Actor Matthew McConaughey, a prominent Texan who for months last year was reported to be mulling a run for governor, shared a statement overnight in response to the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in his hometown of Uvalde.
"Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us," McConaughey shared in a statement on Twitter.
At least 19 children and two teachers were killed in the shooting, and an unknown number of others were injured. The 18-year-old gunman is also dead, authorities said.
The current death toll places the event as the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.
McConaughey in his written statement went on to say "the true call for action now is for every American" to reflect on what "we truly value," and that "[w]e cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo."
The actor called the issue "an epidemic we can control" — a phrase similar to ones he has used in the past to condemn gun violence, including in 2018 as he spoke about his support for those participating in "March for Our Lives," a student-led demonstration calling on legislators to tighten gun laws.
"I've got a lot of friends who are gun owners. I've got a lot of friends who are NRA (National Rifle Association). I grew up hunting. We had responsible gun ownership, but I was taught the right way to respect that tool," he said at the time, clarifying that he supported "responsible gun ownership" but was against assault rifles and unlimited magazines, and he supported "following up on the regulations."
In his most recent statement, McConaughey says that "Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers" must "rearrange our values and find a common ground above this devastating American reality."
He concluded with a message specifically for family members of victims in Uvalde, saying "no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming."
While McConaughey is easily the most well-known figure to hail from Uvalde, the town of around 16,000 is also home to a few professional athletes, including Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley, former MLB pitcher Carlos Guevara and former NFL player Vann McElroy.