Willie McNabb, who unwittingly shot to viral fame after tweeting about feral hogs, spoke out for the first time since his tweet became a meme (and the best thing on the internet this week. Sorry, ” green-shirt guy“).
In a statement to journalist Yashar Ali, McNabb explains his background, his thoughts about gun control, and, yes, the feral hogs that have trampled through his two acres of land.
The gun-control debate kicked off following the two mass shootings this past weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured.
An online discussion began when musician Jason Isbell tweeted, on Sunday, saying, “If you’re on here arguing the definition of ‘assault weapon’ today you are part of the problem. You know what an assault weapon is, and you know you don’t need one.”
McNabb responded to Isbell’s tweet: “Legit question for rural Americans – How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?”
McNabb explains that he grew up in rural North Carolina, where hunting for food was part of his way of life; and how he learned how to handle a shotgun at age 10. After college, he relocated to Arkansas and eventually moved in to a house with two acres of land.
That’s when he first encountered the hogs, according to Ali’s newsletter:
“One spring day, when the oldest was no more than 5, the kids were playing in our yard. My wife yelled out to me that there were ‘pigs’ in the yard. The first thing I did was go to my safe and get my hunting rifle, a .270 Remington with a three-shell clip plus one in the chamber. I ran out onto my back porch, and there were hogs everywhere — all of them running wild over my two-acre yard. As my wife frantically tried to protect our kids, I picked the safest targets and started shooting. I killed three quickly. This all happened within three to five minutes. My kids were shaken but safe. My wife and I were shocked, to say the least. I collected the dead hogs and took them to a co-worker for processing.”
Neighbors and friends later told him that, “During heavy rains, the water can rise in the low-lying areas and push the herds to higher ground.” They also said that they used AR and AK-style guns to keep the hogs at bay.
McNabb says he has never owned a military-style assault rifle, but “after the experience I went through, it didn’t seem completely unreasonable.”
Over the years, the wild pigs have entered his yard at least three more times he explained. His family has never been hurt during the incidents.
“So, no, I do not have packs of murderous feral hogs in my yard every day,” McNabb said. “But I know people who have farms and timberland that this is an issue for. There are numerous reports by news outlets and governmental agencies documenting this.”
McNabb initially didn’t want to wade into the gun control debate and turned out a slew of interview requests.
“I’m not the avid outdoorsman I was when I was younger, but I do believe in my right to protect my home and my family,” he wrote in his statement, according to Ali. “I’m for common-sense gun laws, including background checks, closing gun-show loopholes, and mental health requirements. I’m willing to look at anything that will help this carnage stop.”
As for the feral hogs, he said he’s going to reach out to the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force to work on finding a solution to the issue.