The Miami Herald used the headline "George Zimmerman to sell autographs to pay expenses," to describe the policy of the New George Zimmerman Defense Fund of sending signed Thank You Cards to individuals who donate.
For those who look for opportunities to criticize George, we understand that the idea of sending Thank You Cards might be seen as an attempt to sell signatures to gain donations. To those who wish to criticize and ridicule, go right ahead. However, that is not George's intent. It is presumptuous to assume that George's signature is a valuable enough commodity to be an effective motivator for people to donate. Rather, what we hope motivates people is the ever increasingly undeniable conclusion that George is simply not guilty. He only did what he had to do to protect himself from an attack by an unknown assailant; a young man who broke George's nose, bloodying it, and then got him on the ground and smashed his head into concrete, causing more injury.
George has expressed a desire since the beginning of this ordeal to thank those who have supported him, not just financially, but also those who have offered their kind words and prayers, and he has wanted to send Thank You Cards for some time. The defense team has had reservations about allowing it -- partly because we anticipated it would be interpreted in this way. Now the time has come to stop acting like George is the person portrayed by those who have manipulated the facts and the media, and to be true to the innocent person George is.
If the publicity surrounding the Thank You Cards raises people's awareness of George's need for the funds to hire experts and investigators to present the truth at his trial, and results in more donations to the Defense Fund, the support is welcome. George Zimmerman is innocent and should never have been charged, and there is nothing inappropriate about raising money to fund the defense of an innocent man.
George has been the target of a coordinated public relations attack designed to create the false impression that George shot Trayvon Martin because of racial bias, instead of self-defense -- a public relations campaign perpetrated with the intent to manipulate the media and prejudice the citizens of this country against George through misinformation and emotional appeals. If a voice is raised with concern over profiteering, it should be tempered by two premises. Firstly, George and his family have been devastated by this event and left broke and displaced from their homes. That is a tragedy that should not be visited upon anyone who has yet to be convicted of a crime. It is the ultimate injustice when it is perpetrated on an innocent man. Secondly, if profiteering is a concern, that analysis should begin with those who crafted the misinformation blitz and racially charged rhetoric, shouted with reckless disregard for the truth, the result of which has been significant financial gain, not ruin. We speak not of the Martin family, who have suffered the tragedy of losing a son; we speak of the family's handlers and attorneys.