More than one year after the not-guilty verdict, George Zimmerman’s immediate family is still holed up in a safe house in central Florida. They are so paranoid they have adopted CIA-level protocols to avoid being recognised,according toa new profile of the family in GQ.
Not even trusted members of the extended family know where the house is located. The notorious neighbourhood watchman’s parents and siblings expect to never feel safe again.
Zimmerman became one of the most hated men in America after he shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. He argued that it was self-defence, and a jury found him not guilty of murder last year.
Bob Zimmerman, the family patriarch, found the 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom house on Craigslist in a neighbourhood where most of the houses fell victim to foreclosures. The family’s safe house, which Zimmerman himself does not live in, seems like a step down from his parents’ previous home, which they abandoned out of fear that they’d be the targets of violence.
From the story:
There, the family formalized new security protocols. 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 neighbours 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 colour-coded threat-ID system. Code blue: Law enforcement at the door. Code brown: Draw your weapons. Code black: Come out guns blazing.
GQ’s story gives an unprecedented look at how the case and subsequent verdict has affected the Zimmerman family. Zimmerman’s younger brother Robert seems to revel in all the media attention that has come his way since he became the de facto family spokesperson. Zimmerman’s parents, on the other hand, seem worn-down and bitter.
Amanda Robb writes in GQ: “They were eager for the world to see them as they see themselves: ignored, unmourned victims. Collateral damage of an incident for which — to be clear — they still do not consider George responsible.”
The whole profile is worth a read.
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