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It is bad enough that a man died young and that another man's life has been shattered; it is worse if we draw the wrong morals from the story.

In my view, both Zimmerman and Martin made bad choices on a dark and rainy night.

We need to judge them both as justly as we can, forgiving their sins and praying for them with love.

Zimmerman overstepped the bounds of his role as a volunteer neighborhood watchman. His zeal to protect his neighbor's property is commendable. His resentment at the assault on his neighbors by young thugs is understandable. His suspicions about Martin's dress and behavior were not wholly unfounded. His decision to get out of the car, in hindsight, is lamentable. Once the fight began and he was injured, his decision to use his gun to stop the fight was legal.

Martin was a drug user. He had been suspended from school for possession of marijuana. Zimmerman thought Martin was high on drugs, and the toxicology report seems to confirm that suspicion. He could have gone straight home after noticing that Zimmerman was following him, but instead he circled Zimmerman's car and later broke his nose, knocked him to the ground, beat his head on the sidewalk, and continued to pummel him from above. These were not the actions of a good man and cannot be justified by anything Zimmerman did.

Zimmerman's choices set up the confrontation. Martin's choices made it turn violent.

We need to condemn what is contemptible in both men and forgive what needs forgiveness in both men.

I pray for the repose of Martin's soul. I pray for Zimmerman's peace of mind. I pray for the nation, that we may repent of our own sins and not increase the evil that was done by inciting new acts of evildoing among our citizens.