This headline feels like it could be the result of some sort of specially tuned fake headline generator designed to spit out sham news items guaranteed to infuriate people with even the slightest tinges of progressive leanings. Other possibilities could have been, "Westboro Baptist Church Paints Portrait of Man Dying of AIDS to Benefit Homosexual-Free Pizza Parlor," or "Donald Trump Paints KKK-Themed Artwork to Benefit Mexican-Free Border Wall." Yet, in this case, our headline is an actual thing that happened.
Zimmerman, the man who killed Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin, has since taken to painting after being acquitted of murder charges. His latest effort is, well, a pretty basic reproduction of the Confederate flag.
Oddly, the flag is inscribed with the words, "Our 2nd Protects Our 1st." That's odd, because one assumes that those refer to the first and second amendments of the United States constitution, and yet they're painted over a flag representing a country that succeeded and was in full-out war with the United States during its brief existence. In fact, the corresponding rights in the constitution of the Confederacy are in Article 1, Section 9, Clauses 12 and 13, but apparently "Our 1.9.13 Protects Our 1.9.12" didn't look as good on a painting.
But Zimmerman says that actually that was all part of his artistic vision.
Back in June, Andy Hallinan declared that his store, Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Florida, would no longer sell guns to any Muslim customers.
“I will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots," he said, standing before a Confederate flag (again, a flag that was used to do battle against the United States), in a YouTube video. Hallinan, it should be pointed out, was born in Massachusetts.
Hallinan was promptly sued.
Zimmerman said that he was originally painting the American flag, but then heard about Hallinan's situation and decided to paint over it with a Confederate flag.
"The caption, 'the 2nd protects the first' is a double entendre," Zimmerman says on the gun shop's website. "The first flag I painted on this canvas was an American Flag, but decided to repaint over it with the Confederate Flag when I heard Andy was getting sued by CAIR. The 2nd flag I painted was the Battle Flag - which we need in America in order to protect the first."
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It seems worth pointing out again that the Confederate flag was used in battle against troops flying the American flag. We should probably also point out here that people are still constitutionally free to wave the Confederate flag as they please despite the fact that some Southern states have decided to remove it from government buildings.
Anyway, Zimmerman and Hallinan have now teamed up to sell prints of the painting, and everyone who buys a print will be entered into a raffle to win the original painting. Half of the proceeds will go to Zimmerman. The other half will go to Hallinan.
It's rare for people to get to show through one simple object that they support a man who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, a man who thinks all Muslims are prone to wanting to kill Americans, guns, and a long ago conquered country that fought a war in order to keep black people as property. That's like at least four spots on the super right-wing Bingo card all in one place.
Though, the order page does have an entire section dedicated to explaining why neither Zimmerman and Hallinan are racist, just in case you thought they were racist.