Actors and movie makers in Hollywood were mourning the death of a rising star of their business Friday, but there was also anger over how Halyna Hutchins could have been killed when Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun.
"I am gutted and just so mad right now," tweeted filmmaker Rachel Morrison. "No shot, no scene and no movie is worth the loss of life. #RIPHalynaHutchins"
Hutchins was cinematographer on 19th-century western "Rust", which was filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in the US state of New Mexico, when the incident occurred Thursday.
The 42-year-old, who was reportedly hit in the stomach, was airlifted to hospital, where she was later declared dead.
Director Joel Souza was also hurt, but was released after emergency care.
Actor Elijah Wood, who worked with Hutchins on superhero thriller "Archenemy" said: "Absolutely horrifying and devastating news about cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. My heart goes out to her family."
Fellow "Archemeny" alum Adam Egypt Mortimer said he was "so sad" and "infuriated that this could happen on a set."
"She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."
The tragedy recalled the death of Brandon Lee, son of the legendary Bruce Lee, who died from a gunshot wound incurred on the set of the 1993 film "The Crow."
"Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on 'Rust'," said Shannon Lee, Brandon's sister and Bruce's daughter.
"No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period."
Hutchins was born in Ukraine and lived in Los Angeles.
In 2019, she was named by American Cinematographer magazine as one of the industry's rising stars in 2019, according to the organization's website.
"Deeply sad," wrote entertainment journalist Rebecca Keegan. "Halyna was talented and cool. Last time we talked was Cannes 2017 and she was brimming with energy and excitement."
Innovative Artists, who represented Hutchins described her as "a ray of light. Always smiling, always hopeful."
"She decided early on she would take the craft of cinematography by storm and the last couple of years proved she was well on her way. Her talent was immense."
Filmmaker Rachel Morrison questioned the use of real guns during filming.
"Why the f+++ are we still using blanks when it costs like 50 (cents) to add gunfire in post (production)? If you can't afford to make a movie safely, you shouldn't be making it at all."
The White House said Friday it would delay the release of long-classified documents related to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.
President Joe Biden wrote in a statement that the remaining files "shall be withheld from full public disclosure" until December 15 next year -- nearly 60 years after Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
In 2018, former president Donald Trump released several thousand secret files on the assassination, but withheld others on national security grounds.
The White House said the national archivist needs more time for a review into that redaction, which was slowed by the pandemic.
Biden also said the delay was "necessary to protect against identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or the conduct of foreign relations" and that this "outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure."
The assassination of the 46-year-old president was a "profound national tragedy" that "continues to resonate in American history and in the memories of so many Americans who were alive on that terrible day," the statement said.
A 10-month investigation led by then-Supreme Court chief justice Earl Warren concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who had lived in the Soviet Union, acted alone when he fired on Kennedy's motorcade.
But the Commission's investigation was criticised for being incomplete, with a Congressional committee later concluding that Kennedy was "probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."
US law requires that all government records on the assassination be disclosed "to enable the public to become fully informed."
In Thursday's post, I imagined a world in which conservatives placed equality at the center of their sensibilities. It was fun, though hardly realistic. As one reader said, conservatives never do that. If they did, they'd be liberals. But the goal of the exercise was less practical than imaginative. At the root of the many problems we face are thorny questions difficult to answer. But there's also a failure of imagination.
I don't mean to say we need "attitude adjustments." I mean to say we tend to accept conditions as if they were natural rather than what they are, which is constructed. So today, I want to stretch our imaginations by asking a deceptively simple question. Why does our democratic republic, founded in opposition to monarchy, tolerate billionaires?
I say "deceptively," because the question might prompt a quick reply: why not? Most Americans believe billionaires don't intend harm, earn their wealth and, on the whole, benefit society. Some Americans even think billionaires deserve our respect. After all, they sell things consumers like, innovate useful technologies, and some, like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, give away their fortunes to worthy causes. But what if I suggested this is rationalizing a democratic abomination?
Let's cut through the haze to state two things plainly about how one person becomes a billionaire. One, it's with the government's blessing. Two, it's with the government's willingness to look the other way. The free market is not free. The very obscenely rich would not be nearly as very obscenely rich if it were. Billionaires, therefore, are not self-made. They are politically, legally and socially made. Yet the vast majority of Americans tends to believe billionaires are just the way things are.
I am not suggesting some kind of malicious conspiracy. I am merely pointing out an obvious fact. Jeff Bezos is worth a reported $200 billion. (He is personally financing all those rockets to space.) It is not humanly possible for one man to work so hard so much so fast to earn $200 billion. (It's been a little over two decades since he founded Amazon.) There has to be a system established in tandem with the government, or in tacit approval by the government, to make such a pile of cash.
Ten percent of the country owns 89 percent of stocks on Wall Street, according to new data from the Federal Reserve. "The top 1 percent gained over $6.5 trillion in corporate equities and mutual fund wealth during the pandemic," CNBC reported this week. (The bottom 90 percent holds about 11 percent of stocks.) All that idle money is, moreover, taxed at lower rates than income you earn with your labor.
If it's taxed at all. Lots of very obscenely rich people hide their wealth. (Gerard Ryle, head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, said of the global network of secretive and legal tax havens: "The people who could end the secrecy … are themselves benefitting from it. So there is no incentive for them to end it.") Meanwhile, the US government's ability to find wealth to tax has been hamstrung by decades of starving the IRS of resources. The result, according to the LA Times' Michael Hiltzik, has been a "tax gap" that reached a stunning "$630 billion in 2019 — more than 2.5 percent of gross domestic product and about 17.5 percent of the more than $3.6 trillion owed."
Let's say that again, with feeling. The very obscenely rich owe more than $3.6 trillion. That dollar amount should sound familiar. It's roughly the same one being haggled over by the Democrats and the White House. If passed, the legislation would be, along with another spending bill, the biggest investment in the American people since the 1960s. Spending so much is controversial, but it might not be if the very obscenely rich had not, as they have for years, created the impression that there's not enough money to spend on public goods and works. There has always been enough money, but this idea keeps living, in part due to the inability of normal people to imagine an alternative.
I haven't explained yet why billionaires are a democratic abomination. I'll close with that. I think it will help to imagine a political alternative.
What does it mean when a government of, by and for the people treats the very obscenely rich in ways it does not, and never would, treat the people? It means the government, founded in opposition to monarchy, has found ways of replacing the old order of greater mortals (kings and queens) with a new order of greater mortals. Instead of having "magic blood," as Lindsay Beyerstein put it, this new order has magic money, meaning they have so much of it, they can create whole industries to rationalize their existence, thus forcing the rest of us to fight with each other over whether to pay for things like community college.
That's not just wrong.
It's a democratic abomination.
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