There are uncanny similarities between the 1980s and the 1920s, but nothing is more disturbing than the way it has manifested itself in teen-agers. I'm not saying they're all rotten. And certainly among those of questionable character there are shreds of decency.
This business of gangs--it is now not just a matter of minority tradition, because white Anglo-Saxon teens form sham gangs and have sham battles and spray real graffiti everywhere. It is a mind-set. The usual troubled teens have found that they can greatly increase their needed power over others by linking up with gang members.
At my old high school recently a student was shot dead right on the sidewalk. With such power, a troubled teen can threaten an adult. They can "adjust reality" so that they always come out smelling like a rose. The only other person who will stand up to this, among peers, is another troubled teen-ager, promising to create violent gang battles over territory. Hence, the Roaring '20s all over again.
A quick study of the '20s shows that many big-time gangsters were young men--troubled young men with short fuses. This time, drugs have replaced booze.