The ‘Dazed and Confused’ actor campaigned for a gun law change earlier this year after a school shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas. Though he welcomed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act introduced by President Joe Biden this summer, he believes people need to change so everyone can live safely.
He wrote in a long article for the American magazine Esquire: “If we want safer communities, more freedom and better leaders, we must build better people. As parents, parent figures, role models and mentors, it’s up to us to guide our children – to be more active in their lives – to show them that we care about them, to show them how to care for themselves and therefore for others can take care of: teaching them responsibility.
“As far as I can tell, a child understands better that other lives matter when they understand their own lives matter.”
Matthew and his wife Camila Alves – with whom he has three children – have met “dozens” of lawmakers in the wake of the tragedy and he fears politicians have “lost sight of” their “values and vision”, urging them ” meet in the middle” when it comes to complex issues.
He wrote: “It seems that each party has become so consumed with contempt for the opposition that they have become little more than counterattacks – so focused on parrying and defending the party that they have become reactive by default.
“They have lost sight of their own values and vision and ceded their power to the marginalized. That’s a problem.
“Because most Americans, myself included, are not on the fringes of politics. We are sensible and responsible, and we share more values than we’re told—and we believe meeting in the middle is for the greater good. We have the majority. We have the numbers.”
The 52-year-old ‘gun stewardship’ actor admitted mass shootings in the US made him ‘sick’, but the 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives in Uvalde struck him as ‘more personal’.
He said: “I am disgusted by the wave of mass shootings in America, particularly in schools that are reputed to be the safest places for our children and the closest extensions of our own homes.
“But this time it was different, more personal.
“Now for the first time my innocent childhood memories of Uvalde felt naïve – more like dreams than memories, slightly blurred and suddenly too sacred. Moments like this make us all feel a little bit crazier.
“We hug our children a little longer because we know their innocence will not last as long as ours and we hope their children will not experience the same.”