The Herald Bulletin

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September 14, 2013

After acquittal, Zimmerman still in spotlight

LAKE MARY, Fla. — Whether they think that he got away with murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin or that he was just a brave neighborhood watch volunteer "standing his ground," many Americans can't seem to get enough of George Zimmerman. And he can't seem to stop giving it to them.

So it's hardly surprising that everything Zimmerman does produces a Twitterverse explosion and spins out into heavy news coverage. Comedian Deon Cole nailed it during an appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" a couple of days after the July 13 verdict. Merely being found not guilty, he said of Zimmerman, "doesn't mean that you're a free man."

He certainly hasn't been free from the spotlight.

  • Two stops for speeding.
  • A cellphone photo of a smiling Zimmerman touring the Florida factory where the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol used in the February 2012 shooting was made.
  • And, this week, police dash-cam footage of Zimmerman kneeling in the street to be cuffed after an alleged scuffle with his estranged wife and father-in-law.

Like gangster Al Capone going to Alcatraz for tax evasion and O.J. Simpson serving time for robbing some sports memorabilia dealers, some interpret this series of unfortunate events as part of some cosmic comeuppance for a wannabe cop.

But is he a kind of George Ziggy-man, perpetually stalked by storm clouds, or more like one of those California wildfires, creating his own weather patterns?

Seems like a little bit of both, according to crisis management expert Mark McClennan.

"How does he keep resetting his 15 minutes of fame?" said the Boston-area consultant, who's on the Public Relations Society of America's board of directors. "I'd say it's a two-way street."

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