|I just think that to succed as he did, in spite of the obstacles he faced in his life, requires tremendous character.
Unfortunately, I think you're projecting something onto the fellow that's really just a romantic notion, well-intentioned as it may be.
My experience with Bill Johnson's character is that, when I was a young teen, I was knocked out of my skis on Mt. Hood by two flying 50lb bags of salt. It was a violent impact, but I was only struck in the lower body and so although I hit the deck headfirst (since my boots were up above me somewhere) I was just bruised and shaken up--and my equipment was strewn down the hill, etc. We were standing in a group of about eight, so it could have been worse.
Someone came skiing up, sideslipped past us for a moment, and opined that the bags "just started sliding on their own." He looked at me, saw that I was conscious, and took off.
My coach skiied up two seconds later and asked if the stranger had apologized or anything. We said "no, why would he?" He told us that was BJ, and that he (coach) was at the top watching Bill try to carry three 50lb-ers over to salt the course. He was showing off, and OOPS he dropped two of them. The bowling-for-me
scene quickly followed.
So to Bill's character; Bill gave no apology, no expression of remorse, no acknowledgement of error--or even of him having any connection to the carnage he just caused. He didn't even pause long enough to be certain
no-one was really hurt--he just basically ducked any blame and pulled a hit-and-run. My hero.
I certainly don't wish him his current misfortunes. The above was a minor incident and has nothing to do with him "deserving it", or karma or anything silly like that. The condition the guy finds himself in now seems very sad, and it would be best if no-one had to experience such a thing anywhere, ever.
But let's not wax poetic about our fantasies of the man's diamond-in-the-rough character. He's had a lot of troubles--some of them doubtless not his fault, and some of which he created himself. That's reality. Reality's not inspirational, and neither is "up close and personal" BJ.