Outside the Outbreak: States prepare for rallies, Church condemns violence

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States declare emergencies, close capitols ahead of rallies

A Utah National Guardsman stands in front of the Utah State Capitol Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Salt Lake City. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests at the nation’s Capitol and all 50 state capitol buildings beginning this weekend. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Responding to warnings of potentially violent demonstrations, governors across the nation are calling out National Guard troops, declaring states of emergency and closing their capitols to the public ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Though details remain murky, demonstrations are expected at state capitols beginning Jan. 17 and leading up to Biden’s succession of President Donald Trump on Jan. 20. State officials hope to avoid the type of violence that occurred Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving a Capitol Police officer and four others dead.

Governors in Maryland, New Mexico and Utah all declared states of emergency ahead of potential demonstrations. Fencing was installed in a wide radius around the New Mexico Capitol. Utah’s order allows authorities to close the Capitol grounds through next Thursday, the day after Biden’s inauguration.

“We respect the right of Utah residents to peaceably assemble as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, said in a statement. “But we draw the line at threats to physical safety or to the Utah Capitol building. No violence of any kind will be tolerated.”

Utah activist who filmed fatal Capitol shooting released

John Sullivan, founder of Insurgence USA, was arrested Jan. 14 and charged with civil disorder, violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building or grounds. (Preston Crawley)

A Utah activist who filmed the fatal shooting of a Trump supporter during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will be released on house arrest, a federal judge ruled Jan. 15.

John Sullivan, 26, a self-described journalist and liberal activist, was arrested Jan. 14 and charged with civil disorder, violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building or grounds.

He made his initial court appearance Friday via video conference where he was released on multiple conditions of release, including remaining at his home when he isn’t going to work, religious services or court appearances.

Church leaders condemn violence and lawless behavior

Church leaders condemned violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on Jan. 15 condemning violence and urging members to obey, honor and sustain the law.

“With great concern we observe the political and cultural divisions in the United States and around the world. We condemn violence and lawless behavior, including the recent violence in Washington, D.C. and any suggestion of further violence. While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics, we remind our members—whatever their individual political views—to be united in our commitment to the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His teachings. As His followers, we should treat one another and all of God’s children with respect, dignity, and love. No political or other affiliation should supersede that covenant and sacred responsibility.

We urge all people to remember the precious and fragile nature of freedom and peace. As citizens of the United States look ahead to the Inauguration of a new President, we urge our members to honor democratic institutions and processes, and to obey, honor, and sustain the law.”

Urban Hire: Meyer returns to sidelines with NFL’s Jaguars

FILE – Ohio State NCAA college football head coach Urban Meyer answers questions during a news conference announcing his retirement in Columbus, Ohio, in this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, file photo. A person familiar with the search says Urban Meyer and the Jacksonville Jaguars are working toward finalizing a deal to make him the team’s next head coach. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, because a formal agreement was not yet in place. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Urban Meyer has won everywhere he’s coached. Small colleges. Big-time programs. He’s been a difference maker at each stop during his storied career.

He’s ready to try something new: the NFL.

Meyer agreed to become head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the sidelines after a two-year absence that followed another health scare.

The 56-year-old Meyer was team owner Shad Khan’s top target for weeks, maybe even months, and the deal was signed shortly after their third and final meeting in seven days. They met last Friday on Khan’s yacht in Miami, again Wednesday and once more at the facility Thursday.

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