Toys R Us breaks bad news to children

Opinion_breaking bad

Why pulling meth-dealing action figures is a fruitless cause

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. October 28, 2014

On October 21, Toys R Us effectively pulled a series of Breaking Bad inspired action figures off their shelves after a petition conducted by a collective of mothers from Florida. With 9,000 signatures, the Walter White and Jess Pinkman toys were sent away for their “sabbatical,” leaving me wondering how those concerned mothers came to such a nearsighted solution.

Now and then I wander into a Toys R Us retailer and feel disappointment that resembles a knee to the groin. There is no nostalgia; the florescent-lit store could not feel more foreign to me. Still, I’ll explore the aisle and see the common toys: fake weapons, brawny plastic action figurines constructed to battle to the death, and sultry dolls that nurture the unobtainable expectation of beauty. As Aaron Paul tweeted: “Hmmmm… I wonder what is more damaging?”

Paul continues to stand by the toys constructed from his image. His countering petition to return the Breaking Bad toys to Toys R Us has already received approximately 30,000 supporters. And although I haven’t signed anything to contribute, I do think the original removal of the toys to be a ridiculous initiative.

First off, if parents are worried about their children becoming methamphetamine addicts or dealers, then they’ll have to do a bit more than eliminate a few toys. Moms, talk to your children about what drugs even are: explain the legalities and educate them on the harmful effects of addiction. Action figures are not the gateway into a life of crime, but poor parenting is.

Nothing hinders the growth of children more than paranoid, overprotective parents. We’ve seen many attempts to hide drug usage and deter temptations, but it appears that concealing cigarettes behind the corner store cabinets and administrating drinking ages is only creating another obstacle that can easily be thwarted should the youth dare to experiment.

Secondly, mothers need to focus on the big picture. Drugs, violence, and sex cannot be avoided in this world, so prepare your kids effectively with confidence and intelligence. Hell, maybe even watch Breaking Bad with them and show them the horrible destructive outcome of each character involved.

There are a billion other concerns out in the world that should worry mothers. It’s funny that they chose a battle against an inanimate object. After all, the worst pain those action figures could cause is the crippling pain of stepping on them barefoot. Moms of Florida, why not turn your attention toward gun control, drug trafficking, the broken educational system, overzealous spending, racism, sexism, gang crimes, pollution, heart disease, cancer, homelessness, unemployment, and many other dire problems in the world?

On a chaotic planet, we should just let the children play, imagine, and have the freedom to explore what they are curious about, guiding their curiosity in a positive direction without limiting them. No more half-measures, moms.

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