In an incredibly absorbing article in GQ, the family of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted after fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager, discusses its attempts to “rebrand” while living in paralyzing fear.
The Zimmermans’ stories, which are both simultaneously tragic and bizarre, show a family eager to move on from the April 2012 “incident” in which George killed Trayvon Martin. They’re also struggling with debt and paranoia:
They watched the movie Argo to learn how to live like CIA. Code names for everyone. No mail delivered to the house. No visitors. No talking to the few neighbors they had. No long phone conversations—keep it short and vague to outwit surveillance. Never discuss your whereabouts via phone or text. Keep a weapon close by at all times. Robert slept with his gun. Still does.
And in case someone—or multiple someones—decided to mount an attack on the house, the Zimmermans pre-packed their own “go-bags” filled with everything they would need to flee in a rush, as well as what they called “footballs”—like the one President Obama has with the nuclear codes—that contained laptops, cell phones, and other essential electronics.
They also memorized a color-coded threat-ID system. Code blue: Law enforcement at the door. Code brown: Draw your weapons. Code black: Come out guns blazing.
The Zimmermans wonder if a reality show starring George or a sit-down with Fox’s Sean Hannity will restore their name. In an upsetting and absurd twist, George’s brother Robert, the family’s most vocal member, describes hoping to cash-in on their newfound infamy with a show inspired by the Kardashians. He rationalizes: “Like, use the shit you’ve got.”
Read the full feature here.