George Zimmerman seems incapable of retreating to a quiet life and staying out of the spotlight at a time when it seems that would be the most logical thing to do. As if the world hasn’t tired of him yet, Zimmerman, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, was in the news again this week, signing autographs at a gun show, no less.
According to reports, Zimmerman signed photos of himself posing with his dog during a meet-and-greet at the New Orlando Gun Show in Orlando, Florida Saturday. The show tanked, however, reportedly moved to a smaller venue early last week because of a backlash over Zimmerman’s scheduled appearance.
Less than 20 people showed up to the event, but that did little to discourage Zimmerman from staying out of the spotlight as he smiled and shook hands as if he actually had something positive to promote, something other than capitalizing on shooting an unarmed black teenager, the only thing Zimmerman is famous for. A married couple, who wished to remain anonymous, were reportedly the only ones in line waiting to meet Zimmerman. The two said Zimmerman seemed “nervous and scared to be there.”
Meanwhile public frustration with Zimmerman continues to mount. Every move the former neighborhood watchman has made since his July 2013 acquittal of murder charges has only put his altercation with Martin that night in 2012 even more in question.
His first brush with the law post-Martin, a speeding ticket less than a month later, seemed innocuous enough until it was later revealed that he was armed with a gun at the time. Zimmerman was let go with a just warning. Then came the 911 call from Zimmerman’s wife Shellie in September 2013, in which she claimed that Zimmerman threatened her and her father with a gun. Zimmerman was reportedly detained, but never arrested.
Another domestic dispute followed when police were called to the residence of Zimmerman’s girlfriend Samantha Scheibe in November of 2013. Scheibe told police that the couple argued and Zimmerman broke a table with a shotgun then pointed it at her. Zimmerman was arrested, but Scheibe later recanted her statements, saying police “misinterpreted” her statements and the case was dropped.
All the while, Zimmerman has decried the public’s perception of him and admits to receiving constant death threats. He has a lot of people guaranteeing they’re going to kill him and he’ll never be a free man, he said.
If that’s not enough fodder to question Zimmerman’s character, there’s more. Last month, Zimmerman’s name was mentioned in connection with a possible boxing match with rapper DMX. Boxing promoter Damon Feldman vigorously defended the fight in the face what became a public outcry over Zimmerman’s participation, but later folded and called off the event, saying “the racial tension was too much.”
Parallels to the O.J. Simpson acquittal are many. Chief among them, though, was Simpson’s inability to stay out of the spotlight after what many believe, as they do in the case of George Zimmerman, was a miscarriage of justice. Many are also hoping the similarities don’t end there.
Opinion by Rick Sarlat