Let’s take a short walk down memory lane. Not long ago, on January 2, 2016, a small group of armed protesters seized an unoccupied federal building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located in a relatively isolated area in eastern Oregon, and the occupied building itself was far from any populated area. The protests were related to a long-running land dispute between the federal government and Steve and Dwight Hammond — a dispute that culminated in a vindictive prosecution against the Hammonds, under the federal Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, for two “burns” that caused a trifling amount of damage (less than $1,000) to public lands.
The occupation created a media firestorm.