• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Propertius on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    thewizardofroz on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Branjor on Is “Balance of Nature…
    riverdaughter on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    Propertius on Happy Tolkien Reading Day
    Propertius on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    Propertius on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    jmac on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    William on Throwback Thursday: Corey the…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    thewizardofroz on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    William on Is “Balance of Nature…
    Beata on Is “Balance of Nature…
    seagrl on Why is something so easy so di…
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    January 2023
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 26, 2023
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – March 26, 2023 by Tony Wikrent   “U.S. Announces Plans To Reclassify Everyone’s Race Based On Net Worth” [The Onion, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 3-25-2023] “‘It is resolved by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that any American whose wealth exceeds $1 million shall be white,’ read the bipartisan legislatio […]
  • Top Posts

Is Alec Baldwin Being Singled Out?

I am somewhat rushing this off, and not researching the facts of the matter, if indeed anyone exactly knows them, but we are going to have a trial on them, so we will hear much more. Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins, Director of Photography on the set of the movie “Rust.” This is essentially charging him with criminal negligence, somewhat akin to driving a car at 100 mph. and hitting someone, or shooting a loaded gun into the air in celebration, and the bullet hits someone.

I think that most people did not expect the D.A. in this New Mexico town to charge Baldwin with anything. But she said that from the outset, her office was considering such a charge. They even let one of the other people who she said could have avoided this terrible tragedy, plead to a lesser charge in exchange for testifying against Baldwin.

My first thought, fair or not, was that Baldwin was being gone after because of his well known liberal politics, or simply because he is a big name, and thus a trophy for the D.A. But I try not to jump to such conclusions, because I do not know all the facts. It does seem very unusual, though. SAG and AFTRA issued a statement condemning it; the headline saying that they called it “wrong and uninformed.”

Clearly, a precedent here would put every actor in any film which has guns in it, which unfortunately seems to be most of them, at risk. Someone said on TV yesterday that because Baldwin was listed as an Executive Producer, he had more responsibility than an actor. But apparently these responsibilities were limited to having some influence over which actors might be chosen for roles, or with regard to script issues. Not matters involving the set, or safety issues.

Supposedly, Baldwin was told by the person on set who was responsible for such things, that the ‘gun was ?cold,” not loaded. That would seem to be common practice when dealing with guns on set. Was Baldwin supposed to fire it into some bushes to see? Obviously, it is absolutely necessary to make one hundred percent sure that no weapon on set is loaded. But what was Baldwin supposed to do, more than any other one of a thousand actors in movies is supposed to do?

Danny Cevallos, a respected defense counsel, said today that Baldwin saying in an interview that he would never fire a gun, was a mistake, because he did probably pull the trigger in this incident, albeit thinking that there were no bullets in the gun. The idea is that if you say something which can be contradicted, then that is used by the prosecutors to throw all of your credibility into doubt. Fair enough, but again, what was Baldwin legally required to do to make sure that what he was told about the gun not being loaded, was correct?

I am no expert in movie-making, but I think I have seen all sorts of guns, presumably not loaded, being fired in films.I think that Bruce Lee, and then later his son Brandon Lee,, were killed in dreadful on-set accidents. In the movie “Twilight Zone,” the then-hotshot director John Landis staged a scene involving a plane in which actor Vic Morrow was killed. In the chariot race in “Ben-Hur,” two people were killed, I think. I even heard something on TCM about how legendary director Michael Curtiz was so determined to have a particular historic film look realistic, that he put real spikes in the ground for the battle charge scene, and at least two people were killed, and maybe horses, too, by running over the spikes.

I don’t think that anyone was charged in any of these tragedies, but one could look it up. And if not, that does not mean that a more enlightened era could not have charges result from such incidents, though we have not, until yesterday. But unless we hear something astounding in this trial, I just do not see how Baldwin was guilty of a homicide through criminal negligence. The penalty is over five years in prison.

It is not that I am a major Alec Baldwin fan, though he had a great scene in “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and more significantly, I respect him caring about the country, and speaking out against Trump, which was never without risk. I cannot shake the suspicion that there is politics maybe beyond bagging a celebrity, involved here. If the facts show otherwise. I will accept that. But in a country where it seems that certain people can say, or incite, or threaten anything, and nothing happens to them, I do wonder.