Milton Bass: Children’s crusades tend to end in failure



This isn’t the first time the kids have tried to take over a country. What if all those thousands on our border with Mexico are part of a gigantic military maneuver possibly set up by that Russian Putin who wants to dominate the world so badly that he can taste it in his borscht? Or could it be that Mexico and the tiny nations of Central America are so riddled with drug and political corruption that it is easier to risk your life trying to escape or live and die in Hell in your own neighborhood?

This is definitely not the first time children have gathered to save the world if not just their own skins. In the year 1212, it was written that mobs of children gathered with some older people to journey to the Holy Land where they believed they would peaceably convert all the Muslims to share their adoration of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.


They had no supplies or money so thousands died of hunger, thirst, heat prostration, et cetera. Everybody else finally went home except for those captured by slave traders and sold to people who had no empathy for their feelings and used them mercilessly.

That was what I learned about childish crusades in my younger years, but in 1977 a study appeared that blew all the previous versions to bits.

The research showed that these were not groups of dedicated youth gangs of "wandering poor" in Germany and France looking for a handout. There was one young man whose glibness of tongue brought some 30,000 youngsters under his banner. Two merchants, Hugh the Iron and William of Posneres, offered free passage on their ships to the Holy Land, but what really happened was the teenagers were sold into slavery in Tunisia or died in shipwrecks.

There was a German group that was going to change the Islamists by presenting them with the truth about the Savior. The relatively few who survived the march to Genoa found to their surprise that the ocean didn’t open up for them as had been promised by their leader. The Genoise, however, liked their spirit and offered citizenship for those who were amenable. Most accepted and nobody, not one, from the various groups made it to the Holy Land.

The writer of one study described a group as "teenage boys caught up in medieval warfare." Another commentator noted that "literary scholars have weighed its role in the evolution of the Pied Piper."


So the thousands of young people milling in our steel crates on the Mexican border are merely continuing a tradition and plan that already has feet -- except this time the leaders are not teenagers smitten with their gift of gab. They are hardened criminals who seduce the poor and innocent with legends of American jobs and gold that can be found on the street.

Where do all these ideas come from? Think of your Bible, Isaiah 11:6: "And the wolf will also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child will lead them.

Where do you think these Central American kids will be working next year and in what country and for what kind of wages?

Milton Bass is a regular Eagle


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