This week′s episode of the National Geographic series, Doomsday Preppers, was We Are the Marauders. If you only watch one episode of this series on NatGeo TV, this is the one to see! The reason being that it gives us two opposite sides of what the prepper movement is all about. We have Tyler from Tacoma, Washington, who is organizing a gang of prepper-looters to take what they need and want from others after martial law is declared. In Costa Rica, we revisit Kevin, who moved his family there from Kansas last season and watch as he builds an aquaponics system to raise tilapia along with vegetables and chickens. Kevin works with his neighbors and plans on cooperation getting him through the apocalypse. With the prepper movement growing across America, folks need to decide which path to take.

doomsday preppers we are the marauders
Tyler in Tacoma, Washington builds himself a suit of armor out of scraps to be better ′suited′ for marauding a post-collapse America. Image Credit: National Geographic.

Some recent news articles show that prepping is catching on. There are now a number of market expos where preppers gather to buy the latest in gear and supplies. Another recent article tells us that the demand for armored vehicles has doubled the past three years. More and more people are upgrading their luxury sedans and SUVs with ballistic armor and glass, as well as some ′James Bond′ like defensive systems. Doomsday preppers are not just a bunch of hicks in the stocks anymore. A recent poll shows that 80% have college degrees and 20% have post-graduate degrees. While most are not concerned about Obama declaring martial law any time soon, the majority of the prepper movement is concerned about another economic downturn that could get ugly. Even Lou Dobbs voiced his fear of civil unrest to Bill O′Reilly last Friday on Fox News.

So first, we have Tyler from Tacoma. Along with his wife and cousin, they are organizing a gang of marauders to steal from other preppers. Now, as bad as this sounds, I should like to point out that Tyler is stockpiling food and water himself on his 15-acre farm to last six months. He has also been studying how to do surgery, such cesarean procedures, to keep his family alive and well after a societal collapse. But if things get rough, he intends to cross the line and become a looter. His group practices raiding homes in the dark of night to steal whatever they can find.

His wife, who is very pregnant with their third child, is somewhat anxious about the possibility of her husband operating on her. But Tyler is confident that if need be, he can deliver his new baby himself, with a little help from his cousin, Chris. Meanwhile, the two work on building a suit of armor made from scrap metal. Tyler adds some homemade ballistic plates he devised from wrapping ordinary bathroom tiles in marine-grade sheets of fiberglass, then coating each piece with roofing tar. They test the tiles with a .22 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a 30-06 rifle. Only the 30-06 round penetrated the tile.

The suit is built and tiles added. Tyler has his cousin beat him with various weapons, from throwing bricks and rocks at him to clubbing him with a steel pipe. Tyler feels nothing. Things get a bit tense when Tyler insists that Chris try shooting him in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. Chris is reluctant but does so. Tyler is just fine as the point-blank shot does very little damage.

In Costa Rica, we revisit Kevin, formerly of Kansas. During Season 2, we watched as he moved his family of five to Central America. Since then, all of Kevin′s supplies, intended to last 18 months following an economic collapse, have arrived. So now he is thinking long term and has started down the path of total self-sufficiency. With help from his friendly neighbors, Kevin and his family start a garden and a chicken coop. But his ultimate prep will be his aquaponic system.

Two four-foot deep ponds are dug and lined with plastic. Once filled with water, Kevins loads one pond with duckweed, which he′ll use to feed his fish and chickens. He also sets up a 55-gallon drum to use as a water filter. From there, the nutrient-rich water will be keep his garden irrigated. Kevin takes his family to a local commercial fish farm and purchases 100 tilapia. His family has fun netting up the fish. Back at his home, the fish are loaded into their pond and Kevin finishes all of the piping to connect each part of his aquaponic system. A solar array will power the pumps, making it completely off the grid. Kevin hopes to raise enough surplus food to use as barter with his neighbors.

So there you have it. Two different approaches shown on National Geographic of Doomsday Preppers. We Are The Marauders gives us a unique look at preppers will function after a collapse of civilization. The Marauders are prepared to do whatever they can, including organized looting, to survive. Kevin in Costa Rica, however, has chosen a more community-friendly path of working with his new neighbors and becoming not only self-sufficient, but an asset to the local population. Fear versus Love. What more can I say?