That said, I'm a former armorer for reasons. And because I've had three years now to think about the conditions this set was on, my own thoughts are coloring distinctly.
Ordinarily, I would agree that the buck stops with the armorer. That's how I did the job.
That said, I've also taught my acting students that there are several people on set who are supposed to be responsible for safety in one capacity or another. But the grim reality of the industry is that their real job is to get their next job. That nobody cares more about their own safety than they do.
I've also been a hungry armorer. An armorer with no idea where their next gig was coming from.
An armorer who had to get in a 1st AD's face over a safety issue.
I still did it. Because that's the way I did the job.
But I was hungry when I did it.
I was scared when I did it.
And more and more, I'm thinking I shouldn't have had to be in that position in the first place.
At the end of the day, the armorer had the responsibility.
But the producer and the AD had the power.
That's fucked up.
It's a recipe for disaster.
She had the responsibility but they had the power.
(It's also why the side-eye slut shaming of the armorer at the hands of guntry club fudds, tactibros, and Joe Rogan wannabes is particularly pissing me off.)
And what's even more fucked up is that it took Hutchins' death to hammer that home to me of all fucking people.
One of the articles going around that points out that armorers are almost entirely unregulated.
They're that way because Hollywood doesn't want to think about them.
No more than they want to think about the multitude of A-listers with felony records flouting federal law by handling firearms on screen without so much as a raised eyebrow.
Because those laws are for little people.
(Remember a few years ago, when NY rammed yet another stupid gun law through so fast they didn't put in exceptions for cops, let alone anyone else? Chunks of the theater and film communities were screaming bloody murder that they'd be as badly restricted as the hoi polloi.)
Armory procedures are a pain in the ass all around the world; ask any grunt that's ever had to be up at o-dark-ridiculous to do a weapons draw in the cold. Makes it easy to forget that following them is what puts much less blood on the walls.
Hollywood wants armorers to do their jobs and then scuttle back into the darkness like the filthy peasants they think they are when they're not waiting for the cameras to roll.
That's why they have no power but all the responsibility.
They're highly skilled, heavily disrespected, and ultimately expendable.
And that's what makes Baldwin's statements and the asinine no-more-guns-on-set crowd as insulting as they are pathetic.
Because God forbid the filthy serf showing you how to hold a disgusting gun have any sort of power over the artists.
That's the core problem.
And it's going to remain a problem as long as it goes unaddressed.