Why It’s Crucial that Alec Baldwin be Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter


Gage Skidmore

Successful Hollywood actor, Alec Baldwin, is now charged with involuntary manslaughter after the recent shooting on the set of his upcoming western film, “Rust.”

Leyah Eagar, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the website’s or its affiliates’ opinions and beliefs.*

On Oct. 21, 2021, Alec Baldwin shot two people on the set of his upcoming movie, “Rust,” in Bonanza Creek, New Mexico. Unfortunately, Hayna Hutchins, director of photography, died, while Joel Souza, director of the film, was injured. Hutchins sadly died at 42, pursuing her passion, cinematography, while also getting the opportunity to work with numerous well-known actors. In this upcoming American western movie, Alec Baldwin stars as both the lead actor as well as one of the main producers of the film. On Oct. 27, 2021, the criminal charges, including involuntary manslaughter, were determined as a result of the investigation conducted by District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies, alongside prosecutor Andrea Reeb and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. After three months preceding the shooting, on Jan. 19, 2023, Alec Baldwin and movie armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter by the New Mexico District Attorney who also worked on the investigation. The charges immediately sparked controversy in the media and left the public in awe. Supporters of Baldwin have expressed frustration over the charges leaving the media to further question the case.

Although many people have taken Baldwin’s side, and disagree with the charges, Alec Baldwin must be charged with the count of involuntary manslaughter as that charge is what fits the case best. Baldwin claims that the shooting of Hayna Hutchins and Joel Souza was not at all intentional and most likely the result of not taking the proper precautions necessary. Involuntary manslaughter is the crime of killing another human being unlawfully but unintentionally. That is exactly what happened in this case. Just because Alec Baldwin claims to have been in the dark about the entire situation doesn’t excuse the fact that he killed someone on any level. The case truly revolves around the concept of negligence with Alec Baldwin failing to take the proper precautions in handling a gun/weapon on set.

Although some argue that Baldwin’s actions are justified as he was told the gun was “cold” by movie armor Hannah Gutierrez- Reed, it is still the actor’s duty to double check the barrel of the gun and make sure of himself or herself that the weapon is in fact “cold.” The fact that Baldwin was formerly told that the gun is “cold” is not a valid excuse that allows him to not take the proper precautions when handling this deadly weapon. Ultimately, Baldwin didn’t take the correct steps when handling the gun, which came at the unfortunate expense of someone losing their life. By failing to meet the requirements of handling this assault weapon, he should receive the proper consequences for his actions, just as any other person would. Investigators are still looking into why the gun was called “cold” when it was loaded; however, this does not excuse Baldwin on any level regarding his charges.

Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, made a statement about the situation being a “terrible miscarriage of justice.” In reality, if Mr. Baldwin is potentially let off the hook, justice will not be served. Baldwin creating a name for himself in the Hollywood industry does not justify any sort of exception of the law. Baldwin must be treated just as if anyone else had been in his situation and receive the same consequences. At the end of the day, Baldwin shot two innocent people, killing one. By exempting him from the law the justice system in America will be proving how corrupt it is. Baldwin must be held accountable for his actions and receive accurate consequences. Zivot details how regardless if Baldwin had the intention to kill or not, the criminal charge is fair and falls under involuntary manslaughter. Even if the court finds Baldwin as the victim in the situation, the criminal charge is accurate as the situation at the end of the day was a homicide. Hayna Hutchin’s family appreciated the prosecutors’ determination of the investigation and serving justice through the charges. He realizes how important it is and comforting for Hutchins’s family that in the United States, nobody regardless of class, fame or money can buy themselves out or be an expectation of the law. New Mexico’s First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies made a statement concerning both Alec Baldwin and Hannah Gutierrez-Reed facing two separate counts of involuntary manslaughter.  The most unfortunate aspect of this case is that a conviction from the court can result in up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. For people like Baldwin, who is worth over 75 million dollars, this “large fine” isn’t necessarily a big issue.

Gutierrez-Reed, the movie’s armorer and props assistant, as well as Assistant Director Dave Halls, who gave him the rifle, were blamed for the incident by Baldwin. In response to the filed lawsuit by Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed then sued the proprietor of the company that supplied the movie’s guns and ammo, who both deny any wrongdoing. As a result of this, many lawsuits were then filed in response, adding to the already abundant number of prior lawsuits. This whole situation has turned into an entirely complicated picture in which everyone points the finger at others to maintain their reputation. Overall, Baldwin should ultimately be held accountable for his actions and face his due punishment.