I’m Not Buying It

 Posted by at 12:38 am  Nick's Blog
Dec 032021
 

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.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “I’m Not Buying It”

  1. You speak the truth. I am retired military and also experienced with hand guns, although my experience does not compare with your extensive experience. I say it is impossible for a revolver to fire without pulling the trigger in the Baldwin scenario.

    Additionally, I daily carry a small Ruger LCP II. Because “things” happen, I actually quit carrying one in the chamber. I don’t expect to get into a quick draw situation. All it takes is one careless or forgetful moment. If the SHTF, I will draw my pistol and rack a round.

  2. I agree. His explanation makes no sense….and he doesn’t feel guilty.

  3. I think he deserves some consideration…and again I’m a retired military guy and gun owner. Yes…he chopped have verified it was empty…and yes, there should have been no live ammo on the set. He shares some responsibility…but from reading what he said in his interview and knowing who he is…he isn’t solely or even primarily responsible. Baldwin is a gun hating lefty who knows nothing about them and doesn’t want to know, and does not have the knowledge to verify it is unloaded. Just like Nick isn’t a computer expert and hires geeks to do computer things for him and depends on their expertise…know nothing not gun people who are nonetheless forced to handle weapons for their job should be able to rely on trained people. In the scene they were getting ready for…he was going to cock the single action revolver and they were checking camera angles…the dead woman suggested aiming it a little lower which thus aimed it at her. He said he pulled the hammer back and when he released it the gun went off. Having shot a single action…there is spring tension as you pull it back but at least in the one I shot there was additional backwards force required to engage the lock in the cocked position. Not being a smart gun person,..it is reasonable that he could have been against the stop but not locked into cock because he didn’t know to pull harder at full cock to lock it. In that case, releasing the hammer would cause it to fall just as if he pulled the trigger and the result is bang.

    This doesn’t absolve him of all blame…but just like we trust tech geeks to do their job and electricians or doctors or whatever to do their job safely…a non experienced actor should be able to have trust that the trained experts would have done their job.

    There a whole lot of people who made bad decisions in this…but it doesn’t seem like he is the worst…whoever allowed live ammo on a movie set and whoever actually loaded the gun (I haven’t seen any specific info whether it was the head armorer or some assistant)…those two have the greatest portion of the responsibility.

  4. Neil I call bullshit. If he hates guns then he shouldn’t play with them. It is his responsibility, as he was holding a weapon that went off. I call complete bullshit on this and it is all lawyer spin. He is responsible, bottom line, gun in hand, end of story.

  5. Brett…I did not say he was blameless…I said that as an untrained person he can reasonably expect to trust a trained person. Consider this situation…

    So you own a pickup truck and it needs new brakes…and that the only things you know about cars are now to drive one and where the gas fill up is…that may not be you…but let’s pretend you’re one of those people.

    So you take your truck…which is a deadly weapon as evidenced by the recent Christmas parade up north…into the dealer and they replace the brakes. But suppose the mechanic is incompetent and leaves both the hydraulic line loose on the wheels and also only loosely installs the lug nuts before replacing the hubcaps.

    You pick up the deadly weapon truck…and trust the service advisor when he says it’s done…and he has trusted the mechanic because the advisor didn’t inspect it. On the way home…you’re on a 4 lane surface road at the posted 55 mph limit and are approaching a light which turns yellow at the last second so you hit the brakes hard but not enough to lock the wheels in order to stop. At that point…the loose hydraulic line comes loose so you have no brakes and the loose wheel comes off so the steering is jammed and you enter the intersection at 55 while turning left due to the no wheel and jammed steering…and plow into a school bus head on killing the driver and the 3 students in the front area and sending another dozen to the hospital.

    Under your logic…you are responsible for killing and injuring those people…and the fact that you’re an idiot who doesn’t know anything about vehicles is irrelevant.

    But are you responsible? Not really because you trusted the trained and qualified maintenance people…and if the facts are as I stated them…you won’t lose the lawsuit because it isn’t your fault.

    Same principle applies here…if you’re an idiot who knows nothing bout vehicle maintenance you should not be driving one…and the pilot who doesn’t know about jet engines or flight control software shouldn’t be flying…and…and…and.

    But because he isn’t a gun expert…he is totally responsible and should never handle a gun even though it is HIS JOB…at least by your logic. That my friend…is the real bovine end product of which you speak.

    Does he have partial responsibility? Maybe, maybe not but until the investigation is complete nobody knows.

    Do you think that Rittenhouse should have been convicted based on the hysteria and damning in the media from day one? Many did…but when the facts were in the prosecution could not meet the reasonable doubt criteria…and it was a 12 to 0 vote.

    So…unless you know everything about every mechanical system in your vehicle…and conduct a complete walk around and inspection before you open the drivers door each and every time you go out to use it…you’re just being hypocritical because a gun is involved.

  6. Again I weep for what this country has become. The car, manslaughter as per the law, you were behind the wheel,, which is where the involuntary comes from in that charge.. Many people have no clue and your analogy is, well flawed as well. You are obviously not a pilot. Because, well, im going to use common sense here. Again it’s not debatable, he is deflecting All blame, yet he bears the brunt of it, and it appears you are letting him. And you sir and your analogy of this is not only unrealistic, Good day sir, make more analogies because it seems you’re pretty good at deflecting yourself.

  7. My analogy isn’t flawed t all…neither the vehicle owner or the pilot can reasonably be expected to be an expert on the innards of their conveyance…just like a person unfamiliar with guns can’t be reasonably expected to know about guns…both depend can reasonably be expected to depend on experts. Now whether that expert did their job or the person in between the expert and the pilot/driver/actor in a western movie is unknown at this point to the public and likely not known to the investigators either unless they’re done.

    Given the reliance on experts…of Baldwin is guilty of involuntary manslaughter…then so is the driver of the truck.

    Of note…we don’t know exactly what they were practicing…but for the l8mited details in the interview he cocked the gun and lowered its angle to let the photographer check the angle…and then let go of the hammer which fired the gun. If that is correct…then the gun was not locked in the hammer raised position…and releasing a oo% but not latched hammer is very likely to cause the cartridge to fire. Thus…his statement that he did not pull the trigger is not proven wrong as was stated…and the absolute statement that he pulled the trigger isn’t as absolute as you think.

    But the matter that a gun was involved…involves a lot of outrage on both 5he gun hating left and their counterparts on the right…because some politicians will try to make hay out of this to gain an advantage.

    My point was that nobody here knows the facts…but the media and the gun haters and the gun lovers have all made their minds up…facts not required.

    My second point…as in the pickup truck example…was that if the driver can reasonably be expected to be blameless in that instance because he trusted the experts…then why is it not reasonable for Baldwin to expect the same? If he is guilty of whatever crime…then the pickup driver is equally guilty…because the facts are the same although the minor incident details do vary.

    And nowhere have I said he is blameless..we simply don’t know the facts…and my reference to the Rittenhouse trial was simply stating the obvious…he was pronounced guilty by the media, the left, and everybody from the President on down…and none of them bothered to see what the law actually says, bothered to honor the innocent until proven guilty constitutional right, and the lack of the state to prove each and every element of each and every charge. The law REQUIRES that unless the prosecutor does that the defendant must be acquitted. The kid was an idiot for being there…but idiocy isn’t illegal…and he broke zero laws.

    The driver of the pickup is obviously not guilty of anything…he was the victim of inadequate work by the mechanic and inadequate verification of the work by the dealer…he was essentially an innocent bystander in the collision. And it is equally reasonable that an untrained actor who was given a weapon by the experts to do his job…should be able to expect they did 5heir job. That doesn’t make him blameless…he should have been told by the safety folks how to verify a cold gun and done so himself…but with a lack of that and a lack of previous knowledge on how to do so…how can he be expected to be able to verify it? Maybe he can…maybe he can’t…but as I said nobody here has the facts and everybody here has made up their minds except me…and I’m not arguing he is blameless, just that he has some reasonable expectations…just like the driver of the pickup does.

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