I’ll be the first to admit this town has a complicated past. But that’s just the point — it’s our past. And I’m sorry, but I’m not going to let the Political Correctness Enforcement Agency just swoop in and erase it. For all his flaws, Walter “Heisenberg” White was an important figure in this community. Tearing down our beloved statue of him would be an attack on Albuquerque’s unique heritage.
We’re all familiar with the difficult choices Walt had to make and the surprising extent to which he evolved over five seasons. He was, first and foremost, an educator, one who developed complex relationships with his pupils that extended far beyond his chemistry lessons. He touched hundreds of lives outside the classroom as well, whether directly, through those he influenced, or via chains of events so circuitous and improbable that they nearly defied plausibility. You may disagree with some of what he did, but no one can deny he was a consummate professional. Walt was hands-on, creative, and passionate. Shouldn’t we be teaching our children to emulate his entrepreneurial spirit, rather than whitewashing him out of our history?
Yes, like many men of his era, he cooked and distributed methamphetamine. Unlike most drug dealers, however, he just wanted to put his skill set to use for the good of his family. It’s no secret that he felt conflicted about this decision, and if it did result in him orchestrating a string of prison murders with a group of neo-Nazis, well, we all know that was never his original intent.
Don’t get me wrong — dealing meth is horrible and immoral. But if we start erasing everyone associated with meth from our history, where does it end?
Are we going to shutter every single franchise of our beloved Pollos Hermanos because of its former owner’s involvement in the meth industry? Do we have to tear down Walt’s old carwash and replace it with a safe space to coddle our children and prevent them from learning about the meth craze? Will Badfinger be forced to return all profits from their hit single “Baby Blue” because of its association with Walt and his dedication — however misguided — to ensuring the quality of his product?
Removing this statue would be the definition of a half-measure, and Walt deserves better than that. Albuquerque deserves better. Walter White may have been a lot of things, but instead of painting him with a broad brush because he engaged in the then-common practice of dissolving rival dealers in barrels, we should be examining his actions in context and learning from them.
Thank you for answering the door and hearing me out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more doors to knock on.