The owner of a Florida gun shop who declared his business to be a “Muslim-free zone” solidified his status as a far-right hero this week when he announced that he would be paying his legal bills by auctioning off a painting of the Confederate flag by George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.
The gun shop owner, Andy Hallinan, elaborated on the plan in an interview with Miami talk radio host Joyce Kaufman on Tuesday, explaining how he and Zimmerman had become friends and how, when Zimmerman heard that Hallinan was being sued by the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), he immediately took an American flag painting he was working on and started painting a Confederate flag over it in the hopes of raising money for Hallinan.
Hallinan told Kaufman that the Confederate flag was an appropriate symbol of the need to “go into battle, in a sense, with the leadership of this country” who, with their “extreme political correctness,” are bringing about the “destruction of the American dream as a whole.”
Although “the media is portraying things like the Confederate flag as racist,” he said, it is they who “are trying to create a more racist America, not a less racist America.”
Later in the interview, Kaufman said that Americans today are facing a similar fight against a “big political machine” that the Confederacy faced before the Civil War. “It’s nice to say that the war was fought over slavery,” she said, “but in fact it was actually a war over the big political machine that they didn’t want dictating how they live their lives. And that’s not such a dissimilar theme to what we’re experiencing right now.”
“At the end of the day, the war was fought over tyranny and a difference of opinion, that’s what it was, and of course money,” Hallinan agreed. “You know, slavery was an issue but it was well known that the North actually had more slaves at the time, which was interesting.”
Hallinan told Kaufman that although he had intended to donate part of the proceeds from the painting to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the group had declined the donation, so he is now looking for a charity that will take his money.