Cracked's opinion about persons of the juvenile persuasion usually ranges from bafflement to outright terror. The kids on this list, however, demand not just our respect but, in some cases, blood oaths of loyalty.
While we spent our childhoods using our boogers to glue our other boogers into super boogers, these youngsters spent theirs rocking the universe with their flagrant--and often chilling--displays of power.
5Johnny and Luther Htoo: Wonder Twins (of Terrorism)
The adorable chain-smoking tykes up there are the Htoo twins. They were born in the late '80s in Burma, but not the regular Burma you know and cherish. They were actually Karens, an ethnic group that has been waging guerrilla war against the Burmese state since 1949.
At one time they were just regular boys who lived in a jungle camp of rebels. When the Burmese army attacked the place to clear the way for a gas line, the armed branch of the Karen National Union ran away screaming, leaving the village defenseless. Except for the AK-47s they had stashed some place, which these nine-year-old kids used to fend off the invading Burmese Army. Successfully. And that, boys and girls, was how God's Army got its start.
These are serious mofos, is what we're trying to tell you.
So How Powerful Were These Kids, Exactly?
Rather than chalking it up to beginners luck, the Htoo twins leveraged their precocious display of Rambo-sized balls to command an army of followers who were convinced the boys were magically invincible.
They actually had about 150 followers who carried weapons and obeyed their commands and literally believed in the magical powers of the Htoo twins. How could you not follow someone when you think he's impervious to bullets? Or mines? And that he commands 250,000 invisible soldiers? And his brother commands 150,000? Sure it sounds ridiculous, but if two pre-pubescent kids walked into your office right now chain smoking Marlboro Reds, tossed you an AK and told you it was time to take down the man, you'd have to think long and hard about declining the offer.
High five for invincibility!
They really got everyone's attention when soldiers of their army (the visible ones) held a whole hospital hostage for 24 hours in demand for medical treatment for God's Army's wounded. They didn't get it, and in fact everyone involved was shot dead by Thai security forces (the Htoo twins weren't there).
So, like all hopeless causes led by tiny, messianic fraternal twins wielding automatic weapons, this one couldn't last. In 2001, the 13-year-old boys and 20 of their followers turned themselves in to Thai soldiers, admitting that no, they weren't mystic zombie commanders, and yes, they did have a smoking problem.
4Samantha Smith R-O-C-K-S in the U-S-S-R
American kids who grew up in the 80s knew only two things for sure:
1. Care Bears and G.I. Joes were sexually incompatible unless you were into the freaky stuff.
2. The Soviet Union was Satan's playground. Beelzebub himself spent the 80s in the Kremlin, wearing one of those stupid furry hats, just double dog daring the United States to challenge him to a game of nuclear kickball that would leave the entire Earth a charred ruin.
Just like Los Angeles.
Relations between the U.S. and the USSR were so tense that we boycotted the 1980 Olympics just because they were in Moscow. Carter even stopped talking to the Soviets and Ronald Reagan totally labeled the USSR an "evil empire." And he didn't use air quotes to show he was just messing with them. The whole freakin' country shut down to watch a crappy made for TV movie about the after effects of a nuclear holocaust like it was the Super Bowl.
So when 10-year-old Samantha Smith wrote a letter to the head Soviet Yuri Andropov asking him if "he was going to vote to have a war or not," it was the kind of meaningless gesture you expect from innocent little kids. We're talking about a letter to Darth Vader himself here.
But then he wrote back.
It wasn't just a crude drawing of himself pooping on an American flag, either. Andropov responded thoughtfully and kindly, and the rest of the U.S. discovered that people in the Soviet Union were actually people people, not hybrid Cthulhu/humans (or cthumans as we used to say back in the day).
Whatever gave us that idea?
So How Powerful Was This Kid, Exactly?
Samantha generated publicity for her letter like a miniature P.T. Barnum. Of course, it was just a letter. Probably took her 10 minutes. It's not like she climbed aboard a plane and flew right into the heart of the Soviet Union to sit down face to face with the guy Jimmy Carter wouldn't even speak to on the pho-
Oh, wait. She did just that. Samantha spent two weeks as Darth Vader's personal guest.
"They're just like us!" she exclaimed during a press conference in Moscow, the 10-year-old sitting happily in the heart of the Evil Empire itself. And just like that, the Cold War thawed ever so slightly.
It's all about mutual respect, you see.
Partly because of Andropov's response (which some scholars think was actually penned by one Mikhail Gorbachev) and partly because Samantha returned from her trip with pictures and anecdotes of a country full of jes' folks, the whole act of citizen diplomacy sort of broke the spell of mutual hatred between the U.S. and the USSR. Things snowballed from there. Andropov died, and Gorbachev took over with a friendlier attitude than his predecessors. And Samantha Smith showed kids across America what it might look like if a G.I. Joe did mate with a Care Bear.