What you missed in Columbus for Jan. 19

Andy Downing
adowning@columbusalive.com
John Drury, aka "The Dancing Trucker," at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday

In the run up to expected far-right protests at the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday, much of Downtown was boarded up, with some businesses telling employees to avoid the area in the week leading to Jan. 17, as well as in the days that followed. The precautions followed FBI warnings of far-right violence targeted at statehouses around the country, with planned protests taking place eleven days after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol with the aim of overturning the results of the election, killing five in the process.

Themost recent round of protests fizzled, with reporters outnumbering protesters in some locales.Here in Columbus,“The Dancing Trucker” garnered the most attention on social media, while the protest attracted a small crowd of armed demonstrators, as well as various counter-demonstrators, with theDispatch pegging the crowd around 50. (The protest largely thinned out andevaporated before the Cleveland Browns kicked off against the Kansas City Chiefs, a playoff game the team lost in heartbreaking fashion.) 

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As expected, star Ohio State quarterbackJustin Fields declared for the NFL draft, where he will now compete for a top pick. (Nearly every mock draft has Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence going No. 1 overall, with Fields generally going to either the New York Jets at No. 2 or the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3.) In a bit of a surprise, whoever takes over for Fields as QB at OSU next season will have a loaded wide receiver position, with word that WR Chris Olave, who was pegged as a first round pick,will return for his senior year.

Here’s a full rundown of Buckeye players who have declared for the draft, via theDispatch.

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In national news, music producer Phil Spector, who was convicted for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson,died in prison at age 81. Often hailed for his trademark “wall of sound” production, Spector leaves behind a legacy of horrifying, unchecked abuse, much of it directed at ex-wife Ronnie Spector. In one instance,he promised to display her dead body in a gold, glass-lidded coffin should she ever leave him.

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Speaking of toxic personas, today is officially the last full day of Donald Trump’s presidency, which is ending amid fears of far-right extremist violence, an unchecked pandemic and a bungled vaccine rollout.The Guardian has a solid rundown of not only the carnage Trump has left in his wake, but of the potential silver lining his presidency exposed, writing:

By tapping America’s id, the president inadvertently did it a favor by bringing all its internal tensions and tormented histories to the surface, making them far harder to deny. Arisha Hatch, vice-president of the activist group Color of Change, said: “Trump’s four years in office led to a huge degree of suffering but it will also be remembered as a time of racial reckoning, a time when racial justice finally became a majoritarian issue.

“Trump will be remembered for exposing the flaws in our democracy that have, for decades, kept us from achieving racial equity. Trump was a symptom of many problems, not the cause.”