guns, hollywood, the rock

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson explains why his production company won't use real guns anymore.

The tragic shooting that took place while filming the movie "Rust" shocked the world. Even if it wasn't Alec Baldwin himself who pulled the trigger that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, the fact that a gun used in a movie was able to kill anyone during filming is beyond comprehension.

Much has been made of the people involved, the protocols ignored and the safeguards that could have and should have prevented such a terrible accident. Part of those discussions is the question of why film productions use real guns in the first place. Obviously, authenticity is desirable in a movie—we viewers expect films to look as realistic as possible. But in the days of digital enhancement, computer-generated special effects and postproduction editing tools that can do almost anything, are real guns necessary to achieve realism?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says no. In an interview with Variety, The Rock said that his film production company, Seven Bucks Productions, will not use real guns in any of its films or television shows moving forward.

"We're going to switch over to rubber guns," he said. "We're going to take care of it in post. We're not going to worry about the dollars."


"It just sucks that it had to happen like this for us, on our end—and I can't speak for anybody else—but for us to wake up," he said.

He said that within two hours of learning about Hutchins' death, he was on the phone with his team to discuss how they could make productions safer.

Several people in the industry shared the dangers of guns on set—even prop guns that fire blanks.

Television David Slack wrote on Twitter:

"When I was in college, we were lucky to have a teacher who was REALLY good about prop gun safety. He did a demo where he hung a piece of paper from a c-stand and then fired a prop gun BESIDE it, not even pointed at the paper.

But because this prop gun had a plugged barrel, that means all the blast — 1/2 the gunpowder required to propel a bullet beyond the speed of sound — comes out the SIDE of the gun. It blew a hole in the paper and lit it on fire. Prop guns are guns. Full stop."

Movie armorer SL Huang also chimed in on Twitter with a thread about how many safety protocols were obviously missed or ignored.

Huang also shared that "prop guns" are not guns that fire blanks. A prop gun is fake, a replica often made out of rubber. A blank fire gun is a real gun. "Sometimes real guns are used 'cold' (unloaded) if either there's no matching prop gun or if they want a closeup (the props are usually not as nice looking in detail)," she wrote.

However, she reiterated, there are so many measures and checks and protocols that should have prevented this incident many times over.

Some may feel that The Rock's pledge to not use any real guns on set is overkill, considering the fact that strict safety protocols, when followed properly, can prevent incidents like the one that killed Halyna Hutchins. But if the same effect can be achieved without the use of real guns, why not go the safer route?

Perhaps it's worth considering how often guns are used in our entertainment industry. According to research from Ohio State University, gun violence in PG-13 movies nearly tripled between 1985 and 2015. Is Hollywood fueling an obsession with guns or is America's obsession with guns fueling Hollywood's choices? Who knows. But considering the fact that 2020 saw 20,000 Americans die from gun violence (more than double that if we include suicide), which is the highest number in at least two decades, perhaps it's worth examining.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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