Matthew Ormseth at the LA Times:
Destroyers reflect the wretchedness of daily life in a gang made up largely of poor young men and teenagers, who commonly are homeless or estranged from family. They subsist on petty drug dealing, theft and extortion of innocent street vendors and minor criminals lower on the underworld food chain than themselves. A paranoid, often misplaced, belief that their ranks are seeded with police informants runs deep in the gang, leading members to turn on each other.
“The lives cut short inside the destroyer on Rampart were marked by poverty and fractured families — not unlike the lives of their alleged killers. One was both victim and perpetrator: An MS-13 member who took part in the killing of a teenager inside the destroyer was himself beaten to death days later in the same building.”