As of December 2nd, 2015, 353 mass shootings have killed 462 people in 220 cities, according to the www.shootingtracker.com. A total of 1,317 people were wounded, after adjusting for the latest toll from the last mass shooting, which saw a husband and wife kill 14 and wound 22 in San Bernardino, CA, the deadliest such tragedy in three years. The count includes all events that have killed or wounded at least four people. Five states were immune to the bloody, perpetual series of mass shootings in the United States in 2015. Experts debate whether the states were spared thanks to coincidence or if circumstances there make them a haven of peace. Those states are listed as Hawaii, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming that have been spared such macabre fate. “Naturally, we would expect that states with smaller populations would have fewer mass shootings, on average.” University of Alabama criminologist Adam Lankford told AFP. The most populous state, California with 38.8 million people, had the second biggest number of shootings at the writing of this article with 25. I believe it to be note worthy to also state that California has some of the nation’s strictest gun controls. It is stated that people in the five states listed are less likely to live in cities than those in most other US states. “This affects their risk and probability of experiencing a mass shooting,” Lankford said. I would have to disagree with Lankford on this statement, though not entirely. Though there is some statistical validity to what Lankford is saying in regards to risk and probability of experiencing a mass shooting simply due to population numbers, I truly believe that it has more to do with social behaviors and community continuity in these five states than how populated the cities are. Think about it, small communities thrive on each other and local economy more so than larger cities. Smaller communities reach out to known members of the community to help fix a deck, build a house, fund a school program, etc. versus calling the out-of-state contractor or some large entity to do the work. Smaller communities talk to each other, confide in one another and share information more willingly. Simply put……….we pay attention more. Granted we are all individually fighting an interior tech war where we are losing our situational awareness of our surroundings as we go throughout our daily lives with our heads stuck in our phones or tablets. As I continued to read this article, I was even more dumbfounded to read this quote: “None of them have done anything innovative or effective to prevent mass shootings, it just happens to be an unfortunate coincidence,” said Adam Winkler of the UCLA School of Law. I beg to differ!!! As a resident of WV, father, former LEO, and a certified Active Shooter Instructor for the Division of Justice and Community Services, I know that the efforts taken throughout the state in Violence, drug, and Bully prevention programs have done a world of good. You combine these state initiatives with tight knit communities willing to get involved, willing to ACTUALLY “See something, Say something”, then you have that preventive power and ability to drastically reduce events like an Active Shooter. We are huge advocates of this concept within the B.E.C.O.N. program. We pride ourselves in emphasizing that we need to be proactive in reporting, having a system of reporting and having a practiced plan in place to address any report of potential violence. James Jacobs, New York University School of Law stated“I think these states have been lucky this year (2015), and in the future they are unfortunately more likely to experience some mass shootings”. To simply chalk it up as “luck” is absurd. You cannot make such a statement with nothing to support it other than “low population” numbers. Statements like the ones contained in this article will poison a person’s mindset into thinking they are immune from such incidents from occurring in their “small community”, it is grossly counter-intuitive. It is like having the mentality of “It will never happen here”. If we carried that mindset around with us here in WV, then the Phillip Barbour High School- Hostage incident would have turned out completely different. Thank God we do not have that mindset as that incident was successfully handled without any fatalities or further incident by non other than meaningful communication by the Chief of Police in Phillipi, Jeff Walters, WV. The B.E.C.O.N. program was created and founded in WV and our goal is to get rid of the mindsets of “it will never happen here” and getting the public prepared.