged will likely have more to do with his role of executive producer than actor. If safety was so badly neglected then the buck stops with him.

Commando John with a Small Pistol January 27, 2023 11:36 AM

HELLO! Why not use a race “starters” pistol! It makes noise, smokes and props should be able to “cast” over it to make it appear LARGER. Just have the insurance company pay-off the claim like their supposed to do. Go figure…more unrealistic HOLLYWOOD “fake” people – but – do honor and remember the victims +

Slicing Steve January 27, 2023 10:53 PM


bibles are a cancer to humanity.

No, The Bible is the living Word of God. Only non believers and occultists (usually one and the same) fight against it. Deep inside, they know it’s true, but the wolf has blinded them with false light.

lurker January 28, 2023 4:01 AM

According to legend a Bible has on more than one occasion prevented a bullet from penetrating an intended victim, just by its physical properties as a wad of paper.

Clive Robinson January 28, 2023 6:04 AM

@ lurker,

“According to legend a Bible has on more than one occasion prevented a bullet from penetrating an intended victim.”

Not legend.

During the “Great War” or First World War as we now know it, my Grandfather was serving in the trenches in France.

He was in the front of “the muster” for “Church Parade” –called by a very junior and inexperienced officer– when a German Sniper shot him.

The shot entered his unifom very nearly over the heart entering the left breast pocket. The impact shock knocked him to the ground with three broken ribs. What stopped the bullet which we still have in the family, was his small book of common prayer and a couple of silver Florins (two shilling coin) we also have.

He was sent back behind the lines to a hospital, and unfortunately on becoming fit and returning to the lines he was in one of the first groups to be gassed. He was invalided out, having lost a lot of lung material his health was shattered and he spent much of the rest of his life sitting in blankets close to the fire so he did not catch any germs as his first “London Cold” quickly turned to pneumonia and very nearly killed him. He managed to still earn a small income working in his workshop / studio doing commission pieces and start and raise a family.

As for the stopping power of a book, we used to use old telephone directories behind the targets of an indoor temporary shooting range. I know that a 7.62 round from a rifle fired at just 10meters did not go through.

Interesting side note, good quality paper in a properly bound book is not just more dense than wood, it can be more dense than water so sink rather than float as you might expect. But papers stopping power is not realy due to it’s density quality or strength, but due to the fact the pages are effectively very weakly laminated by air preasure thus have a frictive force when in book form. As the bullet enters it’s energy is rapidly spread out over a large area as it tries to pull the individual sheets towards it, and very quickly reaches an area atleast as large as the butt of the rifle that fired it. Hence Newton’s “equall and opposit” applies.

Tjilpi January 29, 2023 4:48 AM

I’ve worn both green/camo and blue uniforms over the years and competed in national pistol/rifle competitions here in Australia.

I don’t care who said forearm was ‘cold’ or not it’s up to the person holding it to check it for safety!!!

My 7yo sons were taught to clear rifle shotgun pistol and revolvers AFTER asking permission as kids.

Sorry Alec but you are the responsible one.,,,

tim January 29, 2023 1:12 PM

Alec Baldwin spent hours talking with the police investigating the incident without a lawyer present.

Moral of story: don’t talk to cops. ever.

jdgalt1 January 29, 2023 2:41 PM

Baldwin played Jack Ryan in Red October but then wouldn’t do any more Tom Clancy stories, because he hated guns and didn’t want to promote their use, even by federal agents.

This shooting is the kind of result that attitude produces. Let him own it.

A Man Without Name January 29, 2023 7:23 PM


A Fistfull Of Dollars was shot with replica guns by Aldo Uberti Inc. Don’t let that “replica” fool you – those were (and are) precise operational copies of real guns.

Adrian January 30, 2023 2:36 PM

Long ago, I read that major gun makers have (or had) representatives in Hollywood that try to persuade movie makers into having the heroes carry their brand and the villains don’t. In some movies, the villain’s gun is modified so that it doesn’t resemble any actual model.

Car manufacturers, computer makers, beverage companies, and fashion designers also try to get their wares into movies and TV shows, too. If I recall correctly, the gun makers generally don’t (or didn’t) offer any compensation for the marketing so those cases weren’t technically “product placement.”

A lot of people in the U.S. are, shall we say, firearms aficionados, and a lot of those go to movies. Just as a car fanatic might enjoy spotting classic cars in a movie, the, uh, people well versed in recognizing gun models, also enjoy the challenge.

Even with real guns, movies and television have always dubbed the sound of gunshots. So that part of the post-production cost already exists. Muzzle flash is now a standard plug-in in many editing suites, so I believe that cost has come way down. Most of the productions have to produce non-functional replicas as well.
Stunt performers who must wear or carry weapons are usually using rubber or even foam replicas. (Granted, those generally aren’t close-up ready “hero” props.)

Actors mime actions the time. If they’re failing to give convincing recoil motions, the director could send them to an off-set shooting range to get the feel of shooting the real thing.

Blanks have real dangers as well. Blanks can be loud as real ammunition, so your actors should have hearing protection, which, of course, you don’t want visible in the shot. Even though there’s no projectile in a blank, there’s a substantial shockwave (otherwise there’d be no recoil). Actors have been injured and even killed from blanks at close range.

It’s hard to imagine that the cost of an armorer, actual guns, blanks, and compliance with the safety guidelines are still that much more expensive than giving all the actors toys and “fixing it in post.” In fact, there are some TV shows that have gone this route.

I’d like to see the companies that insure productions give discounts for not using actual firearms.

Mike January 31, 2023 1:09 PM

-Clearly there’s an industry problem. Blanks can’t be CLEARLY distinguished against Live Rounds?
Are you kidding me?
There is your PRIMARY FAILURE.

-Expecting Alec Baldwin, an ACTOR, to somehow determine, by pulling out the bullets from the revolver and examining them? that he’s got live rounds? Is InSaNe.

-Live rounds being fired on set, should Shut Down the Set.
At the very least, take all weapons and ammo off set, and start over.

-Let’s just hope it’s got nothing to do with a union strike.

Bill February 3, 2023 2:39 AM


Your fascistic take on this tragedy says a lot about you and your shallow outlook and empty fool-osophy.

Also, it probably says something about why Baldwin is being charged. He’s known as a liberal. Can anyone imagine Clint Eastwood being charged in a similar situation?

Baldwin also, in a state something like shock, a gun with LIVE ammo had just gone off in his hands and a person fallen to the ground SHOT! — Baldwin started talking to the police and to the press. Big mistakes.


Thank you for making the points that need making.

Winter February 3, 2023 3:53 AM

@Mike, Bill

-Expecting Alec Baldwin, an ACTOR, to somehow determine, by pulling out the bullets from the revolver and examining them? that he’s got live rounds? Is InSaNe.

I read somewhere an actor is not allowed to open a gun on stage. Only the armorer is allowed to do anything with the gun.

-Live rounds being fired on set, should Shut Down the Set.
At the very least, take all weapons and ammo off set, and start over.

Live rounds are not allowed on the set, at all. They should never have been anywhere near the gun in the first place.

My take is that:

  • 1 Someone illegally brought live ammunition on to the premises. That could be a security fail of the supplier of the blanks.
  • 2 Baldwin was legally responsible as he allowed the gun to be used on set in the absence of the armorer.


This shooting is the kind of result that attitude produces. Let him own it.

You “name” reminds me of Ayn Rand’s famous character “John Galt”. A man who feels justified to organize a strike that kills half the population of the fictive USA of the novels. Such a psychopath character would indeed suit a person who writes that the killing of a person by a gun was a just result of not wanting to use guns.

Clive Robinson February 3, 2023 4:55 AM

@ Mike, ALL,

“Clearly there’s an industry problem. Blanks can’t be CLEARLY distinguished against Live Rounds?”

In some cases that is true.

Some guns have the rounds in the gun on view to the camera lens both brfore and after being fired. A prime example is the “Six Shooter” used in “Wild West” films.

Thus the front of the bullet has to not only look realistic but be there before comming into the firing position and being gone after leaving the firing position…

There are ways to mark the casing, but in the past such rounds were “hand made” by or for the set armourer on site. This can give rise to “squib rounds” being made, where the powder but not the primer are removed. Supprisingly to many a primer has sufficient energy to push a bullet into the barrel of a gun and still alow the action to cycle. If a genuine blank is used as the next round fired it has more than enough energy to push the squib bullet out of the barrel at more than enough velocity to kill at close range (how Brandon Lee died during the filming of Crow).

But as the death of Jon-Erik Hexum showed even blanks at close range can kill.

The wadding from a 7.62 blank fired from a rifle will puncture the side of a tin of tomatoes if close enough. On a “Self Loanding Rifle”(SLR) you use a “Blank Firing Arrestor”(BFA) however if it is not propperly fitted or is defficient as I mentioned in a post above it can become a leathal projectile.

Much of this is unknown to even gun owners so…

Bill February 3, 2023 1:42 PM

@Clive @Winter @All

Thank you Clive for your knowledgeable summaries. We have come to have good reason to believe that the set was a mess. As you said above:

“But if it is anyone “doing a little plinking / knock-down” could have brought ammunition on set in their pocket and even their own hand gun in a bag.

“Did this happen, simple answer is we don’t know, but we do know that there was a “walk-off” over a number of issues several days prior to this incident.

“Could live rounds get put in the boxes of prop ammunition on set?

“Simple answer is probably yes. If a gun was illicitly borrowed and returned but not fully cleared, then it would be possible that some one unloaded live rounds and put them in part used boxes of prop rounds….”

@Winter’s assessment of Baldwin’s legal responsibility is what the lawyers will be arguing about.

Adlai February 16, 2023 7:14 AM

On the unlikely chance that the man himself — Bruce, not Alec! — reads this far down the comments, I’m gonna run the risk of getting accused of falling prey to an ‘ad hominem’ fallacy; before you pick up that broom to brush this comment aside, consider that I am not attacking anyone, only complaining.

Bruce, I’m slightly disappointed by your writing in this specific item, and not for any reason related to operational security. Firstly, your word choice in the blog post’s title is quite awful, considering that the man getting tried for some sort of homicide, and suspected of worse, probably also has to cope with pissing off the kind of friendly clubs that make Hollywood the world’s number one producer of satisfaction; and second of all, forget about the costs of props and effects, and think back to your own writings about the human element in security. So much of cinema is about filming people’s reactions, rather than the things that made them twitch and dance. While the special effects for faking gunshots might be expensive, the actors — and actresses — who can fake the reactions could always be one scheduling conflict away from vanishing.

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.