Actor Matthew McConaughey has written a heartbreaking letter to his hometown after 21 people, including 19 students and two teachers, were shot dead at a primary school in the US state of Texas.
Gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, barricaded himself in a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday (local time) and opened fire indiscriminately, killing the fourth grade students and two teachers.
McConaughey, who is from the Texan town of Uvalde, was deeply impacted by the tragic event so close to home.
In an open letter posted on Instagram, he said Americans had tragically proven they were "failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us".
"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 safe nation, state and neighbourhood tomorrow?' We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo," he wrote.
The A-lister added Americans had to rearrange their values and find a common ground above the devastating American reality that had become an issue for children.
"This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured," he said.
"And to those who dropped off their loved ones not knowing it was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them going."
Investigators have yet to identify a motive for what now ranks as the deadliest US school shooting in nearly a decade.
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