On this day, March 17, in 2003, Dwight Watson drove a tractor he said was full of explosives into a pond on the National Mall, bringing much of downtown D.C. to a standstill for two days.
Watson, a fifth-generation tobacco farmer from Whitakers, N.C., said he wanted to bring attention to the plight of farmers whose livelihoods were in peril because of government policies. He also wanted to warn the public about the danger of pesticides.
Watson, a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, demanded to talk with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and have the 82nd Airborne parachute onto the Mall. His demands were denied.
Watson surrendered after 47 hours. He was armed with nothing more than bug spray.
He was found guilty and sentenced to a six-year prison term.
- Scott McCabe