By now, we’ve all heard that actor Alec Baldwin claims he’s not to blame for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the Rust movie set. Baldwin says that if anyone is to blame, it’s the unknown person who put a live round of ammunition into the revolver before it was handed to him.
Sorry, Alec, I’m not buying it. You are responsible. You were the one handling the gun, and no matter how you want to pass the buck, you took someone else’s word that it was a cold gun and didn’t check to confirm that.
In an interview last night, Baldwin insists he never pulled the gun’s trigger. I think that’s 100% BS. Guns just don’t just “go off.” Someone screws up and fires them. I was a firearms instructor both at West Point and in civilian life, I have reviewed over 300 shootings, and am a lifelong gun owner and shooter myself. In my lifetime I have fired literally tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition in everything from single and double-action revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, rifles, shotguns, and machineguns. Accidents don’t just happen. People screw up and make them happen.
The firearm involved was a single-action revolver like this Colt .44 from my collection. You can’t just pull the trigger on a single-action revolver and make it shoot. You have to pull the hammer back first and then pull the trigger for each shot. Baldwin acknowledges that he did pull the hammer back on the gun but still insists he never pulled the trigger.
There are only a couple of ways that gun could have fired without the trigger being pulled. It is possible that if you dropped it from a distance of a few feet and it landed just right, with a hammer striking something hard, it might be able to break something and cause it to shoot; or if it had what is known as a hair trigger, a trigger that has been altered to reduce the amount of pressure needed to make it fire. Dropping a gun like that could cause it to fire. But there is no indication in anything I’ve read or heard that the gun was dropped. The only other possibilities are if the weapon was defective somehow and the hammer did not lock back all the way when it was pulled and it released and hit the firing pin (which I am sure investigators will be able to determine); or as Baldwin pulled back the hammer his thumb slipped off of it, allowing it to move forward and hit the firing pin. In my experience, that would be pretty rare.
But here’s the thing, he’s still responsible. I have had many weapons handed to me on firing ranges and in other scenarios by people who told me they were unloaded. And whether they were a friend and shooting buddy I would trust with my life or a stranger, it didn’t matter. I still checked them myself to make sure that they were safe. That’s basic Gun Handling 101. And by the way, I have been handed a lot of loaded guns that someone insisted were not.
I don’t care if you’re an actor, a cop, a target shooter, or a homeowner who keeps a firearm around the house for protection; you and only you are responsible for that gun. You and only you are responsible for making sure an accident doesn’t happen. End of story.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl by Samantha Wilcoxson. It’s a novel about Catherine Donohue, who worked at Radium Dial in Ottawa, Illinois and the secret lurking in the greenish-grey paint the company used that magically made things glow in the dark. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart.