As the gun control discussion runs in the US in the wake of a weekend of destructive mass shootings, calls for an assault weapons ban have resurfaced. While this has led many Americans to cite their second alteration rights, one man in Arkansas has asked an easy question: “How do I kill the 30-50 wild hogs that run into my garden within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?”
It all started when Willam McNabb, who recognizes as a libertarian, waded into a dispute about assault weapons (high-powered rifles were reportedly used by the gunmen in both El Paso and Dayton).
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?
— William McNabb (@WillieMcNabb) August 4, 2019
His question quickly went viral and has motivated countless memes. But, if the image of 30-50 wild hogs roaming around a backyard looks surreal to you, it may be because you don’t be in a rural part of the American south, where huge groups of wild hogs are, according to one specialist the Guardian spoke to, “actually a huge difficulty”.
This hasn’t ended McNabb’s response from being widely taunted on Twitter due to the image it evokes, however.
thinking about the emotional toll of regularly using a machine gun to kill 30-50 feral hogs that illegally enter your property within 3-5 minutes of seeing your children pic.twitter.com/Y7fXIfQ083
— pierre menard (@PierreMenard) August 5, 2019
sorry boss can’t come in. 30-50 feral hogs came running into my yard again. yeah. about 3-5 mins. where my children play. yeah. see you tomorrow
— beth mccoll (@imteddybless) August 5, 2019
The wild Pig has also been woven into already popular meme formats, and song lyrics:
🔘 30-50 Feral Hogs
🔘 Small kids in a yard
— dirk diggler (@TakeForGrantd) August 5, 2019
take me down to the paradise city
where the hogs are feral and there’s 30-50
— fuck the sun #jft96 (@thedanstringer) August 5, 2019
me: guys what the fuck is this whole feral hog thing idgi
me 30-50 seconds later: cut my life into pieces / these are my feral hogs
— Amanda Richards (@amandakater) August 6, 2019
Meanwhile, some people have just appreciated the small moment of levity that the time has provided:
me, opening twitter: I wonder what surreal thing we’ve latched onto today to self-medicate from the horrors of observing the greatest crises of the anthropocene era
twitter: thirty to fifty feral hogs
me: ah, good, thank you.
— Lindsay 🔪 AniRevo A100 (@neomeruru) August 5, 2019
Evan Wood, an editor-in-chief for Missouri Life magazine who has reported hog problems in his state, said the Guardian: “They are a huge problem, both on private lands and public properties. They live in groups (called sounders) of up to 60 pigs. They are very dangerous for farmers because when they attack, they upturn the ground to get things out.”
According to surveys from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), wild pigs cause $1.5bn in damage nationwide each year. Meanwhile, the Missouri Department of Conservation has announced feral hogs “invasive bugs that need to be eliminated from Missouri” that can “destroy a crop field in a single night”.
Does this mean Americans should have access to high-powered rifles to deal with the difficulty, as McNabb seems to suggest?
Wood says no. “If you go after them with a gun your possibilities of taking all of them at once are pretty much nil, even if there are only like 10 of them,” he says. “So the ones that survive often scatter, and because of how quickly they can produce, that creates more groups and forces new land. Plus a lot of times they’ll end up coming back.”