Letter To Alec

Here’s an interesting headline:

The sequence of events on set that led to Alec Baldwin accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins remains unclear but there are a handful of options.

…none of which are relevant.

Look, I know that Alec Baldwin has the mental capacity of a bag of cement, so all that follows below is wasted on him.  But here are the simple rules which, had they been followed in sequence,  would have prevented Baldwin from shooting an innocent bystander.  They are universally known to us serious gun owners as “Cooper’s Rules” (after the late and much-missed Col. Jeff Cooper):


Had Baldwin known anything at all about guns (he clearly doesn’t), he would have checked to see whether the round loaded in the gun was live or a blank (they look completely different from each other).


Had Baldwin not been a complete tit (he is), he would also have made sure that the gun was pointed in a direction where no one was standing, or else told whoever was standing in front of him to get out of the line of fire, even if he had made sure the gun was loaded only with a blank.

Cooper’s last two rules are not relevant to this tragic story, but nevertheless, here they are:



And that’s all that need be said.


  1. Rules ??? Alec Baldwin is one of the Beautiful People. He doesn’t do rules. He’s exempt. He has people for that.

    By sometime next week after a suitable period of introspection and handwringing , he will be on Ophra talking about eeeeeevil guns and throwing some lowly production assistant under the Bus.

  2. I want to see two things come from this:
    1. I significant monetary judgement against AB for Wrongful Death
    2. Two to five years in a NM state prison for negligent homicide.

  3. I have read that when shooting scenes with guns anyone in the line of fire is supposed to be behind a perspex screen. This is to guard against danger from the wad of a blank round (q.v. Brandon Lee). I expect that a live round would go straight through that. I expect that henceforth people will be behind bulletproof glass.

      1. Indeed. Anyone who ever watched Mythbusters knows that it is possible to put cameras and cinematographers behind transparent shields that will stop small arms fire and shrapnel.

        1. The rub is the round that AB shot was a very hot load. It went through the Halyna Hutchins’ chest and clothes with enough force to penetrate another layer of clothes and penetrate 3 inches in the shoulder.

  4. Rule Two was deliberately broken: the (film) shot called for the protag to aim at the camera. The director and cinematographer were (natch) standing behind the camera. The key thing about a risk is that you have to know it’s a risk. Baldwin (does he still wear a coat over his missing spines?) is as innocent as the clam that killed Euclid.


    1. nope. Baldwin had the firearm in his hand and he had control over it. If this filming sequence was dangerous and it sounds like it was, he had the responsibility to stop the line and refuse to do the scene out of caution for safety. Nope, Baldwin is responsible for manslaughter and must be held accountable


      1. I think it can also be argued that even if, as an actor, Baldwin was not responsible, as the Producer, he *was* responsible for ensure that everyone else is competently doing their job. Which is becoming more and more obvious was not happening. Supposedly the gun was being used by some of the cast/crew for target shooting, and live and dummy ammo were being stored together. Not to mention that union crew had walked off due to safety concerns earlier that very day.

  5. In the movie world, it’s not as simple as following the 4 rules. Since Brandon Lee was killed, the rules were rewritten so that it was against policy for ANYONE who was not the set armorer or one of his assistants to manipulate a firearm in any way, i.e. open the action or loading gate to check the status of a firearm. Typically, the armorer brings out the prop and hands it to the actor just before the director calls “action”, does the scene, then the armorer moves in and collects all the firearms. So, while I am no fan of Alex Baldwin or his politics, he had to take the word of the armorer that the gun was “cold”. So let’s see what the investigation brings out.


    1. Bullshit. Baldwin was in control of the prop and is responsible for his actions. If he is not part of the safety procedures then it’s up to him to stop the situation and refuse to participate in a dangerous situation.


    2. But, as the PRODUCER of the production, Alec Baldwin is responsible for everything that happens on the set, or in the name of the production.

      1. If nothing else, as producer, he is responsible for ensuring that the production has a competent armorer, and bless her her heart, but she doesn’t seem to have a good (or long) track record. There is a tale of her having handed a potentially hot gun to a child actor on her previous gig; she was reloading on the ground without ensuring that no debris had gotten into the gun, and other crew stepped in.

        And he certainly should have been stepping in to prevent people from using the “prop” arms for target shooting as is being reported.

        1. Alec Baldwin had possession of the firearm. He pulled the trigger. Regardless of where they were or what they were doing, Baldwin is responsible for pulling that trigger. Just like anyone else. A firearm, other than a solid plastic non functioning facsimile of a firearm can be dangerous if not used properly. Baldwin clearly did not use that item properly. He is responsible just like Dick Cheney was responsible for shooting his hunting buddy in the head. Baldwin should be held responsible like any of us would be held responsible for a negligent discharge of a firearm.


          1. Not disagreeing at all! It would seem that he’s guilty as both the guy pulling the trigger *and* the guy helping create/perpetuate the generally unsafe environment.

  6. It goes against my sense of propriety to try to score off of a tragedy (I’m not a leftist afterall). And as a dad with two adult daughters I would be shattered to lose one. But it’s hard to keep my schadenfreude down on this. At the very least when AB opens his entitled trap in the future we can saw my gun is safer than Alec.

    1. …… the Hollywood publicity machine is already spinning up “the narrative” ,

      she was too young and inexperienced……
      she was “afraid to load blanks…”
      she didn’t think she ” was ready to be the Chief Armorer.”
      …. some assistant director called out “Cold Gun” instead of her doing it.
      …… non-Union people were on the set.
      ….. Union people walked off the set the day before due to safety concerns.

      in a week, somehow this will be Donald Trumps fault.

      The only thing that won’t be printed is that Alec Baldwin had any responsibility in this.

    2. But, is she the one who walked off due to “safety issues”, or is she the non-union (IATSE) replacement?

  7. With today’s plethora of CGI effects – we’re not far complete movies with, in some
    cases, having retired or even deceased actors in them !
    Given the above statement, my only question is –
    Exactly what in the hell are they doing with LIVE AMMUNITION anywhere near the set ?
    I also agree with above posters in that I have no use for AB. From some of his ravings,
    he who strikes me as an arrogant twerp who lives in a make-believe fantasy land and
    who, long ago, lost the ability to differentiate between ‘his world’ and reality, if he
    ever had that ability.

    1. Just a guess about LIVE AMMO – some mook took that gun somewhere, maybe a range, maybe just off the set and had some target practice and returned a partially loaded gun to the set.
      I doubt we’ll ever know. I’m afraid this will end up like the stages of a project we used to joke about in engineering:
      • Enthusiasm
      • Disillusionment
      • Panic
      • Search for the guilty
      • Punishment of the innocent
      • Praise and honors for the non-participants and the screw-ups

  8. Alec, just think, you may go down in cinematic history alongside another notable star:

  9. I’ve never been involved in making a movie or TV show. But I have worked on community theatre productions, both as actor and as crew. So I can tell you that in that environment, actors are constantly told: CHECK YOUR PROPS. It’s a mantra. Yes, the props crew are expected to do their jobs. I know, I’ve been on props crew and even served as Props Master. But as an actor, you still have to take responsibility for any props that you handle. Because YOU are the one who could end up on stage with empty hands, or the wrong prop, or a damaged prop. If that happens, you cannot turn to the audience and say, “It’s not my fault!” You MUST check your own props. Do it before the show starts, and again at intermission for any props you will use during Act II. Everyone on set, including you, is responsible for doing whatever they can to make sure nothing goes wrong during the show. CHECK YOUR PROPS.

    If, as an actor, I were expected to point a gun at someone else on stage (whether I would be pulling the trigger or not), my Check Your Props ritual would include verifying that the chamber and the magazine were both empty. If the gun remained in the custody of a props crew member until it was handed to me just before I went on (which is a sensible precaution), I would insist that the crew member check the chamber and magazine in front of me before I would accept the weapon. Baldwin could have done this. Instead, he assumed that safety was someone else’s job and didn’t give it another thought. That means he has to take some responsibility for what happened. The question of how much responsibility is above my pay grade. That will have to be decided by a court.

  10. I don’t know anything about making movies, but I don’t understand why there would have been live rounds on the set. When I dry fire, I use dummy rounds that are a bright color and do dry firing practice on a floor of the house where I’ve never had live ammo. Probably being paranoid, but the ultimate point of firearms is to kill your target.

  11. From the way the story is developing, it sounds like this was a VERY sketchy production, with much cutting of corners. I’m not going to excuse Baldwin (whom I loathe) entirely, but it seems like a lot of people were responsible for an unsafe set.

    And, from what little I know, I don’t think it is possible to follow the Four Rules while making a modern action film, just as such a film is likely to require a driver (assuming cars in the story) to drive in a manner not merely unsafe, but grounds for commitment to an institution.

    Guns in a film are not treated as if they were real guns. Film guns have as much to do with reality as a lightsaber. Silencers that whisper. Gunfire that is stopped by a body, unless the script decrees otherwise. All the usual James Bond drivel.

    So, Baldwin was working on a sketchy set. He should have taken extra precautions…if he knew. OTOH, if your production is having troubles, you probably try to keep them from your Name Star, lest he do something like walk off the set and do something safer…like play in traffic.

    1. It gets worse:
      Baldwin is the PRODUCER of this film.
      He IS the BOSS, and has ultimate responsibility for everything that happens, whether in his presence or not, in the production of this film.

        1. But not necessarily in a Criminal Justice law manner. He’s on the hook for wrongful death, but as much as we’d like the rabid hoplophobe to experience some PMITA jail time for his anti-liberty views, there has to be a finding of criminal negligence on his part before that happens.

  12. In 2017 a cop was determined to have wrongfully shot a suspect to death. AB took to his twitter account with a relevant observation: “I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone…”

    Turns out he was able to answer his own question.

  13. This is hard to believe but some of the crew of the ‘Rust’ movie in production have stated the there was recreational shooting with live ammunition when the filming was not going on. Cast members were target shooting with the old Colt Revolvers using live ammunition which is totally nuts but that would explain how a revolver was loaded and killed the poor, now dead, lady. I have also read that shooting guns during filming they should never be aimed towards people the way Alec was aiming and those folks.

    I also read that from the sheriff’s department that when they were gathering up evidence of the shooting they found live ammunition stored in the same place the blank ammunition was being stored. This new stuff might be made up goofy stories but they do explain some of the disaster created by Baldwin along with a 24 year old inexperienced armorer who was not doing her job.

    1. A 24 year old inexperienced armorer with star-intimidation issues?
      This IS Hollyweird, after all.

  14. Aesop explains why things are different on movie sets where people point guns at other people all day long. There are strict protocols that delegate responsibility for gun safety to the armourer.

    There’s no point arguing the wisdom of that, it’s just how the regulations work in that specific industry. In this case, if Baldwin was told he had a cold (ie unloaded) gun then he bears no liability.

    On the other hand, as the producer he is responsible for hiring an inexperienced and incompetent armourer who handed him a loaded gun. That person is most likely going to jail.

    And if the reports of live fire recreational shooting on set are true, then who knows how the liability will be divided.

  15. I would argue that Rule 4 does, in fact, apply to this shooting. The way I’ve always heard it, Rule 4 reads “Be sure of your target and what’s behind it.” Clearly, Mr. Baldwin didn’t know or care that two human beings were in the line of fire.

    The big one, though, is Rule 1. If somebody hands you a gun, and yells “COLD GUN” the first thing you should do is check to see if it’s loaded. If it is, then, as producer, you fire the armorer, the director, and everybody else who touched that gun. And maybe you pay a little more attention when people are walking off your set because of safety concerns.

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