A new way to catfish, and tragedy in Baghdad

Remember when being “catfished” meant that you were the victim of an online seduction hoax?

If you don’t, just ask Manti Te’o about it.

Well, forget that MTV-like kerfuffle, because thanks to one diabolical Nashville Predators fan, the term has taken on a whole new meaning.

In case you didn’t hear this story, for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, a hockey devotee named Jake Waddell, of Ohio, decided to:

  • Purchase a catfish
  • Refrigerate it to keep it from rotting
  • Transport it to Pittsburgh from Ohio
  • Flatten it with his truck to reduce its size
  • Store it in between two layers of underwear to gain entry with it into the arena
  • Wait for his opportunity to be near the glass surrounding the ice
  • Throw catfish

Catfish iceThrowing catfish onto the ice is a common practice at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. If you think it’s weird, note that in Detroit, they throw octopi.

The fan was then promptly ejected and charged with three misdemeanors.

But the conviction and dedication that this fan showed to complete his scheme is definitely worthy of rebranding the term “catfishing.” Especially when it’ previously accepted definition was pretty dumb to begin with. Bravo sir.

But let’s move from Nashville to Baghdad. The two epicenters of country music.

While everyone is still grieving and mourning the Manchester terrorist attacks, it’s easy to forget that terrorist attacks happen with even greater frequency in the East than the West. In the past several days alone, terrorist attacks by ISIS have caused double digit casualties in Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The attack in Baghdad on Tuesday occurred at a popular ice cream shop, where parents with their kids often visit, especially during Ramadan to break their fast. More than 30 people were killed.

Baghdad ice cream

This tragedy has barely been mentioned in the U.S., even though, like Manchester, it resulted in the death of innocent children who were just doing things that kids like to do. Instead of going to a pop concert, they were eating ice cream.

Now I’m not going to judge anyone for the fact that one attack received publicity over another, or scrutinize why that happens in the first place, I just wanted to make sure that people who didn’t get the chance to hear about it are now aware.

Speaking of Manchester, Ariana Grande has responded to terror in a big way, first posting an inspiring message on social media, and then announcing that she will beAriana Grande returning to the city this Sunday alongside Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Usher and more for a benefit concert for the victims’ families.

We will never stop terror. But we we can do is show that it will cause us to live in fear.

When terror happens, we come back with even greater kindness than we showed before the attack.

Terrorists may accomplish their goal of ending lives, but they will never achieve their desire of breaking us down as human beings.

And more importantly, they will never stop us from living in a world where a man can freely walk into a hockey arena and toss a catfish onto the ice.

Heroes live in Portland

Donald Trump did not invent bigotry. He did not create xenophobia. Or discrimination.

But what has been highly apparent during his rise is how he has emboldened people who do participate in these nefarious behaviors. By calling to make “America Great Again” and giving no single specific strategy about what exactly that means – he’s letting his supporters interpret it however they want.

And to many of our nation’s most despicable people, the time when America was at its “greatest” was when all laws and institutions catered directly for the white majority, while those outside of that group were basically left to fend for themselves.

Whether you like it or not, America is changing. It’s becoming more diverse. And that has always been our basis, ever since its founding nearly 250 years ago.

We are a nation of immigrants.

A girl leaves a message at a makeshift memorial for two men who were killed on a commuter train while trying to stop another man from harassing two young women who appeared to be Muslim, in Portland

And right now, those immigrants — especially those from Muslim-majority countries — are feeling extremely scared and vulnerable.

Are Muslim-Americans less protected under law than they were before Trump took office? No.

But do they harbor more fear walking down the street? Taking the train? Just entering a room, not knowing whose inside of it and what reaction they are going to get? Of course.

And this environment, fueled by Trump’s words and actions,, is what will be the man’s lasting legacy.

We do not know if yet if this is what directly led to what happened in Portland last week. In case you were totally consumed with your barbecues or your weekend getaway, three men rushed to the aid of two women who were being accosted with anti-Muslim insults.

Two of them were killed.

The three men — the last of whom is expected to live despite taking a knife slash to the neck — are being hailed as heroes.

And they are. Standing up to hate is what makes us heroic. We can all do it in our own way. These three men saw it before there eyes, and they intervened. Two paid the ultimate sacrifice. Their names are Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best.

Trump condemned the attack on Twitter … two days later.

After last week’s cowardly attack in Manchester, it’s easy for even the most tolerant of humans to become just a fraction of a bit more suspicious of people of Muslim faith.

But that’s what we have to fight against. What we have to remember is that evil and terror has no faith or creed. It is bound in nothing but pure hate and disillusion. And that we are all in this together.

Three people in Portland didn’t forget that.

Will you?