There's only one question the prosecutor needs to ask Alec Baldwin

More than a year after Alec Baldwin had his hand on the gun and, indeed, on the trigger of the gun that killed Halyna Hutchins, he learned that he will have to answer in court for his decisions that day.  And really, when you think about it, just one question could decide the case.

Both as an actor and as the executive producer, Alec Baldwin did everything wrong as regards gun safety on the Rust movie set.  After shooting and killing Halyna Hutchins, Baldwin gave an interview that saw him ravaged with grief over Halyna's untimely death.  That devastated reaction was belied by other images as he paraded his happy family across the internet days after Halyna's widower Matt filed a wrongful death lawsuit.  Baldwin was so sure he wouldn't be facing criminal charges that he demanded his day in court to prove that he was not responsible for the gun in his hand killing Halyna.  I must admit I thought myself that Alec Baldwin would never be charged in any way for the death of Halyna Hutchins.

Yesterday, January 19, 2023, the news broke that Alec Baldwin will indeed be charged with involuntary manslaughter for Halyna's death.  He will face two counts of involuntary manslaughter so that the jury can decide which particular charge is more appropriate.  A conviction on either charge would mean a fine of up to $5,000 and jail time of up to 18 months.  However, one charge also contains a firearm enhancement, which carries a mandatory five-year sentence.

Image: Alec Baldwin.  YouTube screen grab.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the young armorer on the set of Rust, will also be charged with the same two counts of involuntary manslaughter.  That seems appropriate.  Her primary responsibility was to secure the guns in her keeping.  She failed to do so.  Baldwin could not have gotten his hands on a working gun if Reed had done her job.

The final responsibility still lies with Alec Baldwin.  The gun was in his hand.  As the old saw goes, guns don't kill people; people kill people.  Baldwin insisted that he did not pull the trigger.  The FBI tested the gun and determined that it could not go off without pulling the trigger.  Baldwin claims that he thought the gun was safe because the person who had handed it to him said that it was safe.  I can only hope the prosecutor asks Baldwin one question.  "Mr Baldwin, if the scene called for you to put the gun to your own head and pull the trigger, would you have accepted someone's word that the gun was safe, or, if your own life was on the line, would you have taken that one second to check it to make sure it was safe?"

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible.

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