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Matthew McConaughey spoke to People magazine as one of its “People of the Year” honorees and spoke candidly about he and his wife, Camila Alves’s, decision to bring their children to the viewing of a deceased Uvalde victim. A gunman killed 21 people on May 24th at a school in Uvalde, TX, including 19 children. Being a Uvalde native, McConaughey and his wife decided to return to Uvalde to spend time with the victims’ families. McConaughey made an emotional press conference against violence from the White House and wrote a passionate editorial calling for “gun responsibility.” “I am a father, the son of a kindergarten teacher, and an American. I was also born in Uvalde, Texas. That’s why I’m writing this,” he wrote in his letter. After giving an outline for what he considered to be responsible laws to protect from future tragedies, he wrote, “Business as usual isn’t working. ‘That’s just how it is’ cannot be an excuse. The heinous bloodshed of innocent people cannot become bearable. If we continue to just stand by, we’re living a lie. With every right, there comes a duty.”

In addressing his decision to allow his children, ages 14, 12, and 9, in viewing the deceased Uvalde victim, McConaughey said, “The family asked if we wanted to bring our kids. My thought was . . . are you ready to look life in the eye and understand that death is part of it? Well, I don’t want my children seeing that in a movie or a comic book. I asked each one of them if they wanted to, and they said yes. We tried to prepare them. I don’t think it’s too early to expose them in this most natural way. As a father, what do I hope they get out of it? Respect, more respect for their own life. More thanks and gratitude for the life they’ve got, for being able to go to school and come home safe from school another day.” He stated his children had many questions that he and his wife spent time addressing but that they didn’t dwell on the macabre. “Now, mind you,” he said, “we didn’t give them day after day of that, we gave them a day and a half. After that [I said] me and Mom have to go into town. Y’all stay out here at the ranch and play around.”

The McConaughey’s time in Uvalde led them to start the “just keep livin Foundation,” which offers support to the people of Uvalde, such as grief counseling. McConaughey remained optimistic during the interview, referring to a previous quote he’d said about light coming despite the darkness. “Here’s where the light comes from,” he said, “the biggest way we make the light: It’s our kids. I think every parent’s hope is to leave some kids behind that are just a little bit better than we were. Learning what we learned and improving on what we taught them. Maybe fixing a few things that we were weak at. That’s the main light. To get there it’s just a daily battle.”

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