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Earlier today we were notified by several previously reliable sources that infamous Worcester panhandler Derrick Thomas passed away Monday night. These sources included police officers and healthcare workers who were the primary sources relaying critical information to us during the police standoff with Jorge Zambrano, which enabled us to be the first news outlet to report his death. We trusted our sources, but it turned out to be untrue.
For what it is worth we are told by people who have reached out to us to clarify this story that he did indeed fall, hit his head, and had a brain bleed. He was previously picked up for being extremely intoxicated and was brought to UMass hospital. They did a brain scan on him there and let him go. He then crossed the bridge into Shrewsbury, saw something that spooked him, started to run, fell and his his head, and has a “subdural hematoma” as a result. He is indeed in the ICU on a mechanical ventilator. His next of kin was notified and he has been in the hospital for several days.
Bottom line is, we got the most important part wrong and we own it. Shit happens when you break news on the regular. You trust your sources and when they get the information you man up and admit it. So that’s what we’re doing. You will never, ever, ever see the Turtlegram do anything like this. We will write an entire blog letting the world know we got it wrong. They’ll put a paragraph on page B14 that no one will see.
Anyway, the premise of the blog remains the same – panhandlers like Derrick Thomas don’t need your money. They need help. Give them a blanket or some food if you’re feeling charitable. But don’t give them a dollar. There’s a reason every intersection in Worcester is overflowing with sign guys – because they know morons will give them money. That’s why we wrote the blog. Not to shame him, or shit on a guy we thought was dead. We wrote it to let people know that if they’re giving money to panhandlers, they’re complicit in the panhandler’s demise.
But apparently some people didn’t read it that way:
Hey Bob, what did you do to help him out? Oh yea, nothing. Because at the end of the day Derrick Thomas is a grown ass man who can’t be forced to go into rehab. He can do what he wants. But the only thing we can do to help him is stop giving him money to feed his vices. Pretty simple concept really.
But suppose he was actually dead – how is it insensitive to report that? Oh that’s right, it wouldn’t be. You just wanted to have your moment to be self-righteous. Newsflash – the news is almost entirely comprised of stories about people dying. Whether it be civil war in Syria, a random shooting in Brockton, cops killing an “unarmed innocent” civilian, a kid being left in a sweltering hot car, or a MLB pitcher dying in a boating accident. When people die it often becomes news. But please, tell us more about how low we are. If you wanna shit on us for getting it wrong then more power to you. But all these comments came well before that, so you can go ahead and get over yourselves, because you consume the news just like everyone else does.
Derrick Thomas is just one of many out there in his position. It’s tragic because at one point I’m sure he was just a regular guy. We don’t have a solution for this because there really is no solution. But we just have a problem with people tying up valuable emergency resources on a daily basis and getting millions of dollars worth of healthcare without paying a dime. Fucked up right? I know the butthurts would like us to ignore news like this because it hurts people’s feelings, but that’s not what we do here. And we will never, ever, ever stop. Don’t worry though, the Huffington Post will always be there for you if you feel like you need a safe space.
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