Letters to the Editor: Incompetence killed Halyna Hutchins, not lax safety rules

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Burbank on Oct. 24.
Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Burbank on Sunday.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Here we go again. Something tragic happened, so we want to craft new rules that affect the vast majority of situations where everything proceeds smoothly. (“Sheriff: Lead bullet fatally struck ‘Rust’ cinematographer; 500 rounds of ammo recovered on set,” Oct. 27)

In the case of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death, someone brought live rounds onto a movie set, which was already universally forbidden. Also, anyone who is at all familiar with firearms knows that one must personally verify that a gun does not contain a live projectile before further handling it.

So far, there is no hint that anyone intended for someone to die or suffer injury. Still, the armorer or assistant director had the duty to ensure, to an absolute certainty, the safety of a firearm before pronouncing it OK for use in production.


In these times, the trend is not to blame the wrongdoer; instead, we blame the parents, the industry, the society, whatever. So right now, rather than saying some people failed in their duties, we want a new set of rules to spread the blame to a much larger group.

Frank Moy, Walnut


To the editor: I am not a gun fan at all and don’t like them in my home, but my husband is very familiar and comfortable with firearms.

People who are not familiar with firearms shouldn’t handle them at all. With today’s technology, filmmakers should use special effects instead of so-called prop guns that can actually fire live rounds.

It doesn’t take Einstein to figure this one out. No lives should be at risk.

Claudia Ferguson, Cathedral City


To the editor: I grieve for the death of Hutchins.

I also grieve for the death of the 106 people who are shot and killed each day in the United States and for the 90 people each day who are shot unintentionally and survive, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

But the stories of these 196 people are often not reported in our newspapers or given much thought. Does it take the mention of a film star to bring attention to citizens who aren’t shot by famous people?

Sheila Goldberg, Venice

The writer is a member of the board of directors for Women Against Gun Violence.


To the editor: I can relate to the op-ed article on the anguish suffered by people who have unintentionally killed someone.

At the age of 17, I was addicted to barbiturates. One evening while driving with my girlfriend, we were stopped at a red light when I passed out. My foot slipped from the brake, causing us to roll in front of a drunk driver doing 90 mph.

Neither of us wore seatbelts. My girlfriend was ejected through the windshield and died four days later, on Thanksgiving Day.

Now, I am 68 years old, and every day I ask why it couldn’t have been me. You never get over it but only learn to live with the anguish.

David Dale, Sonoma