Noted gun enthusiast George Zimmerman is back to his grandstanding antics again, showing up at the New Orlando Gun Show to lend his autograph to and take photographs with his legions of adoring fans.
Well, not really. Things haven't been going so great for Zimmerman in his latest attention-grabbing move, which has brewed up no shortage of trouble for event organizers. Zimmerman's presence has gotten the event organizers kicked out of one venue and further solidified himself as a national headache, pandering to far-right gun activists.
Gawker reports that the original venue, The Majestic, bowed out thanks to "community pressure," leading to the shows' rescheduling at the Arms Room gun store. The Majestic's cancellation cost organizers $300,000 in sales, says gun show official Mike Piwowarski, a Zimmerman supporter.
According to the Arms Room's Facebook, no "protestors, lunatics, or other varieties of ass clowns" interfered with Zimmerman's appearance, and free burgers and hot dogs were provided for all.
Astute readers will remember the above painting sold on Ebay for around $100,000. Months later, Zimmerman attempted to set up a celebrity boxing match between him and rapper DMX (which was later cancelled).
Thankfully, it seems even much of the gun show crowd is getting tired of Zimmerman's antics. Not many people seemed to be willing to get an autograph, take a photo, or even be seen with the man at the center of the case that rocked Florida. According to the New York Daily News, fewer than 20 people asked for an autograph or photo over the course of six entire hours.
“He seemed nervous and actually a little scared to be there. He also appeared emotional, like he was really thankful and touched that people would come out to see him,” said one fan, who said her name was Melissa.
“It was pretty weird to meet him in person — and wow, he has gained a lot of weight!”
Still, it's at best incredibly bad taste and at worst downright mocking Trayvon Martin's legacy to use the pain and suffering surrounding the fallout of Zimmerman's trial to hawk guns. And it's yet another reminder that gun rights advocates are enabling Zimmerman — who no matter how you slice it, is only "famous for killing an unarmed black teenager" — to make himself into a martyr and a celebrity.
But Zimmerman and his cohort of defenders are still as accusatory and ignorant as ever. After news of the venue switch, he took to Twitter to call out The Majestic for cancelling the show, saying they must be terrified of accusations of racism (as if that's the only issue here):