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In just 40 seconds, Matthew McConaughey makes the heartbreaking case for gun safety

"She wore these every day, green Converse with a heart on the right toe."

Matthew McConaughey Texas shooting
Twitter/WhiteHouse.gov

Matthew McConaughey speaks at the White House about gun safety.

Maite Rodriguez was only 10 years old when she was senselessly murdered during the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that made national headlines last month. The Robb Elementary School student was passionate about nature. So much so that every day she wore the same pair of green Converse shoes with a tiny heart etched in ink on the toe of the right shoe.

Those now iconic shoes were the only reliable piece of evidence in identifying her body after Rodriguez was gunned down by the AR-15 style rifle that killed her and 18 of her fellow classmates.

Actor Matthew McConaughey used that horrifying and unforgettable image during an appearance at the White House, where he advocated for gun safety measures in light of the shooting that has rocked his home town of Uvalde and the nation at large. McConaughey's remarks immediately went viral across social media, with a short, 40-second clip amassing more than 7 million views in less than 24 hours.

"How can we make the loss of these lives matter?" McConaughey asked. “You could feel the pain, the denial, the disillusion, anger, blame, sadness, loss of lives, dreams halted," he added, when describing his visit to Uvalde after the shooting.

McConaughey's call for action is fairly modest. In an op-ed published in the Austin American-Statesman, the Oscar-winning actor called for commonsense reforms including expanded background checks.

"I believe that responsible, law-abiding Americans have a Second Amendment right, enshrined by our founders, to bear arms," he wrote in the op-ed. "I also believe we have a cultural obligation to take steps toward slowing down the senseless killing of our children. The debate about gun control has delivered nothing but status quo. It’s time we talk about gun responsibility."

But it is this 40-second clip that has spread like wildfire across social media in which a tearful McConaughey asks his wife Camila Alves to hold up the pair of Converse worn by Rodriguez.

"Maite wore green Converse with a heart hand-drawn on the right toe," McConaughey says in the clip, voice cracking with grief, "because they represented her love of nature. Camila's got these shoes, can you show these shoes, please?"

Alves, herself visibly shaken with grief, holds up the shoes with her head held down.

"Wore these every day. Green Converse with a heart on the right toe. Because it was the same green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her at the shooting," McConaughey says.

The actor angrily slammed his fist on the White House podium, audibly moaning and muttering, "How about that," as the clip ends.

McConaughey and Alves spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers from both parties. The actor and activist has used his stardom to advocate for middle-ground commonsense solutions to the nation's problems, including gun safety. In both his op-ed and in comments at the White House, McConaughey acknowledged the unique reality of America's Second Amendment and relationship with firearms. Rather than shaming the concept of gun ownership, McConaughey stressed the need for workable solutions and for political leaders to put principle ahead of fundraising and reelection concerns, saying, “We can’t truly be leaders if we are only living for reelection.”

“We need to invest in mental health care. We need safer schools,” McConaughey added. “We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values. And we need responsible gun ownership.”

With the potential for modest but meaningful gun safety legislation making progress in Congress, it's all the more important to have voices like McConaughey's as part of the conversation, to both remind us of the urgency of the moment and that there is a way forward with consensus on bipartisan solutions to a problem that should be a priority for every parent and every voter in the nation.

You can watch McConaughey's full remarks below:

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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