The rules for the rich and famous are often different than the rules for others.
Where’s Alec? In October 2021 in New Mexico while filming the movie Rust, Alec Baldwin shot and killed one coworker and wounded another. His action was almost certainly unintentional, but the result was the same, one person dead, one person wounded. I first wrote about the incident here.
Where’s Alec? The New Mexico Occupational Health & Safety Bureau concluded its investigation and fined the film’s production company $139,793, the maximum allowed by law. The report concluded:
…..the crew of the film ignored multiple industry safety standards for handling firearms on set. The saddest of all was that numerous crew members alerted the producers and director of unsafe working conditions on the day of the incident. Essential safety awareness and firearms best practices could have prevented this tragedy.
Where’s Alec? Alec is moving on with his life. He and his wife are expecting child number seven and Alec is in the UK working on a movie project. Baldwin was quoted as saying “it feels good to be back at work again”. I’ll bet it does.
Halyna Hutchins isn’t moving on with her life thanks to Baldwin. Matt Hutchins is moving on with his life, but without a wife. Nine-year-old Andros Hutchins will be moving on with his life but without a mother.
To be clear my problem isn’t with Baldwin but with the system. I’ve never met him and hopefully my good fortune will continue. What happened on that film set was a tragedy, preventable but still a tragedy. It happened through negligence and the least we are owed by the system is an accounting as to how this happened and who was responsible. As time goes on without charges and without a trial that public accounting is becoming much less likely.
Alec Baldwin pointed a gun at Halyna Hutchins and pulled the trigger (I know he says he didn’t but that’s how cowboy guns work) that sent a bullet through Hutchins killing her and wounding director Joel Souza. To be sure others share responsibility, Baldwin was just the last link in a tragic chain but there doesn’t seem to be much interest on the part of authorities to determine and reveal the facts.
Contrast this with the story of Lee Coel. Coel is a former police officer who pointed a .38 caliber revolver at 73-year-old Mary Knowlton and pulled the trigger four times killing her in front of her husband of 55 years.
Coel didn’t intend to kill anyone any more than Baldwin did. Coel and Mary Knowlton were role playing as part of a citizen’s police academy day, cops and robbers. Coel believed his gun was loaded with blanks.
Coel was charged and sentenced to 10 years of probation after pleading to second degree manslaughter. He could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison. There is much more to Coel’s story all of which can be found in an excellent article by Lee Williams. Coel is no angel and I strongly suggest you read Williams’ article but the contrast in how the two cases were handled is shocking.
Both men did essentially the same thing. Both should have known better, and both violated basic firearm safety and handling protocols. Both events were tragic, and both were preventable. Yet the full weight of the legal system was thrown at one man while the other man will apparently suffer no consequences. Why is that?
Some argue we have two legal systems, one for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else. I’ve always argued against that theory but admittedly my position grows less tenable by the day.
If we do have two systems, it’s not the fault of corrupt politicians or of a system that is utterly broken. The blame lies with a society that has become so morally lost and disconnected that the injustice is accepted without question. For example, look how the incident was described in two articles, one in Forbes and one from a Fox News article:
In October, a gun in Baldwin’s hand, which he believed was safe to use, fired during a rehearsal and killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.- Forbes
The gun Baldwin was holding discharged during a rehearsal for the indie-western film, killing Hutchins. - Fox
The phrasing in these articles is typical. In what universe do guns appear in hands and magically decide to fire? Is it asking too much for journalists to at least report what everyone knows? I don’t remember anyone saying a gun appeared in the hands of Kyle Rittenhouse and went off. Did I miss the articles describing the time a gun George Zimmerman was holding discharged killing Trayvon Martin?
We see these things because we, as a society, accept these things. So, I offer this information, as always, as food for thought and I hope you’ll think about these events and form your own opinions. As we who live here ultimately control our society, I also ask the question I frequently ask and that is, in what kind of country do you wish to live?
©2022 Joseph T Drammissi
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