Uvalde, Texas, is actor Matthew McConaughey’s hometown, and he was clearly gutted by last month’s massacre at Robb Elementary School. While Texas Senator Ted Cruz ranted about door control and repeated stale gun rights talking points at an NRA conference, McConaughey behaved like an actual statesman.
Last week, McConaughey and his wife spent time with the shattered families of those who were killed, not by doors or single mothers or drag queen story hours but by an asshole with a gun. Tuesday, at the White House press briefing, McConaughey shared his experience and reminded us of what was the lost: “You could feel the shock in the town. You could feel the pain, the denial, the disillusion, anger, blame, sadness, loss of lives, dreams halted.”
Republicans want to run out the clock, so America will simply forget and move on to the next tragedy, but McConaughey wouldn’t bend to their cynicism. He demanded that Americans honor the 19 children and two teachers murdered with action, not stale rhetoric.
You know what every one of these parents wanted, what they asked us for? What every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camila and me? That they want their children’s dreams to live on. That they want their children’s dreams to continue, to accomplish something after they are gone. They want to make their loss of life matter.
Each child had unique dreams and aspirations that were brutally ended. One student wanted to be a marine biologist and another wanted to attend art school in Paris. McConaughey also shared the nightmare that their families will never escape. He brought a pair of green Converse sneakers that 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez wore every day. She’d drawn a small heart on one of them. Holding back tears and fury, McConaughey said they were the “only clear evidence that could identify her.”
MCCONAUGHEY: We also met a cosmetologist. She was well-versed in mortuary makeup. That’s the task of making the victim appear as peaceful and natural as possible for their open casket viewings. These bodies were very different. They needed much more than makeup to be presentable. They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle, most of the bodies so mutilated that only DNA test or green Converse could identify them. Many children were left not only dead but hollow. So, yes, counselors are going to be needed in Uvalde for a long time.
People who imagine holding off home invaders with an AR-15 should also consider if they can live with seeing the splattered remains of what was once a human being. It’s not a shooting gallery or a video game.
McConaughey echoed comments he’d written in an Austin American- Statesman op-ed where he contrasted gun “control” with gun “responsibility.” He called for universal background checks, raising the minimum age for purchasing an AR-15 to 21, a waiting period for purchasing the death machines, and the implementation of red flag laws that would keep these weapons away from dangerous people.
MCCONAUGHEY: These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states, communities, schools and homes. Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations are not a step back — they’re a step forward for a civil society and, and the Second Amendment.
NRA-owned Republicans (so, all of them) oppose meaningful gun regulations, and their only response to massacres like this is to help sell more guns. And, yes, Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema won’t change their minds about the goddamn filibuster even after seeing those green Converse sneakers.
Americans have a unique talent for missing the point, so after his speech, McConaughey was elevated as possible presidential material or dismissed as a callow Hollywood celebrity who dares lecture “normal” Americans about family values. James Rosen, of Newsmax, shouted, “Are you grandstanding?” He’s actually a kind man and concerned citizen who’s maintained close ties to his community. He’s described himself as “a father, the son of a kindergarten teacher, and an American.” That’s more than enough to make a difference.
Watch his full remarks below.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter.
Yr Wonkette is 100 percent ad-free! Please subscribe, donate, and otherwise help keep us alive and kicking!