Tuesday CNN broke into Wolf Blitzer’s usual monotone musings on the news-of-the-day to alert the world that George Zimmerman’s lawyers had dropped their high-profile client. Attorneys claim Zimmerman, the Florida man who admitted to killing teen Trayvon Martin (but claims it was self-defense), had stopped communicating with them and, apparently, has started “communicating” with supporters online and FOX News’ Sean Hannity instead.
But the most surprising thing to come out of the last 48 hours of this most unusual case was that Zimmerman had started a web site.
Obviously his now-former legal reps felt this web site (and his sudden interest in speaking directly with TV personalities and strangers on the internet), conflicted with their advice – which was pretty much “keep your mouth shut.” And I have to agree. While I fall on the side that thinks Zimmerman should be arrested as soon as possible, my pragmatic, listen-to-your-damn-lawyer side thinks Zimmerman has “pulled a Palin” and, crazily, gone rogue.
Going rogue doesn’t just happen. The person roguing-out usually has to assess whether or not more good versus harm will come from speaking out. And there are many times in our lives where we have to weigh the consequences and decide – do I fire off this email implicating my soon-to-be former employer crashed his motorcycle while riding around with a young woman who is not his wife – or do I seethe in silence?
When-oh-when is it time to burn that bridge, air the dirty laundry, mount that defense and do what cannot be undone – by pressing the send button?
Well, lucky you have me here, because I’m going to tell you.
The rules for when it is appropriate to write that letter, send that email, leave that harsh Facebook comment, @-Tweet that rude tweet ever or post that nasty blog post.
SEND … If this sober look on what happened to you will actually help others.
Example: When actress Catherine Zeta-Jones got ahead of the press and disclosed she was going into the hospital for treatment for her Bipolar Disorder.
DON’T SEND … If you’re not sober when you decide to do this.
SEND … If the bomb you drop will actually distract people from the bigger bomb in your life.
Example: Former First Lady Hillary Clinton calling out the “vast right wing conspiracy” after her husband President Bill Clinton was mired in that whole “couldn’t keep it in the pants” controversy. Nothing like pointing out how no matter how bad it was that your husband cheated on you, the other guy was worse, because he wasted a ton of taxpayer dollars on investigating intern buggery.
DON’T SEND … If the bomb you drop isn’t big enough to take out your target completely – especially if they are a strong target sitting on some bomb-worthy revelations about you as well.
Example: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling out former President Clinton for his skirt chasing only for it to be revealed that Gingrich was in the middle of a lengthy affair with the woman who is currently wife No. 3.