As often as possible, I sit down on Tuesday nights to watch Doomsday Preppers. I do this for a lot of reasons, but I think the biggest reason is to learn lessons and gain information from other people who are out there prepping too. I also watched American Blackout for the same reasons and felt that show was presented in a way that anyone could learn something from watching imaginary people going through an imaginary nationwide power outage that lasted 10 days. The most recent episode of Doomsday Preppers is called “We Are the Marauders” and believe it or not, aspects of this show, while not necessarily instructive were very illuminating, and disturbing at the same time. This shows goal unlike most of the Doomsday Prepper episodes I have seen was to show the dark side of survival.

The show started off profiling Tyler who lives outside of Tacoma Washington. Most profiles of preppers start with what they are prepping for and how they plan to survive. Tyler’s plan is to take supplies from preppers. He says that he and his friends are who you should be afraid of and we see a rather rotund Tyler busting down the door of someone’s house and demonstrating how he and his friends will take anything they want in a grid-down scenario.

Photograph by National Geographic Channels/Alli Curtis

Should you worry about Tyler?

When I first heard what his plans are I was a little shocked. Not that there are people planning to do this, that has been discussed often, but that National Geographic would put his story out there and group him in the same category as “Preppers”. Tyler and anyone like him who openly professes a goal of taking from others as their primary survival plan isn’t a prepper anymore than I am a millionaire because I am going to buy a lottery ticket. Tyler at best is an idiot. At worst, he is a dangerous thief who doesn’t care for life or anyone’s interests but his own. This type of attitude when we are in a relatively stress free existence where there is time to prepare is troubling and I worry that displaying Tyler happily building his little ‘suit of armor’ will send the wrong message to people who are genuinely interested in become prepared so as to be self-sufficient. Stealing doesn’t make you self-sufficient as you are still dependent on others; the theft is just more brazen. He is the welfare society taken to its logical conclusion and he feels perfectly shameless in telling the world he plans to steal if we have some form of society collapse.

Tyler is a grown man, but he acts like a child. He reminds me of the stupid stuff I did with my friends when I was 12. What I wouldn’t have given to have a torch and some guns at that age and the resources to help me build a suit like that if only to clown around in the woods with my buddies. Seeing a grown man do this is pretty pathetic and I think Tyler might have a huge wake up coming if anything does happen. Now, the rest of the world and presumably, Tyler’s neighbors know what his plan is. If I lived up there near Tyler, knowing what his plans are, he would not receive a warm welcome from me. If you tell me you are going to take everything I have, I will deal with you and no scrap metal suit is going to stop me from putting a bullet through your face. Hopefully Tyler will get some therapy and some good advice before then and change his ways.

Should you worry about Marauders?

The other side of the way this episode was presented was the very real threat of people who will try to take what you have. That may be supplies, money, guns, people anything that they want and they are able to take. We could get into a whole range of security topics like this on how to keep your home secure, but eventually there is no defense that is going to stand the test of time and determined people. The best you can do may only delay the inevitable and if there is a group of people determined to take something from you there is only one way to stop that. If society is gone and there is no longer any civilization, we will be living in the Wild West. Your neighborhood street might very well become the OK Corral of the future and your only hope of peace will be the kill those bent on the destruction of you and yours.

Now, I am old enough to realize that you can’t logically expect to strap a gun to your belt and dispatch any bad guy that walks into town and spits on your boot. If we go through some disaster like many are planning for, bad people are simply a fact of life. Right now, in the Philippines, there are armed gangs roaming the streets looting from stores. This isn’t a hypothetical TV show, this is real life. When you put people through something traumatic, the rules get thrown out the window and you see the best and worst come out frequently. Marauders are the worst.

So I would say this aspect of survival is one that you should be aware of and prepare for. Maybe that is what Doomsday Preppers was trying to do, but they didn’t seem to come down too harsh on Tyler. In fact, they commended him for his “innovative” body armor efforts and said he needed to be part of the “solution” not part of the problem. That is like telling the school bully they “obviously have an athletic gift” after they beat up some poor kid. I would have said it differently and it probably would have involved some big boy words.

Am I giving Tyler too much attention? Maybe, but again I view this as an opportunity to learn and that is more important than some traffic my little blog might generate. Realize that there are people like Tyler in the world. Even worse, there are ex-convicts, gangs and career criminals who will be out there with the same idea. If we go through something like an economic collapse you could find yourself faced with people who have the philosophy of Tyler’s in that it is better to take than prepare. You should be prepared to instruct people who have this view of prepping in their minds. My lesson will be from the business end of some firepower that scrap metal and old WWII helmets won’t stop. Sometimes, the gene pool needs to be thinned a little.