Searching for the words

Editor’s note: As of 11: 50 the auction was listed as “no longer in the system” on Gunbroker’s site.

George Zimmerman is in the news once again.  That sentence in itself was hard enough to write, but what boggles the mind and makes finding language appropriate—and safe for sensitive eyes—to describe the cause is the fact that he has declared his intention to auction off the gun he used in his fight with Trayvon Martin.

Proceeds to be used in campaigns against the Black Lives Matter movement, Prosecutor Angela Corey, and Hillary Clinton and her position on gun control.  The starting price will be $5,000.

Where to begin?  The word, tasteless, refers to behaviors that violate a sense of propriety, but in this case, what Zimmerman is proposing to do has a foul taste to it, reminiscent of some meat past its sell-by date that hovers in the stomach and refuses to budge, one way or the other.

Zimmerman claims that his gun, a Kel-Tec PF9, is something of historical value, claiming that the Smithsonian Institution has expressed interest in it.  Said museum has talked about acquiring the sweater that Martin was wearing on the night in question, so Zimmerman’s gun might complete the exhibit.

With regard to its historical importance, this particular firearm doesn’t rank with the Carcano M91/38 used to shoot Kennedy or the FN1910 used in the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife.  Those firearms changed the course of history.  This Kel-Tec is more along the lines of a Walther P38 with Waffenamt stampings—interesting, something that took part in larger events, but not a lever used to shift the world.

And five grand for a Kel-Tec is a concept too painful to contemplate at any length.  Unlike some, I’m not categorically contemptuous of the brand.  I had a P-11 that served me well for several years and many rounds, though I freely admit that I was lucky in those regards.  Love them or hate them, we can still say that Kel-Tec fills a niche in the gun world of small and cheap firearms—and some other odd designs that aren’t so simple to classify.  Getting one that works can be a crap shoot, but it’s the kind of gun best seen as a knock-around tool without holding any high expectations about quality.

But it’s not the gun that concerns me.  The fact that it was used in a shooting that has been so contentious ought to have given Zimmerman a moment—many moments, in fact—of pause.  Most of the time, I agree with the jury’s verdict in his trial.  There was not enough evidence to convict him of murder.  However, not guilty isn’t the same statement as innocent.  Given the presence of a still-grieving family who lost a son in an act, whether justified or not, the decent thing to do here at a minimum would be to donate the gun to the Smithsonian, if that institution really is interested, giving the matter over to history to judge.

The problem is that Zimmerman seems incapable of following an excellent piece of advice, namely never to miss a good opportunity to shut up.  Whether he’s drawing fire while driving or drawing what he calls art, he shows what New York Observer critic, Andrew Russeth, calls “a desperate cry for attention.”  I would like to see him fade into obscurity, if he can’t find it within himself to do some actual good with his time , and I doubt I’m alone in this.

George Zimmerman is one American gun owner, and his actions lead me to conclude that the rest of us have to repudiate his behavior if we’re going to say that he doesn’t stand for all American gun owners.  And so, I’ll make my position plain.  Zimmerman, for the love of decency and the rights that you claim to value, shut up.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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