The actor lived in Uvalde, Texas until he was 11.
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.
The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.
“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “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?” he wrote. “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”
The actor asked “Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers” to reconsider and “renegotiate our wants from our needs,” saying that gun violence “has tragically become our children’s issue.”
\u201c"It is insane that we allow an 18-year-old to go in and buy an AR-15. What the hell did we think he was gonna do with that? This one is on us." - @BetoORourke\n\n#UvaldeMassacre #BanAssaultWeaponsNow \n\n\u201d— David Leavitt (@David Leavitt) 1653506599
“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better,” he wrote. “We must do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.”
McConaughey ended his message by addressing the unfathomable pain the victims' families must feel.
“To those who dropped their loved ones off to school not knowing that today was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming,” he said.
McConaughey is a proud Texan who once floated the idea of running for governor without revealing his political affiliation. His humble roots in the Lone Star State were part of his appeal as a potential candidate. "As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership," McConaughey said after choosing not to run. "It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It is also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."
Although his message stops short of advocating for gun control, it’s clear that he’s asking his fellow Texans to reconsider their relationship with firearms—a bold request for anyone considering a future in local politics. His message comes at a time when a majority of Americans believe in tighter laws to curb gun violence.
In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death of children and adolescents in the U.S, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.