Moral outrage is the last thing a city trying to decipher the meaning of traumatic events like the Eaton Centre shooting needs from its political leaders.
But there was plenty of indignation over revelations last week that the lone accused in that horror, Christopher Husbands, was employed in an after-school program with the Parks and Rec department until just a few weeks before the shooting.
The mayor was "very disturbed" by the information. City manager Joe Pennachetti described the news as "deeply troubling." Parks head Jim Hart vowed to get to the bottom of the problem.
Defending an alleged perpetrator of a brazen daylight shooting is a perilous move for politicos - at least if they want to keep their jobs. But let's not confuse raw emotion with the truth. Some who jumped into the orgy of shock and horror included a few progressives who should know better - though they did choose their words more carefully.
Is it worth noting that Husbands hasn't been convicted of anything, or does "innocent until proven guilty" not apply here? No. Let's not let that fact get in the way of a little political opportunism.
Not that we should feel sorry for Husbands. Certainly, few do - least of all the mayor, who in the wake of the Husbands job outcry let loose that he thinks all city employees should undergo criminal background checks.
Rob Ford shouldn't talk, of course. His rap sheet isn't exactly squeaky clean, and unlike Husbands, he's had all the advantages a millionaire daddy can afford, including summer football camps south of the border.
Yes, it's true Husbands was supposed to be under house arrest on a sexual assault charge while he was in the city's employ, which we'll get to in a minute.
But the fact that he had a job - actually, he's held a few - doesn't jibe with the portrait some want to paint of hardened thug from the projects.
Before his Parks and Rec gig, Husbands worked at the Toronto Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club - for a few years running, in fact - and as a restaurant kitchen assistant.
Go figure. Public enemy number one had a job. And a LinkedIn profile that says he was taking a business management course at George Brown College and was expected to graduate in April of this year. It lists his interests as "getting into the workforce."
Not exactly the rap sheet of your typical gangbanger. If you didn't know better, you might think young master Husbands was a stand-up guy, despite the challenges of growing up in Regent Park, where the allure of gangs and drugs is pervasive.
But back to that sexual assault charge muddying the waters, the one that seemingly got Husbands fired by Parks and Rec after he failed to provide the needed police background check.
The city has a policy on hiring people with criminal records. Some discretion is built into the system, so, for example, a pot possession conviction for a kid from a disadvantaged neighbourhood can be overlooked. There are good reasons for that. Getting troubled kids into jobs is an important step out of poverty.
But there's no latitude when it comes to violent crimes. Apparently, in Husbands's case a sexual assault charge was enough to exclude him from employment, even though he had yet to be tried on the matter.
The details of the November 2010 incident that led to his arrest on that charge are protected by a publication ban. What we know is that Husbands entered a plea of not guilty. And the Crown elected to proceed summarily instead of by indictment, the latter being the route taken in the most serious sexual assault cases.
Court documents reveal that Husbands was granted bail about two weeks after he was charged, but the conditions imposed on his release were unusually strict.
He was to remain in the confines of the St. Clair East apartment listed as the residence of one of his two sureties "at all times, seven days a week." He could leave only to go to school or in the direct company of one of his sureties. He wasn't allowed to carry a cellphone or pager. The bail conditions mention nothing about work.
It's unclear how Husbands supported himself. Or what precipitated his being bound and gagged and left for dead with multiple stab wounds in February 2012 in a Gerrard East apartment listed as the address of the second of his sureties.
Husbands, from some of the facts now known, seemed headed in the right direction before June 2's wrong turn brought him face to face with Ahmed Hassan. Was it payback for the Gerrard stabbing, in which Hassan was reportedly involved? Police aren't getting into his alleged motive, except to say it was "personal."
Is it possible Husbands was acting in self-defence?
For Husbands, life has just gotten more complicated. On June 11, the second of his two alleged targets died in hospital from gunshot wounds, so he now faces a second murder charge along with five of attempted murder for his unintended victims.
For the cops, too, the death of the second victim, Nixon Nirmalendran, is bad news. Presumably, he would have been a key Crown witness giving important testimony against Husbands in the shooting death of Hassan.
Stories that end in gun violence are seldom cut-and-dried. You'd hardly know that, though, from all the moralizing.