Aesop has taken exception to those of us in the blogosphere who think that Baldwin should have inspected the firearm he was handed before he pointed it at a living person and pulled the trigger.
I dont normally call out other bloggers here, but since he referred to us as “Jasper and Billy Bob,” and I tried to post further comment on his blog but the comment was moderated away, here it comes.
People pointed out to him that, as a nurse, he checks medication vials that are handed to him before he gives them, rather than simply taking their word for it, so why shouldn’t an actor check to ensure a firearm isn’t loaded, even if the prop master says it’s not loaded. He replied that the medication is different, because ensuring it is correct is the nurses’ job, but actors are different because they aren’t trained.
He then goes on to claim that we aren’t qualified to judge him, because we don’t work in Hollywood on movie sets. He even brushed aside Branca’s opinion for reasons.
Aesop believes that since actors are busy, rich, and experts in making movies, that they are too busy and important to be bothered with mundane things like firearm safety, so should be permitted to pick up a firearm that a flunky tells them is uploaded, point it at someone, and pull the trigger. If someone is killed, well that’s just unfortunate, but at least the famous actor wasn’t inconvenienced with having to learn firearm safety.
So if he won’t listen to us, nor even to an actual attorney, maybe he will listen to the guy at this link, who DOES make movies. HE thinks that Baldwin messed up. An actual quote:
“Loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being,” said Bryan Carpenter, who heads Dark Thirty Film Services, “Even on a film or TV set,” he said “you never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don’t intend to destroy.”
The weapons consultant cited what he called “Colonel Jeff Cooper’s four fundamentals” of gun safety.
“All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are,” reads the No. 1 rule by Cooper, an influential gun safety expert who died in 2006.
The consultant also said that for safety purposes, live firearms used in TV and movie productions are typically aimed at a dummy point, not at equipment, cast or crew members, as was the case with the weapon handled by Baldwin.
Or you could take the word of a prop expert from this article, who said:
“There should be a number of people on-set checking,” said one prop assistant, who has worked on a big-budget Hollywood thriller. “If it were me, I would also have the actor check.”
Just because someone else is paid to do something doesn’t absolve you of responsibility. To use Aesop’s own example, if a pilot is told the plane was fully fueled by the maintenance crew, he is still responsible if the plane runs out of fuel mid flight.
No one is saying that the actor should be the only one to check the firearm, but he should be the last.