Let's start today's post by giving this story a listen: Learning To Wage Peace. The discussion points out that violence doesn't solve problems. It creates them. Human beings need to spend more time learning how to negotiate through conflict rather than running away from it. If we learn best via trial and error, then it should come as no surprise that modern humans tend to be inept at resolving conflict without violence. Personally, I agree. How different would our culture be if we actually studied how to resolve conflict without resorting to violence?
Ultimately, Americans have to stop believing that the answer to every problem is a man with a gun. The Good Guy with a Gun schtick is a myth spread by the NRA to sell more guns. And as you can see by the first link, it's not the only one. These myths are fueled by the biggest myth of all: that violent crime is escalating. In fact, the data indicates that it's declining. So with that in mind, let's move on to cops, guns, and gun violence in schools.
There have been 290 incidents of gun violence in schools since Sandy Hook (2012.) There is no doubt that this is a problem. Gun advocates have proposed providing a larger police presence and/or arming teachers as means of making schools safer. I'm going to tell you why this is a very bad idea. First, go back to the list of debunked NRA bullet points, starting with the first. The presence of guns does not make everyone safer. It puts them at higher risk. That's merely taking accidents into account. Now, let's factor in cops and school power dynamics.
There is no doubt that the relationship between police and the American public has changed for the worse. Police are no longer viewed as safe. This is for damned good reasons. (See: numbers of people killed by police vs police killed on the job. 232 vs 16 and 2018 is less than three months old.) The police force has become dangerous. My hunch that the biggest factor is the uptick in the use of steroids. We've known about it since 2007 at least. Nothing seems to have been done about the issue, and we know there is a link between steroid use and aggression. In addition, police culture has become militarized. They're given military equipment, and police no longer consider themselves 'peace keepers'. They see themselves as warriors which puts them at war with the citizenry they're paid to protect. Now, add in a vast power imbalance between youth and gun-wielding police and the prevalence of unexamined racism. These lead to incidents like the one in Spring Valley High School. Worse, this environment speeds up the school to prison pipeline. As you can see, the whole idea of armed police presence in schools is horrific if you analyze it from just one angle.
Now, let's examine it from another: the biology of teens.
Science tells us that adolescence is a time when the human body and brain undergo vast changes. (See The Role of Puberty in the Developing Adolescent Brain and It's not just the hormones ...) Aggression and stress are big factors in a teen's reactions to their environment. Chances are, their brains haven't fully matured. Their best decision-making capabilities aren't fully online as it were. I've always viewed adolescence as a trial period. It's when humans learn how to become adults. Human beings learn best by trial and error. Therefore, it's in the best interest of our teens to provide the safest possible environment for making mistakes. That is not an Authoritarian Regime. Placing a teen into a harsh environment is far more likely to endanger them, and the likelihood of them making a large life-affecting mistake involving a cop with a gun is high. Why put children at risk like this?
Personally, I feel the best solution to school shootings is to up the age for the legal purchase and carrying of guns to 21. Teens are restricted from alcohol, driving, gambling--even voting. Why is it unreasonable to do the same with deadly weapons? In addition, overwhelming evidence indicates that gun control works. See Can Connecticut's Gun Laws Be A Model For Other States?
 In particular, listen to the section on the dangers of convincing speakers and the actual story of the Trojan Horse. It fits the current American political climate to a T.
 The bulk of the group's money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources. See: How The Gun Industry Funnels Tens Of Millions Of Dollars To The NRA.
 See: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker.
 I've said this many times. Police are not soldiers. They are two very different professions. One is paid to protect the public. The other is paid to kill whoever the state deems a target. Historically, bad things happen whenever the police and/or the military become confused on this issue. Have a look at The Troubles in Northern Ireland, if you don't believe me.
 Statistically, students of color are more often targeted. This, in turn, feeds the for profit prison system and what amounts to a resurgence of slavery or if you prefer Prisoners With Jobs.