Anyone who doubts that today’s progressives protect their own regardless of what they do will be shocked by last week’s Ripple of Hope Awards Ceremony in New York City. The annual reception and banquet are organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation to honor “champions of human rights.”
This year honorees included Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, a favorite of those who believe that Republicans only gain office by stealing elections from honest, fair-minded Democrats. The banquet was attended by dozens of progressive glitterati like Dan Aykroyd, Peter Frampton and Martin Sheen, along with friendly politicians who listened in rapt attention to Vice President Kamala Harris’ keynote.
The ceremony undoubtedly ran smoothly and efficiently by the master of ceremony icon Alec Baldwin. This was his first public appearance since firing the shot that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on a New Mexico movie set in October.
The Baldwin rehabilitation campaign launched two weeks ago with a George Stephanopoulos interview during which a tearful Mr. Baldwin essentially denied responsibility for what happened. He claimed, “I didn’t pull the trigger” of the loaded single-action revolver he was pointing while assuring the faithful that criminal charges were not in the works. The New York affair is a sign that Mr. Baldwin is being readmitted into the ranks of the acceptable with open arms.
Mr. Baldwin had earlier hinted that the whole affair was the fault of various staff members. He called fellow actor George Clooney “not helpful” when he told reporters he assumed every gun he was ever handed on a movie set was loaded and that he had a personal responsibility to check it out himself. After pondering all this for a while, Mr. Baldwin has apparently decided the gun itself was responsible.
This fits the progressive narrative that guns are responsible for “gun violence,” and that the SUV rather than a crazed terrorist wannabe was accountable for the carnage in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last month. The police investigating Mr. Baldwin’s case, or those familiar with the gun disagree.
Tom Gresham, a respected firearms expert and since 1991 the host of “Gun Talk Radio,” told a Fox reporter there are only two ways the gun wrongly fired. First, the gun itself was defective, and that possibility will be proved or disproved by the investigation. Second, that in pulling back the hammer to cock the gun, Baldwin could have somehow let the hammer slip without pulling it back far enough to actually cock it. Mr. Gresham claimed that is theoretically possible but “beyond highly unlikely.”
Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza dismissed the idea that the gun was the culprit more bluntly, observing that “guns don’t just go off.” Indeed they don’t. Firearms can be fired accidentally or negligently by someone who ignores the basic rules of safe gun handling. Still, they don’t fire themselves regardless of the fears of those who hate or fear them more than the criminals who misuse them in Baltimore, Chicago and elsewhere. Mr. Baldwin’s comments play to the fears of those who, beyond all physics, believe that it is reasonable to blame the gun rather than a shooter for firearm “violence.”
Some years ago, I was asked to speak at a sportsman’s dinner in the Midwest at which sponsors were auctioning off an AR-15. The dinner was being picketed by a few women representing one of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun groups. The dinner chairman finally went out and invited the protestors in so “you can enjoy the dinner and see what we’re all about.”
The woman leading the group said that she couldn’t possibly join them because “there’s an assault weapon in there, and I wouldn’t feel safe in the same room with it.” The dinner chairman assured her, “we have the gun tied down so it won’t leap off the table and do you any harm.” She didn’t find that very reassuring.
She would find Mr. Baldwin’s explanation perfectly reasonable, as did the dinner attendees in New York City who seem so anxious to welcome the actor back to the ranks of the progressively respectable. However, the rest of us, including the investigators, may prove less gullible.
• David Keene is an editor-at-large for The Washington Times.