GQ's interview with George Zimmerman and his family simply isn't as awful as you probably think it would be. Instead it's much, much worse, as if the Bluths from Arrested Development met the Duck Dynasty clan on the set of The Sporanos. Writer Amanda Robb visited the "most hated family in America":
It was Grace, the little sister, who first grasped how all their lives were about to change. "We need to get guns!" she screamed when she saw the first news report pop up on her phone. The brief story didn't even have George's name—the shooter was still publicly unidentified—but that was no comfort. It was only a matter of time.
The Zimmermans already owned a lot of guns—at least ten altogether, between Grace and her fiancé, her two brothers, and her parents. Still, Grace bought herself a new Taurus pistol.
They had good reason to believe they might be in danger. Soon after Reuters published George's name on March 7, 2012, the New Black Panthers put out a $10,000 bounty for his "citizen's arrest." #Justice4Trayvon became a popular hashtag, and violent threats came in a flood. "All I can and will say I pray to God that your son geroge [sic]and Robert both choke on a sick dick and the mother and father both choke off a dick," someone posted on Bob and Gladys's website. "[I]t's not over we will have the last lol."
The family decided they could no longer stay put. George and Shellie holed up with a friend who was a federal air marshal, so they were reasonably safe. But for years, George's name had been on the deed to the house where his parents lived. Someone would find them. Bob worried about the large window that faced the street at the front of the house. "That's my mother-in-law's room," he said. Gladys's mother: 87 years old, Alzheimer's-afflicted. "I could just see somebody shooting into the bedroom or throwing a Molotov cocktail or something."
Robert, who bears a strong resemblance to George, was seen as particularly vulnerable. At the time of the shooting, he was living in suburban Washington, D.C., and in March, shortly after his thirty-first birthday, he got a call from a special agent at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who told him, Robert recalls, that "credible yet nonspecific" intelligence had identified him as a "target": "Anyone who wants to harm him will make no distinction between you because of the physical similarity. You need to go, and you need to go now." He left, joining the family on the run in Florida.
The Zimmermans believe to this day that they will never be free, that they are hunted by millions of angry liberals, and they are all completely paranoid and armed to the teeth and ready to shoot to kill in order to defend themselves.
Before I leave, we Skype with the rest of the family, minus George, who are all at home in Florida. The connection is choppy. Bob, Gladys, and Grace are in the kitchen, and all three of them look tired. Both of the family's lawsuits—their best hope at financial salvation—are going nowhere fast. A federal magistrate bounced the case against Roseanne Barr back to a state court. And a circuit-court judge just tossed out George's case against NBC.
But that's not what they want to talk about today. They want me to understand that the world is aligned against them and that what sustains them is their closeness as a family. George texts all the time. He even called recently. He wanted to know the name of a recent pop song, one with a chorus that goes la la la.
Bob tells me that George's big fear right now is that he'll be charged with federal civil rights violations for the Martin shooting.
"He's worried," Bob says, "that if FBI agents come and kick in his door, he's probably gonna shoot a few of them."
The interview is comically awful, because the Zimmermans are awful people. The Zimmermans have family codes for situations. They fear pretty much 90% of America is trying to kill George and that they'll have to spend decades living like a bored family full of former mobsters in exile. Most of all they want you to know they have guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Oh, and George is still being a "concerned citizen" out there in Florida. But the family of course fears he's a little jumpy on the trigger.
Trayvon Martin could not be reached for comment.