Breaking Bad begins when a high school chemistry teacher finds out that he has a fatal form of cancer and decides to manufacture and sell high-grade meth in order to provide for his family after he passes away. It's about mortality, power, violence, and the insidious methamphetamine market. As it happens, all of these themes are actual real-life themes in actual real-life America.
Since it first aired in 2008, there have been an astounding number of life-imitates-art cases in which meth dealers and manufacturers are caught in plots strikingly similar to a prototypical Breaking Bad episode. Many of these real-life Walter Whites are teachers. Some have terminal illnesses, some use campers to manufacture the product, most are absolutely crazy. One is even named Walter White. Read more about all the outrageous real-life WWs below.
Stephen Doran, a 57-year-old middle school tutor with stage III cancer, was arrested for trafficking meth in late May of 2013. He's also bald. He received a package of meth at the school. After his arrest, authorities discovered $10,000 in cash and some more meth at his home. Doran was a former Massachusetts State Representative.
This 45-year-old teacher was arrested at Newton High School for refusing to leave the campus long after the buildings were locked down for the evening. After Bloom was arrested, police officers found meth in her possession.
Walter White is actually the name of this meth-peddler. White is on the Sheriff's top-ten most wanted to meth production in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was arrested in 2008, the same year AMC began the show.
Johnie Mason IV and Jason Edward McClanahan
Johnie Mason IV and Jason Edward McClanahan were arrested for attempting to operate a mobile meth lab in West Virginia. The police received tips about suspicious activity in a camper and discovered meth manufacturing materials inside the vehicle. Also one is bald and the other is wearing a shower cap.
Hodges, a teacher's assistant, was arrested for manufacturing meth after weeks of police investigation. A neighbor tipped off the police when he discovered meth ingredients in his trash, and a local business warned the authorities after Hodges purchased over 1000 boxes of matches and peroxide (the strike plates on matchbooks can be used to make meth in some way that's probably really dangerous). His students were perplexed: "I liked him. He wasn't that bad of a teacher," reported one young learner, "He was nice and all." Hodges was arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport after a weeklong trip to Cozumel, Mexico, where he was celebrating spring break.
In December 2011, a 74-year-old mathematics professor at Boston University and Suffolk University was caught running a dangerous meth lab. She worked with her 29-year-old son to manufacturer the drug out of their suburban home. Kristy had taught at the universities for over twenty years.
Jason Hart, who was arrested for murdering his girlfriend and trying to dispose of her body in a plastic container of acid, was allegedly inspired by a Breaking Bad episode. In "Cat's in the Bag," which was cued on his DVR, Walter White instructs his assistant Jessie to dispose of a body in such a way. The roommate of the alleged murder says Breaking Bad was Hart's favorite show.
Bynum was a teacher in Piedmont, Oklahoma who was arrested for trading prescription pills for meth. The 37-year-old had taught at the school for one year.
This 43-year-old chemistry teacher was caught selling homemade meth to undercover officers outside Mae Luster Stephens Junior High in Texas. He'd reportedly been selling his products at the school for a long time. "We were surprised. I've known him for a long time and I'd have never thought it," reported Police Chief Linden Alton McWaters.
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