George Zimmerman called the Armed American Radio on Sunday and held a pity party for himself.
He told host Mark Walters and his guest, self-defense expert Massad Ayoob, that his life has changed so much since he fatally shot Trayvon Martin that he could scarcely remember what things were like before.
“I don’t really remember what normal is,” Zimmerman said. “I’ll tell you that I’m not working – I enjoyed working, I enjoyed being a productive, taxpaying member of society. I haven’t worked since the incident, so in terms of the violent threats, the bounty on my head, I haven’t seen on any of the bounty posters an expiration date.”
Zimmerman, who was eventually acquitted in the slaying of the 17-year-old, said his notoriety has been a huge emotional and financial burden on his family, many of whom have been forced to change jobs, schools, and addresses to avoid public scrutiny.
“The person going through the incident, such as I was, that’s a tremendous burden on you, too, knowing that your family’s out there,” Zimmerman said. “From what I’ve heard from a lot of supporters, no matter what the incident is or what scale it’s on, you do receive a lot of threats, fear of retaliation, and sitting behind bars when you’re absolutely helpless is not where anybody wants to be.”
“Knowing that they may not have the resources to feed themselves or drive themselves to get their medicines or their doctor’s appointments, that wreaks mental havoc on anybody,” he added. “I don’t care how your intestinal fortitude is, just that aspect alone would be enough to drive anybody insane.”
Zimmerman advised gun owners to buy self-defense insurance, which seems to be his greatest regret in the fatal shooting of the unarmed teen.
“Go to the range to practice, keep your guns in a safe location, and primarily, now that I know that I’m $2.5 million in debt, just in lawyers’ fees, I paid over $360,000 in hard costs to the state of Florida – just in, you know, copies, CDs, manuscripts, that kind of stuff – I would definitely invest in getting some type of self-defense insurance, and again, arming yourself with the knowledge of what you can do and what you should or shouldn’t do after the incident,” Zimmerman said.
He complained that the media had not presented him fairly after killing the boy and initially escaping charges.
“The media, they’re not in the business of telling the news, they’re – now, unfortunately, it’s evolved to them being in the business of making the news, and whether it costs people their lives, their livelihood, dignity, the position in the community – they could not care less,” Zimmerman said.
However, Zimmerman offered thanks to Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his help and encouragement – and for keeping his off-the-record statements off the air.
“He is the only person that I’ve found in the national media … that did not rush to judgment and gave me his word that he would not use things I said as exclusives or on his show, and he truly didn’t,” Zimmerman said. “He stuck to that.”
But he said the media’s power was overwhelming, and he encouraged other gun owners who kill someone and claim self-defense to keep a low profile.
“Anything you say to them – and my family has learned this, my friends have learned this – people that truly had absolutely no malice intended would talk to the media and it would be turned, massaged to fit their agenda, and completely distorted,” he said. “There is absolutely no benefit to talking to the media.”
Zimmerman also encouraged gun owners to hire good lawyers after they kill someone, and he urged them to turn off the news.
“Try and stay away from media,” he said. “In other words, try and stay away from watching the news if it does reach the level that it reached for me, or even if it doesn’t, if it’s just local media. Don’t read comments on blogs, don’t read comments on newspapers. Those are all people that have never been in your situation, and it’s unfair to Monday morning quarterback or armchair quarterback to put yourself through that, you will drive yourself mad.”
Zimmerman said he decided early on not to watch media coverage of his case, because those opinions had no bearing on whether or not he would spend the rest of his life incarcerated.
“One law enforcement investigator gave me sound advice,” Zimmerman said. “He said, ‘The media is going to try and make you feel like you have to give them a comment, (that) you have to talk to them. But they’re not the police, and you even have the right to remain silent with the police.’”
Listen to this excerpt from the interview posted online by USCCA: