Donn Esmonde's Oct. 11 column makes it sound as though we should feel sorry for the East Sider he calls Markus. I lived on the East Side of Buffalo for 27 years. My teen years, like his, were spent sitting on street corners or in the fields. We would drink and some would get high or worse. I chose not to. It's not easy making the right decision, but you have to find a way. That's the difference between people who want to better themselves and those who take the easy way out by succumbing to their environment.
Obviously Markus doesn't want to pursue a more legal lifestyle for himself. He has a lot of excuses for not finding a legitimate job. There are jobs and colleges in the suburbs that are on bus routes. Some companies have incentives for taking the bus or offer bonuses for not missing days of work. And you wouldn't have to worry about being shot at in jobs like that.
It sounds like Markus knows what's wrong with the lifestyle he is in. I hope he has the courage to pursue his dreams. Markus and others like him should reevaluate what's more important for the future: working hard toward a steady future or worrying which drainpipe you left your gun behind.