Alec Baldwin pointed and fired a loaded gun on the set of the movie “Rust,” killing Halyna Hutchins, 42, the cinematographer, and wounding director Joseph Souza, 48.
The answer to the posed question is clearly both. Mr. Baldwin is an actor, and he killed Ms. Hutchins with a bullet fired from the gun he pointed in her direction–and then pulled the trigger. The more important question relating to Baldwin is: Is Mr. Baldwin guilty of involuntary manslaughter?
(N. B. With video coming in a few weeks, this space is now a summary, more like my speaker’s notes, pointing to both the audio podcasts and the videos.)
That is the subject of today’s 15 minute episode.
Three basic rules for handling any gun. The gun used by Baldwin was a high caliber, Colt 45 revolver.
Chain of events.
- Live rounds on the set. 500 live rounds on the set.
- Armorer. Inexperienced–low budget movie. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, received the fatal gun from crew member Sarah Zachary. The armorer, who also goes by Hannah Gutierrez, appeared on the “Voices of the West” podcast last month where she admitted she was initially uncertain about her abilities. “I just finished up working on ‘The Old Way’ with Nicolas Cage, his very first Western. It was also my first time being head armorer as well. You know, I was really nervous about it at first and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready. But doing it, it went really smoothly,” she said. Turns out she was not ready. No one dies when the armorer is ready. Additionally, around half a dozen camera crew members had walked off the “Rust” set just hours before the shooting in protest of working conditions, a person familiar with the matter told NBC News. Earlier, The Los Angeles Times reported that there were two previous prop gun misfires on set, one the previous week and one on the prior Saturday.
Assistant Director Dave Hall, described as the last line of defense, handed Baldwin the gun, saying “Cold Gun.” Live rounds.
- Alec Baldwin himslef, as are all of us, was the last line of defense. He failed. Here’s Mr. Baldwin himself on the subject of guns. “I’m in favour of people owning guns but I’m in favour of there being the most arduous process for them to qualify to own that gun. We license many things in our society. You can’t walk into a store to get all the drugs you need. You could be in agonizing pain, and you still have to go to a hospital and stand in line and you have to go to a doctor and get a prescription from a pharmacist. We license cars. We license a lot of things and I think that we need to license guns beyond the way we do it now.” Qualification must include training and responsible handling, eh, Alec?
Baldwin was not just an actor on the movie Rust, he is a major co-producer of the movie. As the actor who pulled the gun’s trigger and as one of the film’s top producers, he’s facing serious civil liability; insurance liability. Should he also face criminal liability?
Involuntary manslaughter is defined as an unintentional killing. Involuntary manslaughter usually involves acts of negligence or recklessness that lead to another person’s death.
Penalties for involuntary manslaughter are generally less severe than other forms of homicide. However, in New Mexico, it is still a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
This is very much about gun control–personal responsibility. No need for the predictable overreaction coming from the usual suspects.
Hutchins, 42, was originally from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She worked as an investigative reporter in Europe before moving to Los Angeles to do film, according to her website.
She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographer’s rising stars of 2019, according to the biography on her website.
Hutchins’ friends and mentors at the film school helped establish a scholarship fund “to honor her memory and support aspiring female cinematographers,” according to her husband.
“Anyone seeking to honor her memory, please direct your giving to this fund,” he tweeted.
Honoring her memory must include meting out justice to her killers, including actor Alec Baldwin. As a co-producer, responsible for the entire movie, and as the person who pulled the trigger without taking 60 seconds to check the firearm, Alec Baldwin is clearly guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
We all have the personal responsibility to know how to handle–and then do what we know how to do–when it comes to handling cars, knives, guns, etc. And we must face the consequences if we do not. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
Related Revolution 2.0™ links:
“My Various Reactions To Guns–And What I learned: EP. 205
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.