by Scott Creighton (H/T M)
UPDATE: Or… maybe not. At the end of the article, there are two screenshots taken from Adam Ward’s footage which appears to show something moving on a trajectory that is what you would expect of a shell casing being ejected from Flanagan’s gun. It is only one and Flanagan fires multiple times during that clip while in focus. But it is there. It could have been added post production since all we have seen of that video was what was released by the station (not a screen-grab from the original “live” shot) or, as a reader pointed out, it may have indeed been two takes. There’s nothing to prove it was a live feed from that location. Either way, it doesn’t detract from the other, important evidence which strongly suggests this was a staged event. Either by a “non-gun” or blanks, evidence shows this was a staged event.
A reader left me an interesting link. It’s a side-by-side comparison video of a real Glock 9 millimeter handgun firing real rounds compared to what we saw on the WDBJ shooting video. I thought you should see it. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Pay attention to the lack of muzzle flash on the real gun (left) and the lack of cartridges being ejected on the fake one (right)
After watching the video, I did a little research on the subject of something called “non-guns” because it occurs to me that people wont understand what it is Flanagan may have been firing that would have produced that exact effect, live on the video, with no editing or CGI. I have worked on several films and TV productions over the course of my life (Major Payne (my only IMDB credit), Cherry Falls (my only onscreen film credit as prop-maker (Raymond S. Creighton)), Forces of Nature and others) and of course, studied theater as an actor and director in college. I am aware of the kinds of props they appeared to be using in the WDBJ shooting event, but understand most people are not. So, after reviewing that video I wanted to make it a little clearer to people what exactly they may have been seeing.
A “non-gun” is something they created to use on films, TV and even sometimes in live theater performances to simulate the look, sound and flash of a real weapon safely, without the use of blanks which can be very problematic and even dangerous if not handled by professionals.
If you watch the video above you will notice that you can see cartridges being ejected from the right side of the gun, the real one on the left. You’ll notice that doesn’t happen on the video on the right.
You’ll also notice something I mentioned early in my investigation into this event and that is, on that deck, with that sound from the original video, you would hear those cartridges hitting the floor (go here and listen to the video without the static the makers of this video use to cover the screaming). You would see them for the first few shots and you would definitely hear them bouncing on that deck. But you don’t and there’s probably a good reason for that:
… they used a non-gun for the shoot.
There are replicas of firearms that can make a sound but do not use blanks. Known generally as non-guns, they were supposed to be the final savior for all performers needing to safely fire a weapon. For film use, they’ve been acceptable. Unfortunately for theatre, the hype was greater than the reward, so we don’t carry them.
Non-guns are battery operated devises that electronically ignite pre-packaged squibs within the housing of the replica. Squibs are very small explosive charges used for a variety of pyrotechnic effects. In the case of a non-gun, an electric circuit is completed when the trigger of the replica is squeezed, causing the squib hidden inside to explode. Depending on the manufacturer, there might be some flash visible from the barrel...
…Non-guns also have limitations for film. The replicas are solid shells with no moving parts, so there is no way to pretend to load the gun, no brass cases ejecting after each shot of a semi-auto or automatic weapons… Weapons of Choice
According to the official story, Vester Lee Flanagan II used a Glock 19 9mm pistol for the shooting. You can see it in his hand.
Here is a Glock 19 9mm non-gun prop.
ISS is one of the few providers of these working props in the country. On their website, they list the weekly rental price of a Glock 19 non-gun at $99.00. They also explain their product takes a variety of squib loads for whatever effect you are looking for.
NON GUN-“GLOCK”/MD17/19 BLACK WITH GRIPS COMPLETE AND OPERATIONAL,WITH 1-TEST LIGHT,2-WRENCHES & 1-PLASTIC BOX. 10/03
Weekly Cost: $99.00*
Quantity Owned: 1
There are other manufacturers out there with a variety of styles of the non-gun, but mostly they all seem to fit the same mold.
You have a loud prop-gun which produces more of a muzzle flash than real weapons do while ejecting no cartridges.
This is not too say this manufacturer had anything to do with producing this video, if indeed it was a hoax. This article is just providing a little background which may shed some more light on the event itself and how it was conducted.
A “non-gun” would certainly answer a lot of questions, wouldn’t it?
Update: The following screen-shots are taken from a pretty clear version of Adam Ward’s video. It appears to be a shell casing ejecting from his gun.
Is it possible this effect was added post production? It’s impossible too say since everything since the “live” broadcast is a video released by the station. The lack of casings being ejected from a “non-gun” is a well known drawback to using them and certainly would have been something they would have considered prior to it’s use. The fact that there is no audio evidence of the casing hitting the deck is telling as well. But, for the record, there is something that at least appears to be ONE casing being ejected in the Ward video (still none in the Flanagan version)