Yesterday was the day when Alec Baldwin addressed the public about the death of Halyna Hutchins after he accidentally shot her on the set of his latest movie, Rust. Also with him was his wife, Hilaria, who told the New York Post that she had been driving around endlessly with her children after the news broke, looking for someplace out of the public eye where the family could come to terms with what happened.
It’s understandable that the entire affair has been traumatizing for everyone, though not as much as for Hutchins’ family and friends. Hilaria Baldwin’s response, however, caught me a bit off guard at first. She indicated that she’s taking this time to monitor her husband’s mental health. She fears that he may be suffering from PTSD following the shooting.
Hilaria worries Alec will develop post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident which killed cinematographer Hutchins, 42, and wounded director Joel Souza, 48.
“I brought [Alec] up here because we have to mourn Halyna’s death,” she said. “Alec had a really traumatic thing happen, and I am trying to limit the PTSD.”
“You look at what happens to soldiers and police officers when something like this happens, it’s traumatic. We just came up here for quiet.”
Asked whether Alex would act again, Hilaria was hopeful but not certain.
I’m not entirely heartless and I agree that accidentally taking another human being’s life in that fashion would certainly be traumatizing. But while I hope I’m not being entirely out of line here, is it really an honest assessment to compare what happened on that movie set to the lives of soldiers at war or police officers who face the possibility of taking another life or even losing their own on a daily basis? This was an accident. It was a horrible and tragic event, but it was an accident. Sadly, the same thing has happened to hunters, park rangers and countless others over the years. And none of them had press agents shilling for them.
Again, I’m not here to place all of the blame on Alec Baldwin or ask him to carry the full burden. As I wrote last week, there is plenty of blame to go around and Baldwin has to shoulder part of that blame as the last person in the chain of custody of the weapon before the fatal shooting. But I also recognized that he was certainly going to be affected by this. I’m going to repeat that statement here just for 100% clarity since I wrote it nearly one week ago.
I’m still not ready to place all of the blame for this tragedy on Baldwin’s shoulders, even though he was the last person in the chain of custody with the opportunity to ensure the firearm was “cold” and safe. Should he have checked? Of course. And if the assistant director wasn’t following the usual on-set gun-handling protocols, Baldwin (particularly as a producer) could have called him out and insisted that those procedures be followed. But at the same time, Alec Baldwin is not some sort of armorer or firearms expert to my knowledge. There were supposed to be professionals taking care of those details for the actors. And while I may not care much for most of Baldwin’s political views, I do believe that he was sincerely devastated by this event.
Not one thing that has come to light during the subsequent investigation and announcements has changed my stance on this. Yes, I believe that Baldwin is emotionally distraught over having killed that woman, though I’m not sure it’s going to rise to the level of PTSD. And expecting him to be flawless in gun safety precautions is probably unrealistic, given that he’s an actor by training. He’s going to live the rest of his life knowing that if he had simply insisted on all proper firearm safety precautions being taken or if he had released the cylinder on the Colt revolver and checked the rounds himself, Hutchins would still be alive today. That’s going to be a heavy burden to bear. But he also can’t expect to be completely absolved of any and all responsibility for this tragedy, even though it was clearly an accident.