The City of the Angels
So what fueled this witches brew? Drugs? The War on Drugs? Illegal immigration? The destruction of the black family? Welfare? All of the above? (Hat tip: ED)
Update: The Strategy Page observes the similarity between street gangsterism and radical Islamism as memes, that is to say, as evolving and action-inspiring ideas.
The gang specialists had experienced a lot of Crips and Bloods (the two largest "national" street gangs) "wannabes" showing up in the last few years These are usually guys walking around pretending, using gang signs, and so on. Often kids from good neighborhoods get involved, because they want to seem tough. A lot of mouth, but no action. But in some other cities, groups like these have sometimes become more and more violent, as they compete for prestige. And occasionally the real Crips or Bloods show up and take over the operation, often with some casualties among the less enthusiastic wannabees.
The counter-terrorism experts are noting a similar phenomenon at work with Islamic radicals. Think about most of the frustrated, and unsuccessful, Islamic terror attacks here and in other countries. A lot of them were by guys who just started out huffing and puffing. But this led some to get more radical, and maybe hatch a plot. But because they lacked training or skills, the law busts most of them pretty quickly. Of course since there are a lot of wannabees out there, some groups may actually carry out an effective attack, by luck as much as by skill, such as the London bombers. So far, apparently, al Qaeda has never actually managed to co-opt a wannabee group, aside from those that were already independent terrorist movements before September 11, 2001, like the Algerian Islamic terrorists.