After Jem and Scout are so viciously attacked, Atticus tells Heck Tate that Bob Ewell was "out of his mind" to do such a thing. Tate disagrees. He sees Ewell as a man who was totally depraved:
[Ewell] wasn't crazy, mean as hell. Low-down skunk with enough liquor in him to make him brave enough to kill children. He'd never have met you face to face . . . . He had guts enough to pester a poor colored woman, he had guts enough to pester Judge Taylor when he thought the house was empty, so do you think he'da met you to your face in daylight?
According to Heck Tate, Bob Ewell was a vicious coward who was worthless as a human being:
Mr. Finch, there's just some kind of men you have to shoot before you can say hidy to 'em. Even then, they ain't worth the bullet it takes to shoot 'em. Ewell 'as one of 'em.
Sheriff Tate was an excellent judge of character.