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Despite the physical struggles she faces as a result of the shooting, Jackie says she forgives her attackers. "I think I would be nuts if I hadn't forgave them," she says. "I forgave them immediately so I could get on with my life."

The same night Jackie was shot, police arrested and charged Craig and Josh with attempted murder. Both teens were convicted and sent to prison. Two years after the shooting, Jackie visited Craig in prison to find out why he had shot her and to let him know she forgave him. "He had so much guilt," she says. "I reached across the table, and I offered him my hand. He couldn't look me in the eye. Then about a minute or two [later], he had taken my hand and all the while he cried."

Craig, who is serving an 80-year sentence, says he was initially terrified when he heard Jackie was coming to visit. He says he expected screaming and was surprised to find forgiveness instead. "For my 16 years when I was out there before this happened … I didn't have a lot of affection shown towards me, so I didn't know how to deal with that," Craig says. "When Jackie said that she forgave me, basically it just blew my mind and my whole understanding. I had no idea how to react to something of that magnitude."

Although Craig says he hasn't forgiven himself, he says Jackie's unconditional love has given him hope. "When Jackie forgave me, I was able to see that there is a future, and I can strive to be a better person and reach that future," he says.
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FROM: Why I Forgave the Man Who Shot Me
Published on January 01, 2006

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