Rust

Alec, Alec, Alec.…

 

Been a couple of tough weeks huh?

 

Not as tough for you as the family of Halyna Hutchins….but hey these things happen.  At least that is what you have been telling people for years.  Guns are the problem, not the people holding them.  They just sort of go off on their own.

 

I respectfully suggest that you instruct your defense attorney to refrain from that line of argumentation at your trial.

 

That is if there is a trial.

 

You’ve got some things going for you I suppose.  The District Attorney has Mary Carmack-Altwies has some serious needle threading to do.  A proponent of gun control she has a natural ally in Baldwin.  Now she may have to prosecute him for doing exactly what you are not supposed to be doing with a firearm.

 

Anti Gun Hoplophobes are in a dire position.  One of their own is now in the block.  Do they walk him to the sacrificial judicial alter, send him to prison for involuntary manslaughter?  (A legitimate case can be made that that is exactly what he should be charged with).  Or do they give a favored son a pass.  Allow him the opportunity to make PSA’s demanding that our freedoms be restricted because of his own negligence.

 

The upside to prosecution:  Justice is evenly meted out.  The status of the defendant becomes irrelevant to the case at bar.

 

The downside to the prosecutor:  Not every anti-constitutionalist agrees that Baldwin should be prosecuted.  She may be very well be going against her own constituents and potentially ending her political career.

 

This brings up an interesting question….civil liability aside, (and yes, there is a ton)…did Alec Baldwin commit a criminal act when he pulled the trigger?

 

I would suggest that he did.

 

(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)

 

Let’s look at the New Mexico statute for involuntary manslaughter:

 

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 30-2-3 (1996 through 1st Sess 50th Legis)
30-2-3. Manslaughter.

 

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.

 

A. Voluntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

 

Whoever commits voluntary manslaughter is guilty of a third degree felony resulting in the death of a human being.

 

B. Involuntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

 

Whoever commits involuntary manslaughter is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

 

So… let’s interweave the facts as we know them with the statute as written:

 

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.

 

Okay… so we have no indication there was any malice aforethought between Baldwin and Hutchins, at least nothing so far has come out to suggest it.  Quite the contrary, his actions afterwards would suggest he was genuinely troubled by her death.

 

B. Involuntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection (emphasis added).

 

Yeah… here is the problem clause.  

 

Acting in his movie “Rust” would be construed as a lawful act.  Even shooting a gun during the filming of his movie would be considered a lawful act.  Yet, shooting a gun has consequences.  There is a reason why a movie set has an armorer.  There are also those pesky Four Safety Rules that Baldwin either knew, or should have known, from the many movies he has taken place in where weapons were used.  Chief among them are rule #1 and rule #2.

 

#1:  TREAT ALL FIREARMS AS THOUGH THEY ARE LOADED.

 

#2:  NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER OR POINT AT ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY.

 

Adhering to these rules would be the base minimum of “due caution and circumspection”.  There is a prima facie case he did not adhere to these rules since Hutchins was, in fact, shot by Baldwin.  

 

Under New Mexico law, it is evident Baldwin should be convicted of committing a fourth-degree felony.

 

Now we wait to see what the prosecutor’s political calculus will produce.

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Comments (14)

  • Tim Hohmann Reply

    I don’t think you can apply the traditional Jeff Cooper rules to movies. Frequently they have to violate rules #1 and #2 (and the others) for artistic effect.

    Normal traffic rules don’t allow you to drive 100 mph and jump over chasms, but they do it in movies. Normal common sense and safety laws say you can’t set yourself on fire in a public place but they do that too. They just have additional safety rules that, in most cases, ensure that actors and crew don’t get hurt.

    So movies, TV, etc. have to use a different set of firearms safety rules so they can violate our regular rules and still be safe. One could probably argue that Baldwin knew and observed the “movie gun safety rules”, among which was that if the person responsible for checking the firearm (the AD) tells you it’s a “cold gun” you can assume it is. If Baldwin was observing industry-standard (and presumably SAG/AFTRA & IATSE union approved) protocols wouldn’t that constitute “due caution and circumspection” on Baldwin’s part? Isn’t the AD who broke protocol the one who committed involuntary manslaughter?

    11/03/2021 at 10:21
  • Olaf Kilthau Reply

    I could see involuntary manslaughter. Very curious how this plays out.

    11/03/2021 at 10:36
  • Frank M Reply

    As someone else said, if the scene called for AB to point the gun at his head and pull the trigger, he certainly would’ve remembered the most important safety rule.

    11/03/2021 at 10:47
  • David Rose Reply

    Hi Steven,

    Although undoubtedly an “accident”, I do agree with your argument of a fourth degree felony. The whole matter is really a shame and didn’t have to happen if Alex Baldwin had followed the safety rules.

    11/03/2021 at 10:56
  • David A Weaver Reply

    Do you have any idea what the penalty might possibly be, should he charged and convicted?

    11/03/2021 at 11:23
  • Rodger Borge Reply

    Thanks for writing about this Steven. Yes Baldwin violated the #1 & 2 basic firearms rules we all know and forever continue to recite during our on-going training. I too believe he should be subject to criminal prosecution, BUT for all the reasons you stated and the fact he is a “star”, I think he is more apt to get is “pass” in favor of doing PSA on gun safety.

    11/03/2021 at 11:41
  • BRUCE NGUYEN Reply

    Thank you for sharing.

    11/03/2021 at 14:05
  • Sergei Grichine Reply

    How could the Four Safety rules be applied to acting in a movie? Actors are often given prop firearms by the armorer and are required in acting to point at other actors, or, for a dramatic camera angle – to the camera with cinematographer and director right behind it.
    The movie industry has other rules, and many extra safeguards (like a bullet proof shield for the camera in the second case) . Baldwin can be guilty as a producer, for not organizing the filming in a safe manner, but not as an actor pointing the gun as required (unless he did it for other than the purpose of acting/filming).

    11/03/2021 at 14:44
  • Ben Townsend Reply

    Good job, Steve, I remember our training well especially the rules #1 and #2. Even with the firearms at Artemis, yes they were real firearms capable of firing real projectiles but the Artemis Team ensured those mechanisms where disabled and thus we still adhered to treating them as though they were loaded-safety rule #1 and we never pointed them at anyone PERIOD-safety rule #2. Something that the Rust production team should have adhered to. How does a cinematographer who is not even a cast member get shot? This is nothing but negligence on the part of the Rust production team. There is much technology in the industry that firearms don’t need to be on the set at all and be dubbed or substituted in via this cinematography technology. As for the legal issues you present I would be surprised if anyone is held accountable after all we are talking about the Hollywood elitist and as you pointed out they would have to fry one of their own anti-gun HOPLOPHOPE

    11/03/2021 at 15:57
  • Mark StPierre Reply

    Baldwin is a Democrat….that alone is a shield that will protect him from what an “ordinary” man would face!

    11/03/2021 at 18:45
  • Mark StPierre Reply

    Ironically, Democrats, who, overwhelmingly, know nothing about firearm safety, will blame the bad, mean pistol for the death of Halyna Hutchins, when in fact blame should be cast on the person who pulled the trigger, a.k.a. Alec Baldwin!

    11/03/2021 at 18:49
  • steve rigdon Reply

    doesn’t matter how many people handled that weapon each & every one was responsible to check that it was unloaded and if loaded eject the rounds to make sure they were blanks not live ammo if they did not have that ability they should have called on someone that did.
    Baldwin is not exempt from this common sense procedure.

    11/05/2021 at 07:47
  • Bill Farone Reply

    If they give him a pass it suggests new life for the “I didn’t know the gun was loaded” defense. That was last heard in a Country and Western song from about the 1940s. Movie set or not, do you have a “right” to rely on someone else telling you the gun was not loaded? If someone got killed at a shooting competition or at a firing range we know the defense would not work. Making cowboy or other movies involving firearms should be no exception.

    11/05/2021 at 13:34
  • Rich Paddock Reply

    Steve: Interesting analysis of the shooting. Mr. Baldwin is due his day in court of course and I hope justice ( a rare commodity these days) prevails. As I typed this, I remembered a 1982 incident where actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed in the filming of “The Twilight Zone”. There is a very interesting article by Robert Weintraub dated July 26, 2012 called “A New Dimension of Filmmaking” that examined on-set deaths and the industry response. I encourage your followers to read it. Based on the articles’ revelations, a risk manager should have been on the set and this accident should have been prevented. Industry standards were changed and risk tightened up as a result to the Morrow/juvenile deaths, yet the question begs, were those industry standards present here? Indeed those question should be answered by a thorough investigation. And another question is the position of the NM DA. Many thought William Barr was going to be the Wyatt Earp of federal corruption and he only disappointed (at least with me). I hope the NM DA sees herself as the purveyor of justice based on law not turning her head to become another notch on the post of lawlessness.

    11/19/2021 at 06:59

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