The Rust shooting, a case that has taken the media by storm. On October 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin (he/him) accidentally shot the movie’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins (she/her), and director Joel Souza (he/him) with a prop gun that was unknowingly loaded. This incident had devastating outcomes as Hutchins lost her life while Souza was hospitalized for his injuries. Baldwin and the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (she/her), are both being charged with involuntary manslaughter.
There seem to be many issues with this case. First we have the charges against Baldwin. On one side of this incident, many are arguing that Baldwin should have made sure the gun was empty when it was handed to him. It’s a valid point, but we need to consider the roles of those involved in the incident.
Personally, I cannot support the charges against Baldwin. In my research, I learned that the armorer had put out three guns used for production. If a professional is being paid to be in charge of the weapons, they should be in charge of the weapons. Additionally, the assistant director yelled “cold gun” (meaning the gun was not loaded) after handing the gun to Baldwin.
An actor’s job is simply that: acting.
When handed a prop, they should be able to trust that their team has prepped properly, regardless of what said prop is. In this case, that prop is a gun, hence, production hired trained professionals to handle the weapons (that being Gutierrez-Reed).
Overall, I don’t necessarily agree with the charges against Baldwin. Although Baldwin pulled the trigger, he was not intending to shoot someone, and he was given a green light that the prop was ready for use.
With that being said, I think that this investigation needs to go further in terms of safety procedures on set. According to other news sources like CNN, there have been other occasions where actors would use an empty prop gun, only to find it fully loaded.
I consider this to be distinct negligence of safety from the armorer and those in charge on set. There was obviously no authority ensuring that safety concerns were being met, and I believe this is an issue that needs to be thoroughly explored to prevent future tragedies.