By NICK CHILES
Attempting to take advantage of the same digital tsunami that made Trayvon Martin’s murder perhaps the country’s top news story over the past month, George Zimmerman—Trayvon’s killer—launched his own website yesterday to raise money for “living expenses” because of his “forced inability to maintain employment.”
Zimmerman’s site was introduced the same day that the special prosecutor assigned to the case, Angela Corey, announced that she wouldn’t use a grand jury to get an indictment against Zimmerman, instead opting to do her own investigation and file charges against Zimmerman if she deems them appropriate. Observers say charges could possibly come within days.
The existence of Zimmerman’s website demonstrates just how much the characteristics of the media and American society have been transformed in a few years with the growth of the Internet. It’s possible that Martin’s killing would never have received national attention without the Internet and social media. In fact, MyBrownBaby was one of the first sites to bring notoriety to the case. It started as a drip of coverage and turned into a flood.
And that brings us to Zimmerman. I can’t recall any other case in which an accused killer of an unarmed man has been able to go directly to the public to ask for donations for “living expenses.” It’s perfectly legal, but it just feels creepy as hell. In effect, Zimmerman is taking advantage of the chance to capitalize on the unsettling existence of citizens who feel he should be rewarded for shooting a 17-year-old black boy. I’m not saying that Zimmerman is making a special appeal to the racists of the world—but he’s surely not going to return any money that comes through Paypal sheathed in a white hood.
Zimmerman implies on his site that there are some shysters out there who have been collecting money supposedly on his behalf, but he hasn’t seen any of it.
“I cannot attest to the validity of these other websites as I have not received any funds collected, intended to support my family and I through this trying, tragic time,” Zimmerman wrote on therealgeorgezimmerman.com. “I have created a Paypal account solely linked on this website as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment. I will also personally, maintain accountability of all funds received. I reassure you, every donation is appreciated.”
If George Zimmerman actually turns his new website into a profit-making venture fueled by the killing of an unarmed boy, I think many of us will be overtaken by a wave of revulsion and nausea. What a strange country we live in.
1. Video of George Zimmerman After Trayvon Shooting Casts Doubt on His Story
2. Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Black Friends & White Privilege
3. Teenager Killed in Florida by Neighborhood Watch Brings Terror To My Heart
4. Black Boy Swagger, Black Mom Fear
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.