George Zimmerman pulled over for speeding, media deeply interested for some reason

TMZ broke the story (“STILL PACKING HEAT”) and now it’s been picked up by, among others, CBS, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Times, and even Britain’s Daily Mail.

Why is this news?

Zimmerman told the officer that he had a weapon in his glove compartment and was going “nowhere in particular,” said Brian Brooks, city manager of Forney, Texas, about 25 miles southeast of Dallas, where Zimmerman was stopped.

The gun in the glove box is legal in Texas, and police routinely ask motorists if they have weapons in the car, Brooks said. He said the entire stop lasted less than five minutes.

“It wasn’t for super-excessive speeds, they just got him on regular speeding,” Brooks said. “It’s a pretty routine stop except for the fact that it was George Zimmerman.”…

Zimmerman, 29, who is white and Hispanic, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter on July 13 in Florida after a racially charged trial in the shooting of Martin in February 2012. Thousands of people demonstrated across the United States after the verdict.

Not even a story about a routine traffic stop, where he wasn’t so much as ticketed, can be spared the eternal “white Hispanic” mention. The “news” here, I guess, is that Zimmerman’s got himself a new gun and is riding around with it. (TMZ’s lede: “George Zimmerman is still armed and theoretically dangerous.”) Why anyone would be surprised that a guy facing thousands of death threats is carrying is unclear. But I guess if, like Piers Morgan, you’re intent on believing for your own political reasons that Zimmerman is a murderer despite what Florida cops, a Florida jury, and the vast bulk of the evidence say, then yeah, obviously you’ll be pretend-concerned to be reminded that he’s out there, just waiting to trick an unsuspecting teen into bashing his head against the sidewalk as a pretext to shooting him. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit. Maybe this is just the media equivalent of a BOLO, to remind Zimmerman that no matter where he goes, his whereabouts will be publicized. If they can’t get him on a murder charge, they can at least make sure he sleeps with one eye open. TMZ was even nice enough to post the dashboard-cam photo of Zimmerman’s truck and to note that he was traveling without a disguise. Better not turn the lights out tonight, murderer.

Here’s the real news: Why is a guy whose life is in danger driving around by himself, without any attempt to conceal his identity, heading “nowhere in particular”? And why would he do something as stupid as speeding, knowing that even the most minor legal infraction might reveal his whereabouts? (I don’t know why the cops in Texas decided to alert the media about a traffic stop that didn’t result in even a fine, but you can guess the motives in leaking.) I can understand him not wanting to hole up round-the-clock in a safe house like a trapped rat, but that’s mighty foolish given his notoriety. At least bring someone with you if you’re going out.

In other Zimmerman news, the Smithsonian Institution is hoping to racialize this case, which even the Martin family’s own lawyer said wasn’t about race,for posterity. The Teachable Moment will be taught, whether the facts support it or not.

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David Strom 6:41 PM on January 26, 2023