Actor Matthew McConaughey, born in Uvalde (Texas) and himself a firearms owner, went to the White House on Tuesday to ask the political class to abandon their differences and approve real changes to stop the massacres once and for all. .
McConaughey's speech was met with great anticipation in the White House briefing room; but the journalists
they were surprised by the level of detail in his words.
The actor described, for example, the small bodies of the 19 children killed at the Robb de Uvalde elementary school and the level of destruction caused by the AR-15 assault rifle,
that made the minors could only be identified with DNA tests or with clothes that their parents recognized.
McConaughey, who was in Uvalde last week meeting with the families, told the story of Maite Rodríguez, 10 years old and
that she wanted to be a marine biologist when she grew up.
"Maite was wearing some green Converse brand sneakers with a heart that she had drawn on the toes of her right foot because they represented her love for nature," the actor narrated and then pointed to the shoes that rested on the lap of his wife Camila Alves, among the attendees.
"I wore them every day.
Converse trainers with a heart on the right fingers. Those are the same Converse sneakers, on his feet, that turned out to be the only evidence that could identify Maite after the shooting, “Mcconaughey finished with an increasingly trembling voice.
He banged with a clenched fist on the podium used by the White House spokeswoman to give her press conferences and,
after clearing his throatcontinued talking about Maite and the other murdered children.
He told the story of Alithia Ramírez, 10 years old, who dreamed of studying art in Paris and whose drawing
(a self-portrait showing a friend in the sky) showed the actor before the cameras.
“Her mother told me that she had never been told about heaven before, but somehow she already knew it,” said McConaughey, who also spoke of Ramírez's father who just got a job and, every night, told his daughter that I was going to take her to Disney World.
McConaughey spoke of Eliahna García, 9 years old and that he was preparing to read a passage from the Bible at a mass on Wednesday night; and she also remembered Irma Garcia, one of the two teachers killed and whose husband died of a heart attack shortly after the shooting.
“Do you know what all the parents told Camila and me? They told us that they want their children's dreams to last. They want their children's dreams to continue, to achieve something after they are gone. They want the loss of their lives to matter," McConaughey implored.
Hope in real change
Going from anger and sadness to hope, the actor considered that there is right now a
"unique opportunity" to pass laws that make it harder for "bad guys" to get hold of guns.
He considered that the US is more united than politicians reflect and that society demands laws that allow the "responsible" possession of weapons, for example with criminal record checks or an increase in the age from 18 to 21 years for who want semi-automatic rifles,
capable of firing a large number of bullets without reloading.
“These are reasonable and practical regulations,” argued McConaughey, who considered that those who own weapons in the US are “fed up” with “disturbed individuals” abusing the Second Amendment of the Constitution,
that protects the right to keep and bear arms.
McConaughey himself is a gun owner and his position is to increase controls on gun ownership, not ban it, an idea shared by many Americans.
According to the White House, McConaughey met briefly on Tuesday with US President Joe Biden.
The actor has also held meetings in the last two days in Congress with several Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including those who are negotiating a bill to increase gun controls and
that they hope to be able to reach an agreement before the end of the week.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for those under 18 in the US, with 18,000 children and teens killed or injured by gunshots each year, according to the organization Every Town for Gun Safety.