Can Joe Jones be saved ("A Life in the Balance," by Michael Krikorian, Jan. 4)? He has learned to tell everyone what they want to hear to get his way. It's a survival mode, given the sewer he lives in. If he stays, he dies both physically and mentally. He should have been put in a disciplined environment after his first brush with the law. They did him no favor by returning him to his mother, who can't seem to help or influence him. Bloods and Crips seem to be a condition, not a way of life. To survive in the world Krikorian describes, the gang is the life and death of a young black person.