Actor Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, Texas, spoke out Tuesday on an elementary-school shooting in his hometown that killed two teachers and 19 children.
In a statement, McConaughey offered his condolences to the families affected by the tragedy and urged Americans to take action "so that no parent has to experience what parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured." On Tuesday, a gunman barricaded himself inside and opened fire on a fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.
"As you are all aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my hometown of Uvalde, Texas," McConaughey wrote in a message posted on social media.
"Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us. The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, 'What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?'"
The massacre that occurred this week in the city of about 16,000 people, located roughly 50 miles from the Mexico border, marks the deadliest school shooting in the United States since a gunman killed 20 first-grade students, four teachers, a principal and a school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut nearly 10 years ago.
"We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo," McConaughey continued in his statement.
"As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it's time we re-evaluate, and negotiate our wants from our needs. We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children's issue."
This isn’t the first time McConaughey has weighed in on gun violence or referred to the frequent shootings in the U.S. as an epidemic. Following the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, the Oscar winner expressed concerns that the March for Our Lives movement would be “hijacked” by people who wanted “no guns at all.”
Noting that he had “a lot of friends who are gun owners” and “a lot of friends who are NRA,” McConaughey stated in 2018 that he was for “rightful, just responsible gun ownership — but against assault rifles, against unlimited magazines and for following up on the regulations.”
McConaughey is one of many public figures who lamented the tragedy in Uvalde, as well as other massacres — including the recent shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Laguna Woods, Calif. — that preceded it.
Among the other entertainment luminaries who reacted are Taylor Swift, Simu Liu, Quinta Brunson, Rachel Zegler, Amanda Gorman, Mario Lopez and Olivia Rodrigo, who advocated for "stricter gun control" Tuesday at a concert in Los Angeles.
"This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better," McConaughey said.
"Action must be taken ... And to those who dropped off their loved ones today not knowing it was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming."
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.