Murder mystery fans know: Guilty is the one who loads the bullet

Can you tell which is the live round and which is the blank?

We have all watched countless action movies and murder mysteries in which actors are killed or wounded on film, not in real life. That is why it was so surprising that Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured on the set of Rust. 

The Santa Fe Justice Department, the media, and Hollywood have reported that an irresponsible twenty-two-year-old Armorer and an angry old Hollywood actor behaving recklessly were responsible for the death and injury on the movie set. But are they?

When was the last time an actor was shot and killed on a movie or television film set? In 1993, Brandon Lee was killed when his co-star fired at him with a prop gun during filming. Brandon Lee was killed by a blank, not a live round. How often has a gun been fired on a movie or television set during filming? I would expect it millions of times. That indicates that an impeccable safety record resulted from many safeguards being put in place. Safety did not count on just one person but a series of systems that ensured safety. As we say at Mick Rich Contractors and other companies, “Safety is No Accident.”

Marion and I enjoy murder mysteries, everything from Agatha Christy’s novels to the movie Knives Out. We have watched many murder mysteries where an actor is killed on a set by a weapon with a live round. The film’s investigator walks on the set, who fired the bullet, who was responsible for the handling and storing of the weapon. Every murder mystery investigator does not stop there. The driving question always is, “Who had a motive?” and “Who put the live round in the weapon?” The police investigators or the prosecutor on the Rust set never asked these questions. 

Before the day of the shooting, there had been no accidents or near misses. So, what changed from the day before the shooting to the day of the shooting?  There was a labor dispute, and the union members walked off the job and were replaced by non-union workers. This is a big deal! 

Our company, Mick Rich Contractors, assisted in building multiple sets when the film industry started in New Mexico. Once the film industry became established in New Mexico, we had a choice. We either became signatories to the union or did not work in the film industry. We chose not to work in the film industry. I learned long ago to either join the union or not, but not try to straddle the line because the risk can be significant. 

Santa Fe Democrats’ power stems from organized labor in every facet of our society. From the teacher’s union to building trade, public employee, and movie industry unions. Their contribution to Santa Fe Democrats funds their elections.  Michele Lujan Grisham and her fellow Santa Fe Democrats could not risk alienating the unions with an investigation into workplace union violence. The Rust investigation closed without discovering who put the bullet in the chamber.  

Rust Justice is just another case of Justice Santa Fe Democrats’ style. They mourn the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins; they congratulate themselves for the conviction of the powerless, reprimand the powerful, and continue with business as usual. While New Mexicans buried another piece of themselves with Halyna Hutchins. 

Have you decided how you will stand up for what is Right before it is too late?  

Host, “To the Point with Mick Rich.” 2018 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (NM). Founder & CEO, Mick Rich Contractors. Husband, father, grandfather. Read more from Mick Rich at

Opinions expressed by Piñon Post contributors do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the publication or its editorial staff. Submit an op-ed to the Piñon Post at


10 thoughts on “Murder mystery fans know: Guilty is the one who loads the bullet”

  1. Mick,
    “workplace union violence” is a stunner. Baldwin’s lawyers should kick the tires on that one. Thanks for your insights,

    Peter Burrows

  2. Stephanie McKenzie

    I became suspicious once I found it that Halyna was from Ukraine and her next scheduled project was about sex trafficking in Ukraine. Wasn’t Alec Baldwin a good friend of Jeffery Epstein? Has he been to Epstein Island or Zorro ranch? Just asking since no one has found a motive.

  3. In the old days unions were necessary, today, maybe not so much. Unions are corrupt and push agendas that are not always what the union members want. The biggest union that comes to mind is the teachers union. I am all for raising teachers salaries for a better product (kids that can read, write and do math). But is do not support all this woke crap the unions push. But that is what unions do. With all the money movies can make I would guess there is more corruption in them. Heck young stars are forced into having sex with old men in order to get noticed, heck killing someone does not seem to far of a stretch. I guess NM law enforcement heard “these are not the drones you are looking for”.

  4. I’m against all organized labor. It is in a communist playbook. But when the news reports first were released it was stated that the crew had taken a break. There was not a scene being played out. My question is if this is true then why did Alec Baldwin even point the gun at anyone that wasn’t an actor and pull the trigger?

    1. Great question. Baldwin tried to claim that he never pulled the trigger, but we know that was a lie. I never thought anyone would be charged considering who was involved.

  5. Information is knowledge… I have a brother in law, who happened to be a grip for Warner Brothers in LA for more than 20 years. My BIL, knows the safety protocells. He understands the training that is mandatory for all movies that have guns involved in the making of those films…

    Everyone who handles a firearm is mandated to take the training, and everyone is individually responsible to insure the guns are safe to operate.

    Check. Mate. Conviction. Prison. Bubba has a new old girlfriend.

  6. at minimum 3 people failed basic gun safety-Check,check,check!! The armorer should have had ell the guns within reach. And how about the assistant director who went a got the gun? He took a plea deal in a hurry -(probably faster than he walked back to the set with the gun)..HMMMMMM. just sayin –who had eyes on him? Then good ole twitchy fingers Baldwin didn’t check (he could have looked down the barrel and tested it–might have made for a better story). But good ole “twitchy fingers Baldwin” is doing his best to shuffle all the blame on that girl.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top