Breaking Bad is a good show about a bad man I just started watching. It's about a guy who lives a normal middle-class life until he decides to start manufacturing meth for profit and to bolster his own self-esteem. I think he does it not for the money but just to show to himself that he could do it, make a fortune and get away with it. He is trying to validate his sense of self-worth, which has been battered by unfavorable comparisons to his brother-in-law and more successful old acquaintances.
It is strange indeed how the audience sympathizes and identifies with a manufacturer of meth. I consider meth possibly the most dangerous scheduled recreational drug in existence. I had to specify 'scheduled,' because there are more dangerous legal substances that our government has overlooked in its ignorance, incoherency and negligence. I feel no need to mention them here. They are not of interest to me.
Before watching the show, I felt that dealers in meth were dealers in death, the scum of the earth. After watching the show, I note shades of gray in their business. Their product I researched on Wikipedia. Meth has been around for about sixty years or so and was stockpiled by the Japanese military during WW2. It was used by their kamikazi pilots. In the short term, it offers certain benefits in terms of alertness--if dosage is measured precisely in order to avoid paranoia, the jitters and other side effects. I suppose small doses might make a front-line soldier more effective for a few hours before his death, if he is suffering from malnutrition or injury. For a country at peace, meth has no real purpose and, worse, is toxic to the human body, even in its pure form. I did not like the word I saw on the Wikipedia article, "neurotoxic."
I would place meth dealers in a similar category as manufacturers of cigarettes, except meth dealers are worse, because their product is more dangerous. Are they evil? Yes. But do they deserve prison for manufacturing or distributing meth? That is the tricky question, fraught with baggage that has implications for civil rights.
Should meth be legal? Do I have a right to ban it just because I despise it? Reluctantly, for the sake of consistency, I would say, meth should be legal, but its sale controlled, just as we control the sale of alcohol, but with even more controls in order to make assurances for purity and safety. I believe legality removes much of the violence and poisoning associated with the meth trade. It is a bad product, yes, used by fools, but fools will find their poison. I think that is the point of the show. Make something illegal, and it sometimes becomes more attractive than would otherwise be the case. The crime associated with illegal drugs is worse than the illegal drugs themselves. If all drugs were legal, the cartels would be placed in a very difficult situation. They could turn their hand to prostitution, but that is a far more difficult trade than the drug trade. Drugs are comparatively easy money, and whenever there is easy money, wicked men will kill for it.
The reason not to use meth is simple. It is toxic and harmful and capable of killing the user. It is also extremely addictive. The only reason I can see for people trying it is that they have a death wish, they are flirting with Old Mr. Bones. People have their reasons for wanting to die. The pleasure meth might bring is short-lived and just not worth the trouble. All these things are immediately obvious to most people. Most people would not be willing even to try meth. That is why making meth legal is not a bad thing. I would not use it even if it were dispensed in vending machines on every street corner for twenty-five cents. Just knowing it is bad for you is enough. For the same reason, I avoid coca-cola and cigarettes, although their harm is much less.