UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 17, 2024

OPINION | Alec Baldwin rightfully charged for fatal shooting

Alec Baldwin, an American actor, comedian, and producer is faced with serious allegations. Abigail Byington | Sun News Daily

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Alec Baldwin and “Rust” armorer were rightfully charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 19. 

Actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins Oct. 21, 2021. During the filming of “Rust,” an American-western movie, Baldwin also shot and injured director Joel Souza. The incident occurred on the movie set located at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hutchins was admitted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after being shot in her chest. Hutchins passed away later that day. 

Baldwin, along with the armorer of “Rust”, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are justly being charged.

Involuntary manslaughter is still a homicide charge. However, it’s not as severe as first-degree murder. For Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red, one charge is an 18-month sentence and the other is a five-year sentence.

A Market Watch reporter, spoke to a criminal attorney about the charges Baldwin is facing. According to the report, if Baldwin’s case goes to trial, Baldwin will only be convicted of one of the charges, and the jury will have to choose which charge for Baldwin to be convicted of. 

People magazine said Baldwin’s attorney made a statement that said: “This decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and represents a terrible miscarriage of justice. Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun — or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds. We will fight these charges, and we will win.”

Baldwin’s attorney is wrong. It doesn’t matter if Baldwin didn’t know there was a bullet in the prop gun. Just because he didn’t know about the bullet doesn’t make him exempt from the consequences of taking someone’s life. If any other person accidentally shot someone, they would be charged and forced to take a plea or serve jail time. Baldwin should not be treated differently than anyone else just because he is famous.

Not only do non-famous people face the consequences of their actions, so do other celebrities. Actor Matthew Broderick hit and killed two people in Northern Ireland in 1987.

CNN reported Broderick was charged with dangerous driving but the charge was later reduced to careless driving. He was fined and did not spend any time in prison. Broderick was not drinking, and therefore, the car accident was purely accidental. Yet, he was still charged and had consequences.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red have the options of taking a plea deal. However, both will be fighting their charges despite being guilty of losing a life on set.

According to People magazine, Gutierrez-Red’s attorneys said: “Hannah is, and has always been, very emotional and sad about this tragic accident. But she did not commit involuntary manslaughter.”

Her attorneys said that Gutierrez-Red’s charges are the result of a flawed investigation and an inaccurate understand of the full situation. Her attorneys intend to prove Gutierrez-Red’s innocence.

Special prosecutor Andrea Reeb and Mary Carmack-Altwies, Santa Fe County District Attorney, said that if Baldwin or Gutierrez-Red had done their job, Hutchins would still be alive.

Some people may say Baldwin should be let go because it wasn’t his fault. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he killed someone.

Baldwin did not intend to kill someone, but someone lost their life. Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red did not correctly perform their jobs by making sure the firearm was not loaded. That is their fault. 

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red’s lawyers believe their clients are innocent. However, they are not. 

Even though Baldwin should without a doubt be charged, Gutierrez-Red should be given a more severe punishment. Gutierrez-Red is the armorer, and her job is to ensure the transport and safe use of firearms. Technically, she should have made sure the firearm Baldwin had was safe to use.

Baldwin is still guilty for taking someone’s life. However, Gutierrez-Red should be held in a higher degree of responsibility than Baldwin. The fact is she didn’t ensure the gun was OK to use. If she had properly done her job, Hutchins would still be alive.

In a statement obtained by People, the Hutchins family attorney said on behalf of the family: “Our independent investigation also supports charges are warranted. It is a comfort to the family that, in New Mexico, no one is above the law. We support the charges, will fully cooperate with this prosecution and fervently hope the justice system works to protect the public and hold accountable those who break the law.”

One cannot put a price on life, and thus losing it calls for action. It’s doing the Hutchins family justice to not let Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red walk away freely. Therefore, Baldwin and Gutierrez-Red have been rightly charged.