So likely you have heard the particulars. On the set of RUST a live bullet ended up in a gun and someone lost their life. Lives were unalterably scarred.
John Campea on his Youtube channel, has a really great overview on the issue. And I direct you to the videos below.
One thing he mentions is this could have been solved by not having a live gun on the set, and just using fake guns and CGIing it in.
And a recent production has come out in the wake of the tragedy to say just that, they will use airsoft/fake guns and CGI in the discharge.
That’s not a bad idea. However I don’t know if it actually solves the issue, or keeps this from happening in the future.
It may be creating a more dangerous atmosphere.
I will explain.
In over a hundred years of cinema, you and I can count on one hand the number of gun related deaths that occurred on a movie set.
Compare this subset, to the amount of deaths that occur outside the film industry, and proportionately the film industry may be one of the safest industries in the world.
A lot of this is an environment that encourages having licensed armorers and weapon smiths and experts on hand. Currently the movie industry when it comes to guns, works from the point of view this is dangerous, “let us have checks and balances and layers of accountability to make everyone aware of the danger and treat it with respect and with care.”
And that mindset, that process, placing the Brandon Lee and the Baldwin tragedies aside, that process has proven to work 99.99% of the time.
And the times it doesn’t work, as in what we are learning from the Baldwin case, is people grossly not using the industry standard checks and balances.
Now I am not one of these gun toting idiots (though I do own guns) who chants idiocies like ‘guns don’t kill people’. Given the bloody, almost daily issues of American mass shootings, only an ignorant idiot, a venal scumbag. or a psychopath would be against greater checks and balances when it comes to gun ownership and gun control. We may differ about how that should be enforced, but without a doubt greater checks and balances are needed.
That’s not what the Baldwin conversation is about.
However I do think the response to the Baldwin tragedy to replace a 100 years of checks and balances and onset experts, with fake guns will actually make the movie set less safe.
Who needs an armorer on set, or to check guns if we sell the industry on the idea we have fake guns on set?
That’s all well and good, until someone, does something similar to what was done in the Baldwin case, say bring a real gun on set that looks like a fake gun.
And now, in that future ‘safer’ set, you have dismantled the checks and balances of a 100 years of treating every gun on a set like the dangerous thing it is. You are lulled into thinking every gun on set is now a toy, and don’t have the experts on set, it is a recipe for exponentially more disaster.
The Baldwin situation did not happen because the system was broken, it happened because the checks and balances of the system, of a standard movie set, were not used. According to early speculation, to save money, unqualified people were placed in positions of trust. and their failure to be worthy of that trust… ended in blood.
The takeaway of such a tragedy should not be to do away with a branch of cinema, the armorers and weapon masters, and checks and balances, treating every gun on a set like a deadly weapon. You do that, and you infantilize the industry with this false belief “oh we are using fake guns, now we are safe, this tragedy will not happen now” is the very kind of mindset that will lead to exponentially more such tragedies.
The armorers and the weapon masters, the trained, licensed ones, are the ones who keep people from getting dead, and have done so for a 100 years. Making movies will always entail risk. Whether it is helicopter accidents, car accidents, fires, or munitions. But every job entails risk. Life is risk. You may get run over crossing the street, die while on the highway to work, fall down steps, get electrocuted (my line of work), or simply slip in the shower.
Few places or jobs offer experts around you to try and keep you safe. A movie set is one of those few places.
Here Endeth my 2 cents.
My condolences to all affected by this tragedy.