Day 6

March For Our Lives: Students make their voices heard on gun violence

Lane Murdock is an emerging student leader in the fight against gun violence. She explains why she's making the journey to join the march in Washington, D.C.

Why one 15-year-old says this is 'a monumental moment' in the history of her generation

High school students march against gun violence to the Colorado State Capitol grounds on March 14, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Ross Taylor / Getty Images)

After the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took their pain and their anger and turned it into activism.

Others did, too. On March 14, students organized a series of school walkouts across the United States.

And this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people will descend upon Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives rally. 

When the shooting at Sandy Hook happened, I was in fifth grade. For me it marked a definite loss of innocence, a kind of horrible milestone.- Lane Murdock, 15

Lane Murdock is among them. She's a 15-year-old high school student from Ridgefield, Conn., a town just minutes away from Newtown, where the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened in December 2012. 

Murdock is now emerging as a leader in the student gun control movement. Among other things, she's organizing a national walkout on April 20, which is also the anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.

Lane Murdock, a sophomore at Ridgefield High School, speaks to reporters at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building on Feb. 23, 2018, in Hartford, Conn., about her efforts to organize a national high school walkout to demand an end to gun violence. (Susan Haigh / The Associated Press)

Here's why the March For Our Lives rally matters, in Murdock's words:

"When the shooting in Parkland happened, I felt really numb. This is a normalcy in our country. And due to the fact that I had such a numb, hollow reaction, I realized that the rest of my country wasn't shocked anymore and that scared me.

Mark Barden holds up a picture of his son Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre during a vigil calling for action against guns on October 4, 2017 in Newtown, Connecticut. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

When the shooting at Sandy Hook happened, I was in fifth grade. For me it marked a definite loss of innocence, a kind of horrible milestone. I don't remember a lot from that age, but the fact that I remember going home and seeing my mom crying on the couch while she watched the news, I think speaks for itself. 

I think Sandy Hook represents to me, now, a kind of frustration ... that if elementary school students — children — are killed and our country doesn't have an immediate reaction, then what will?

I chose April 20 for the National School Walkout because it is the anniversary of the Columbine shooting in 1999.

Eric Harris (left) and Dylan Klebold (right) caught by the cafeteria security cameras at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

It's definitely a day that's caused controversy. And every single time an adult, you know, gets mad or tries to confront me on it, I kind of see it as an example of why no change has happened in the United States — because adults pick apart things that don't need to be picked apart, and in the end no change gets done.

I'm marching because I don't want any child to have to live in fear when they should just be going to school. And I want us to start looking at school shootings as something that shouldn't be a part of everyday American life.

As I wake up and get ready, I feel so much energy and I feel like this is such a monumental moment in the history of my generation and in the history of student protests."

A rally against gun violence held on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington. (Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press)

This transcript has been edited for clarity and length. To hear Lane Murdock talk about her generation's fight against gun violence, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.