So it turns out the WCB hostage-taker was a really "nice guy", according to the people he lived with, but he had this habit of blaming other people for all his problems. "[I] had to resort to street drugs." Sure you did, buddy: everybody who has a bum knee does that, right? If there is one life lesson I would choose to stress to young acquaintances, it might be this: you will meet many people who fit this description, and none of them are actually "nice guys." Their list of "I had to"s only gets bigger and bigger. My advice: get the had-tas out of your head and your life.
The "nice guy" at the centre of this story is, puzzlingly, also described as "Always high-strung and occasionally volatile", which is journalism code for what would otherwise be described as "a complete prick". Why the contradiction? I'm guessing that some of his acquaintances may have made comments along the lines of "Well, he was always real nice to me, but if I had to bet on it I would probably guess he wasn't so nice to his ex-wife or his caseworkers." When somebody's got a case of the had-tas, you stay in their good books until the second you don't, and suddenly you've got a problem.
Is sympathy advisable? Mr. Clayton was treated sympathetically by the cops before, when he tied up downtown traffic for much of a day with a suicide threat; he has apparently been handled sympathetically enough by the government to qualify for subsidized housing with assisted-living caregivers. Thank God no innocent people are dead today because the sympathy that the less fortunate I-cans of this world deserve was spent on a had-ta.