Rising third year shot on Green Line train, dies of injuries

To: All Members of the University Community

From: Ka Yee Lee, Provost, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University

Subject: Update on Shooting Involving a University Student

Date: July 6, 2021

We write with painful news for our community. The University of Chicago has learned that the undergraduate student shot on Thursday, July 1, while sitting in an off-campus Chicago Transit Authority train has passed away from his injuries. He was Max Solomon Lewis, a rising third-year student in the College.

The University is devastated by Max’s loss. During this sorrowful time, our deepest sympathies are with Max’s family, friends, and all who knew him.

Max was a talented student and beloved campus leader and friend who will be greatly missed. He was pursuing a double major in economics and computer science, treasurer of the Promontory Investment Research RSO, president of fraternitay AEPi, and actively involved in the student community on campus.

To support our community in this time of grief, we remind students of the available University resources to support coping in difficult times. Counselors at UChicago Student Wellness are available by phone at 773-702-3625. Students may also visit the Student Wellness website to learn more or schedule an appointment, and Academic Advisers and Religious Advisers are available to talk with students. Assistance for faculty and staff affected by this tragedy is available through Perspectives, which can be reached any time at 800-456-6327.

Our thoughts are with all affected by this tragedy.

So sick hearing this over the weekend. Two promising students in two weeks losing their lives.

I hope they find whoever did this to him and may they rot in hell.

May his memory be for a blessing.


89 shot and 16 killed in Chicago over the weekend. So incredibly sad!!

There are really no words; anything I have to say will be meaningless. It’s simply devastating.
Attached is what appears to be a running list of those victims caught up in this weekend’s violence - this list includes young children.

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It’s awful but what is beyond crazy is that murders in Chicago over the first 6 months of the year are actually lower than same period last year which is nuts when you consider we were on lockdown for 3 of those months last year. There has been a lot of crime around Midway airport and Uber carjackings and then of course the typical crime in certain areas but none of this is acceptable and is all heartbreaking. Such promise from this young man and nothing any family should ever have to endure.

Actually here is the recent release and it has been reported elsewhere as well as it had been all over the news. https://www.google.com/amp/s/wgntv.com/news/chicagocrime/chicago-police-report-killings-down-shootings-up-this-year/amp/

Bottom line is there are too many period but comparing to a year of covid when many people were on lockdown is odd. Also Mayor Lightfoot is trying to make that as a positive thing when there is nothing positive. Summer is always bad in the dirty when more people are out of school with nothing to do etc. They need to work on more regentrification as they have in the past in some of the bad areas, clean then up, more gun control, get these gangs and drugs off the streets.

Agreed in full with your sentiment. Apparently I was looking at dates materials such as this from two weeks ago…

So incredibly sad.

Same thing happened here in the Twin Cities in May: a University of St. Thomas engineering student was caught in the middle of a shootout between two gang members in downtown Minneapolis in the middle of a crowd of people. He was killed hours before graduating.

Horrific. We got that email a few days ago. I can’t help but put myself in the parents’ place. I just cannot imagine. My initial reaction was anger. I just didn’t know what to say to my son, so I just said you will not leave campus, which is not realistic. But I am scared. May God comfort the family. I don’t even know what to say at times like these.


Gentrification does nothing except move the crime elsewhere, while adding a whole bunch of new people who have lost their homes and livelihoods, when they are kicked out of their houses. These people, who are pushed out of their low rent homes, need to keep on working while they find a new place to live, which is further away from their job and more expensive. That is assuming that they are able to keep a job and are not fired for the time that the are not working because they are looking for a new place. They are more likely than not to lose their jobs, and then are added to the population from which gangs can recruit.

The criminals simply move to a new location and increase the crime rate in a poor neighborhood which is further away from Chicago and where developers cannot make as much money.

Gentrification is only helpful for the wealthy people who live next to the gentrified areas and for the developers who make billions buying prime real estate cheaply and selling it for an enormous profit.

Its effect on crime is the same effect that sweeping all of your dirt from the living room into the kitchen has on getting your house clean. Well, if sweeping that dirt would also create even more dirt in your kitchen…

Gun control and finding a way to break the power of the gangs would also help, as would finding a way to help raise the people who live in crime-ridden neighborhoods out of poverty.

We need to gentrify the people in these neighborhoods, not gentrify the neighborhoods.

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What a plague gentrification is. Happening all over the world. I witness it every day. What a darned plague.

It’s a big subject, @MWolf , and nothing we can do justice to here. You are making the standard case against those improvements in a neighborhood stigmatized as “gentrification” (the term itself being pejorative), but it is more a mixed bag than you are indicating.

I lived for several years in the sixties in both Woodlawn and South Shore and boarded for a time with a black family in the former neighborhood. My observation was that the ordinary residents of these neighborhoods were much in favor of whatever improvements would keep their more prospering members from moving elsewhere and would make life generally more pleasant for them. This may depend on the dynamics of particular neighborhoods. However, at least some research shows such positive effects. If I recollect my reading of the talk among the working class black men at “Slim’s Table,” much along these lines was being said by them. In principle they weren’t keen to see lots of middle-class outsiders move in to the neighborhood, but they were very much keen on seeing the neighborhood become more attractive for its longtime inhabitants. When neighborhood life improves in safety and inherent attractiveness and more shops and small businesses accordingly flourish, more work is thereby created for restless and disaffected youth. The desperate choices they otherwise have in life are also improved. These can’t be bad effects except possibly for those with an ideological animus against middle-class life and a romantic attachment to its opposite. They mostly don’t live in these neighborhoods anyhow.

The dynamics may be different in places like San Francisco, where plutocrats are beating down the doors to move into lower SES neighborhoods adjacent to hip ones. I don’t quite see that phenomenon on the south side of Chicago. Even my Marxist son-in-law, a Prof in Urban Planning, reluctantly admits that judicial doses of gentrification raise the boats of everyone in neighborhoods that are not about to be overrun by stockbrokers and captains of industry.

It seems to me there’s an analogy between improving neighborhoods and improving classrooms. When the disruptors in classrooms diminish to the level in which they can no longer disrupt, everyone benefits, not only those who want to learn but those who have been seduced into joining the disruptors. Even some of the latter may be wised up. One could disparage this as “gentrification,” but any calculus of benefits as against detriments would surely show that the former outweigh the latter. A classroom is a little neighborhood.


There are solutions to keep the more impoverished from being displaced - subsidized housing is one of them. A good chunk of the south side has emptied out, vacant lots, etc so there’s room for all - rich and poor alike. I guess I’d prefer more Hyde Parks on the south side than something like another SF where the working poor are forced into the 'burbs and away from their jobs. I think it’s possible to create more “Hyde Park” - like areas out of Washington Park and other adjacent neighborhoods. (eta this is what is happening in Woodlawn and while there are complaints about being displaced most of these are directed toward the OPC not black businesses that have moved in or investors who have spruced up the neighborhood with new or gut-rehabbed buildings).

The benefit of an improved and more economically vibrant neighborhood is that the descendants of those impoverished residents now have job opportunities in the local community. THEY aren’t forced into the 'burbs - or into criminal activity - to find those jobs.

JB, SF as in San Fran? If so, the ones moving to the suburbs are not the working poor…the working poor are living in tent cities.

@marlowe1 I just don’t see how gentrifying works to the poor’s advantage. I don’t dispute the overall benefits to the gentrified community, but once gentrified, these areas are no longer affordable to the poor. Taxes go up in tandem with improvements, home values increase (inflate?), and residents have no choice but to move -likely further and further- away from their jobs, schools, etc. I watched in happen 20 years ago in another state, and continue to see this happening near me every day. The poor just keep falling behind.

Certainly there will be some displacements of existing poor residents of these improving neighborhoods because of there being less housing they can afford in those neighborhoods. However, that low-cost housing may not be so hot. One would need to compare the housing the poor are displaced to to know the extent of the loss they have actually suffered. However, I agree that there must be some level of loss. I say only that you have to weigh those losses against the enhancements of life that all who remain will enjoy - including the poor who remain and and have better lives and whose poverty may be alleviated by the new jobs that come in to such improving neighborhoods.

Whether “the poor just keep falling behind” is true is very much open to debate. Many statistics show that there are far fewer poor in the America of the 2020s than there were in the America of the 1960s.

I have no doubt that the area income disparity is significantly worse now than even a few years ago! Thinking more of a low income household with both parents having jobs in San Fran. Used to be they could live and raise their kids there too. No more; they must commute in from the 'burbs if they want any sort of space or yard. Are families living in tents now? That’s like a scene out of the Great Depression - wow.

When we moved our older son to the Bay area in 2016, the tent cities already existed. That was before the pandemic. Needless to say, the situation has gotten worse with the pandemic. The income disparity is a touchy subject because it has mixed root causes and, really, takes time (and many characters) to discuss. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you or anyone else, but sometimes I feel like many on CC are extremely privileged (myself included) and have different perspectives on the world. For context, I have lived in a few places (in and outside the US), and once you witness how other people live, many of our preconceived notions change. You mention the Great Depression. Are we not close (in terms of ‘irrational exuberance’) to the peak that led to that? I know, I know, totally different discussion! I’m afraid our economic malaise will not be healed with the current policies, and our societal ones, by extension, won’t either.

Here’s a link:
San Francisco Paying $16.1 Million for Homeless Tent Camps – NBC Bay Area.

The only thing you can do is educate your son on not to be naive and assume traveling in certain areas by certain modes of transportation is ok, it’s not. There have been a ton of carjackings by Midway airport this year. My daughter was supposed to fly home from Austin into Midway and he was going to pick her up but once he found out about all the carjackings he flipped out and paid a fortune for her to switch her flight to Ohare. The problem with that statement is that what he missed is that there have been a ton of Uber carjackings by Midway. There are always carjackings on the west/south side and other random areas but Uber carjackings near that area especially are high this year. I know Midway well and am not afraid to drive or pick up there or fly out of there. But I wouldn’t take an Uber anywhere near there. Of course, I don’t live near there so I wouldn’t be taking an Uber anyway. Stick to taxis in that area. This is one reason why there’s an Uber shortage these days here.

Subway/EL/bus - kids can’t help but take them. It’s just cheaper. They don’t want to spend the money taking a taxi or uber. And this young man had an internship downtown so he was taking the green line back when this occurred. It’s awful. Worse is that an interview with his mother on WGN she said he was awake an alert and paralzyed and communicated by blinking his eyes and they used a letter board with him where he said if he had to live in that condition for the rest of his life then to pull the plug now. The mother is a Dr in Denver. How horrific. So they abided by his wishes and took him off life support. I mean I can’t imagine having to do that for my children, ever! Every parents nightmare to get a call like that, and we all receive calls that we think are things like that. When you see University of … calling you on your phone at odd hours, you think it’s exactly like that. Turns out, they usually want $! But my stomach has sunk a few times when I’ve see that.

Bottom line, this can happen anywhere. It’s not unique to large metropolitan areas. We just have to hope our kids made wise choices and educate themselves. And as @MWolf we need even stricter gun control laws, but every time a law is passed somewhere, the NRA crops up to sue and get it overturned. This happened in my community after the Parkland school shootings. We had a ban here and NRA cropped up to sue (plaintiffs weren’t even from here) and it was overturned.

Get the guns off the street, get the criminals in programs, educate them, keep them in school or vocational programs, or get a plan going, because whatever they’re doing is not working.