Talk of the Town: Journal readers sound off on Alec Baldwin prosecution - Albuquerque Journal

Talk of the Town: Journal readers sound off on Alec Baldwin prosecution

State is facing a physician crisis

DR. HOWARD K. Gogel’s (Jan. 30) article in the Opinion section was spot-on.

New Mexico is in a medical physician crisis. In the last three months I have had my primary and vascular doctors leave the state for greener pastures — forcing me to go to Colorado for adequate timely care that would take months to accomplish in Albuquerque.

If only our state legislators would get their heads out of the sand and work at the real problems facing the state rather than grandstanding and only caring about being reelected.

There is a reason New Mexico is at the bottom of virtually every category from crime to health care, and the blame sits firmly on the lap of our political system.

Back in the 1980s, then-Gov. Toney Anaya once said, “New Mexico is like a banana republic, without the guns.” Unfortunately, now we seem to be in a banana republic, with the guns.

Our state is heading down the gutter of a wrong-way street. Our current medical field crisis is our flag of mediocrity. We deserve and can do better than this.

Neil Wetsch, Albuquerque

Lawyer lacks facts in his Baldwin theory

DAVID MARKUS, criminal defense attorney from Miami, should be ashamed of himself.

His (guest column) of Jan. 26, “NM prosecutors are pursuing Baldwin for all the wrong reasons” is full of faulty logic masquerading as deep legal knowledge and wisdom. If this is what he teaches his students at the University of Miami school of law, then he should leave the academy and we should fear for the abilities of the next generation of lawyers.

“The truth is the New Mexico District Attorney is going after Baldwin because he’s a big name with lots of money who will bring them lots of attention,” (Markus wrote). There is no truth in that statement other than this is what Markus wants to believe. He offers not a scintilla of evidence to support his claim. He only offers his cynical world view. Theory is not fact, dude. …

Mark Hamlen, Albuquerque

How much will Baldwin prosecution cost?

THE (COLUMN) by Miami lawyer David Markus is right about not prosecuting Alec Baldwin. Our elected N.M. district attorney may be an astute prosecutor, but it seems she’s more interested exerting her power and popularity. So how much is this going to cost N.M. taxpayers? Another black eye for N.M.

Bruce Molde, Albuquerque

Lawyer’s Baldwin defense amusing

I WAS amused by David Oscar Markus’ vigorous defense of the rich and famous, specifically Alec Baldwin.

He argues that the only reason Baldwin is being prosecuted is that the Santa Fe DA wants to make a name for herself. The evidence, including Baldwin’s own words, are to the contrary.

Virtually all gun experts teach that you must always handle a gun as if it is loaded. Under New Mexico law, it is unlawful to discharge a firearm in a negligent manner. Involuntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

Baldwin admits that he held the pistol, aimed it, and it discharged. The evidence is that the gun would not have fired unless he pulled the trigger. Contrary to Markus’ claim, the law doesn’t require that he intend to shoot someone.

Baldwin may or may not have been overcharged, and he may or may not be convicted, but any ordinary person who did what Baldwin did would likely have been charged. Baldwin is not above the law.

Robert Gorman, Albuquerque attorney for 40 years

Gun safety is key to Baldwin prosecution

DAVID MARKUS, a Florida defense lawyer, would have done well to check New Mexico law on involuntary manslaughter before casting aspersion on the motives of New Mexico district attorneys for prosecuting Alec Baldwin.

New Mexico law defines manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. This negates Markus’ contention that evil intent is required.

Involuntary manslaughter is manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution or circumspection. So, in response to Markus’ rhetorical question as to whether Baldwin was required to check to see if the gun was loaded after being told it was a cold gun, the answer is yes.

The first rule of gun safety is to treat all guns as if they are loaded. The second rule is to never point a gun at something or someone you do not intend to shoot. The third rule is to make sure of your target and what’s behind it.

It is clear from the facts Baldwin violated all of these common-sense rules. He was shooting a revolver in which bullets are loaded into a rotating cylinder and are clearly visible when the gun is brought to eye level, unlike a semi-automatic pistol where the bullets are loaded into a magazine, which is inserted into the pistol grip. This is no more an accident than is the situation where someone is killed by a drunken driver.

Finally, Baldwin (apparently) lied about not pulling the trigger. Guns don’t just “go off.” As the FBI tests of the gun in question showed, it is impossible to fire the gun in question without pulling the trigger.

Handing a gun on a movie set is no different than driving a car on a movie set. The actor has a responsibility to learn the basics of operation, and it is clear from Baldwin’s own statements that he failed to do that.

Markus is a defense lawyer, and his bias in this case has certainly clouded his legal judgement.

Joel Widman, Rio Rancho

Bob’s Burgers a remarkable story

GREAT ARTICLE (Jan. 28) about an iconic Albuquerque business and the remarkable family behind a hard-won success in a tough business. Just a matter of emphasis.

The real hero in this story is old Tom Salas, not only a highly successful car salesman but also a serial entrepreneur in an age when in New Mexico such were a rarity. The $1,600 he put up for the business would equate to $16,000 today, a tidy sum.

The original protagonists in this saga in addition to old Tom were Bob Salas and Theresa Salas, his sister-in-law. In our male-centric society we too often fail to give credit where credit is due.

Finally, the great expansion in the business from four locations to 11 has been shepherded by Clifford Salas, which simply illustrates the importance of the continual infusion of young blood to any successful enterprise.

Edward Lopez, Albuquerque

O’Connell will be independent on PRC

PAT O’CONNELL and I have worked closely over the past four years on electrical industry regulatory matters in his capacity at Western Resource Advocates and with me on the steering committee of the Coalition for Clean and Affordable Energy.

We met when he was hired by WRA and had just come over from the “dark side.” I was skeptical of his commitment after his work history with PNM. After working with O’Connell, I know that he understands N.M.’s electrical grid and utility regulation while being completely independent of PNM and its culture. O’Connell is also committed to moving as fast as possible away from the use of fossil fuels in our economy while protecting the ratepayers.

Some oppose O’Connell’s nomination based on the optics of his having worked at PNM. The PRC does not function on optics but by careful and thorough deliberation. O’Connell brings those skills and valuable perspective to this job.

Jim Mackenzie, Albuquerque

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