Monetizing a Massacre
Counting the Cost
Julianne Malveaux | 2/13/2014, midnight
Had he not massacred Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman would be an average White man holding down a mediocre job, living under the radar, and aspiring for a law enforcement job. He and his wife would probably be divorcing (as they are now) on account of his brutality (she cites his beatings in her divorce proceedings). Nobody, but nobody, would know his name or give a hoot about him.
Zimmerman massacred Trayvon Martin, though, and that’s his claim to fame. He shot down a Black teen armed only with Skittles and iced tea. He said he did it because he felt “threatened.” The police told him not to act after he called them. He also had time to walk, or even run, away. Stand your ground laws gave him an excuse to massacre Trayvon Martin. And so he did.
This ought to be the end of the story. But George Zimmerman could not give up the limelight so easily. His “legal defense fund” raised more than six figures and got his wife charged with perjury when she said the family had no assets. Tens of thousands of that money were used to get Mr. Zimmerman “established” post trial. Who are these people who not only support Mr. Zimmerman, but are also willing to pay to make their support clear? Don’t they understand that in supporting Zimmerman they also support the massacre of a young Black man? Does it matter to them that millions are galled and appalled by their monetary support of Zimmerman? Or are they “standing their ground?”
Zimmerman’s next venture was to take up painting. Though his artwork most resembles a child’s etch-a-sketch rendition, the first paining he put on ebay sold for more than $100,000. The Associated Press has sued him for using their images to create a painting of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney who decided to try him in the massacre of Trayvon Martin. Always flippant and out of order, Zimmerman said he will sue AP, putting his threat on Twitter. Does he not understand that the $100,000 he made on his painting is no threat to the Associated Press?
Now, celebrity Boxing owner Damon Feidman is considering a three-round, Pay-per-View fight between Zimmerman and rapper DMX (sorry, I had not heard about him until the fight came up). George Zimmerman just wants headlines. What is the DMX agenda? Doesn’t he understand that if he looks even close to losing the fight, he might have a stand your ground massacre in his hands? Furthermore, doesn’t he understand, don’t we all, that this is all about monetizing a massacre, allowing Zimmerman to gain because his notoriety is directly connected to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
From my understanding, people who participate in Pay-per-View programs earn a lump sum and a percentage of the monies spent to watch the “event.” Thousands of people say they are interested in seeing this fight. If they are at all interested in sending a murderer a signal, they ought to miss the opportunity to watch this drama. Every dollar spent on this Pay per View debacle, is a dollar transferred to the man who not only killed Trayvon Martin but also has no shame about profiting from that massacre.
In our haven of capitalism anybody has a right to attempt to monetize anything. But markets depend on supply and demand. Mr. Zimmerman can supply all the nonsense he wants to in an open market. His massacre can only be monetized when consumers demand it. The same people who stood by Trayvon Martin need now stand against George Zimmerman and actively jettison his plan to monetize his murder of an innocent and unarmed black teen.
Memo to DMX and the other 15,000 people who said they wanted to fight George Zimmerman. When this murderer understands that the market will not embrace him, he will have to go back under the radar and get a job like everyone else. He’ll learn that his traffic tickets and his wife beating are not national news. He will learn that he cannot reap rewards from massacring a child.
Julianne Malveaux is a D.C.-based economist and writer and president emerita of Bennett College for Women.
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