The Martin and Zimmerman families are outstanding and proud families. Both have suffered terrible and needless loss in the death of sons Traylon Martin and now the hounding to death of son George Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman worked and studied hard to fulfill his dream of becoming a policeman. One of his heroes was a highly respected policeman friend who recommended that George prepare to be a policeman by buying a gun. He purchased a pistol and trained frequently at a gun range in the responsible use of that gun. He studied many other aspects of law enforcement. He also volunteered to be a Neighborhood Watch Volunteer. He had a record of being helpful to the many victims of crime in the Gated Community area.

On the rainy night of the tragedy he was returning from shopping when he say a hooded African/ American man walking slowly in what he though was a suspicious manner. He called to inform the police on a non-emergency line. They took his information and then advised him that it was not necessary for him to follow the suspect. George then made a terrible mistake and got out of his vehicle and did follow.

We now know from court testimony that Trayvon was visiting his father in nearby residence. He was retuning from shopping with can of tea and a snack. We know that he was on the telephone with a young lady. He told her he was being followed by a suspicious man he referred to as a “Cracker” and was going to respond. . That proved a fatal mistake. He should have called 911 and hurried home.

One of them started the confrontation. Unfortunately we have only George’s version. At the trial there was evidence that the larger and much more athletic Traylon punched George in the face and broke his nose as he knocked him to the grass. At the trial both defense and later prosecution agreed that Trayvon was on top and that he was slamming George’s head against a cement side walk. George was screaming for help. George had no way of knowing if Trayvon was armed. Getting no response for his screams for help and fearing for his life George fired a single shot from a full magazine.

Now comes the very troublesome trial that makes this a national misfortune. At the beginning the local police chief was convinced that George had acted in self defense as did the local persecutor. At that point people not directly involved and not knowing the facts declared that this was a racial hatred case and demanded that George be prosecuted .The Republican Governor responded by appointing a special prosecutor .The presiding judge ruled that race was not at issue. After a long trial of fierce clashes of top Prosecuting and Defense lawyers the 6 member all women sequestered jury found George not guilty of any crime.

That verdict did not please Jessie Jackson. He denounced the all woman jury for not being blacker. He has demanded a Federal Civil Rights Investigation. The verdict has also infuriated Commentator Al Sharpton who demanded and got national public racial protests. He is remember for the Tawana Brawley trial many years ago when he proclaimed racial hate when a young black girl he represented to escape punishment from her father lied when she testified that she was raped by six white men. .

Richard Cohen added balance to the discussion in his July 16, 2013 column
“Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problems and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males”? President Obama said the same thing in an excellent testimony to his own recognition of the problem of troubled young black males.

George Zimmerman like everyone else has the right to self defense and every American is presumed innocent until proven guilt. He was charged and tried and declared not guilty by a jury of his peers. There is no reason for him to be called “the most hated man in America.”

The FBI has for many months have been investigating George to determine if there is evidence that he hated blacks. They should also investigate Trayvon to see if his on the phone characterizing George as a “Cracker” indicates any history of hatred of whites. They should also investigate to determine where Trayvon got the illegal drugs the residue of which were discovered in his autopsy and determine if these two factors may have caused him to start the fight and punch George in the face..

The Defense Council has said with respect to race in this case if Traylon was white there would have been no public attention.

George does not show emotion as witness his stone face response to the not guilty verdict. However if George were my parishioner I would urge him to find a way to tell the Martin Family how terribly sorry he is that he unintentionally killed their son and ask their forgiveness. We do know that this week he came out of seclusion to help remove a family from their overturned car.

Rev Bernard F. Hillenbrand

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