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Matthew McConaughey says "devastating American reality" must be addressed after mass shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas

At least 21 dead in Texas school shooting
Gunman kills 19 students, 2 adults in elementary school shooting 06:00

Actor Matthew McConaughey is speaking out about Tuesday's tragic mass shooting at an elementary school that devastated Uvalde, Texas. The small city, where at least 19 children were killed at Robb Elementary, is the actor's hometown.

The shooting at Robb Elementary occurred the morning of the school's second to last day of the semester. An 18-year-old gunman, who according to officials had shot his grandmother and crashed his vehicle near the campus, "was shooting everybody" when he entered the building, which housed second, third and fourth-graders.

"Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us," McConaughey wrote in a statement just after midnight that appeared on his social media platforms. 

He said that people need to "rearrange our values" so that people can find common ground "above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children's issue." 

"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 can't exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo." 

Many officials, gun control activists and celebrities have been quick to condemn legislators and policies in the wake of the shooting, many saying that it is a lack of adequate legislation and action that allows mass shootings such as the one in Uvalde to occur. McConaughey seemed to reiterate those sentiments in his statement. 

"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 urged. "We must do better." 

Even with his Hollywood success, McConaughey has kept close ties with his home state of Texas. Last year, there was speculation that he might run for governor of the state, a move that McConaughey eventually decided against, at least at that time. 

In a video posted online about his decision not to run, he called himself "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," he said. "It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder." 

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