The shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday was an exceptional incident in American history, with lawmakers perhaps being targeted as a group.
As a crime fitting a very specific profile, though — five people injured with no fatalities (the shooter was killed Wednesday) — the incident was relatively common. According to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, the attack in Alexandria would be the 53rd one matching those precise figures since January 2016.
Several cities have seen multiple incidents in which five people were shot, including Chicago, where it happened four times. The one in Alexandria would be the 13th this year.
On cable news programs, people familiar with the neighborhood repeatedly stated that it was not the sort of place where you’d expect such an attack to happen. The subtext to such comments is that the area was a smaller, more affluent place than others where one might expect such a shooting to occur. To some extent, that’s true when compared with the other 44 places where five people were wounded.
Alexandria is the wealthiest location for one of the attacks, as measured by median household income. (All data here is from the Census Bureau.) It has the second-lowest poverty rate of any of the shooting locations, after Elmira, N.Y. Its population is more white than most shooting locations, though less white than America on the whole. The city’s population is slightly smaller than the median of the other shooting locations — a figure that’s skewed by the presence of a number of large cities.
That said, the city was reminded at the end of May that it was not immune from the problems that plague the United States. A number of politically incendiary, anti-Semitic and racist fliers were left around the city, including in the neighborhood where Wednesday’s shooting occurred.
“I hope community members will use this outrageous and disturbing incident to form tighter bonds with their neighbors,” City Council member John Chapman told the Alexandria Times, “and hope Alexandria is an inclusive city that won’t be rattled by immature acts of hate.”
For the second time in less than a month, that message is relevant.