Max was kind enough to answer some questions about his new books and his perspectives on living on both sides of the pond. Buy his books, I cannot recommend them highly enough. -BB
What threats do you see in the future for citizens in the European Union (EU) and the United States from their governments?
That’s a big topic but in summary I see increasing erosion of civil rights and the encroachment of ‘Big Brother’ and the surveillance state. In general real practical freedom is being eroded at a rapid rate.
Is there a difference in the nature of the threats between the EU and the US?
Very much so: Although there appear to be similar movements towards police surveillance states in both the EU and the US, along with the erosion of democracy, such as it was, there is a very different tradition in the US. To a very real extent there is more to be lost in the US. The US has its written Constitution and has since its inception been a beacon of hope and liberty, whereas for example the UK has an unwritten constitution that did evolve over time to give ‘subjects’ of the Crown very good civil rights. The British system evolved rather than being rapidly put in place as in the US. However, in the UK you see those rights being taken away, if not already lost. An example is that there is no equivalent of the second amendment, which has meant that citizens in the UK have already had their right to bear arms removed.
Therefore the threat in the US is of the loss of the natural rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the flip side of that is that in the US the population is armed and therefore if citizens do stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and decide to overthrow any tyrannical government, as the Founding fathers intended them to do, they will have more chance of accomplishing it without being crushed by the military-industry complex. In the UK and Europe it is much easier to crush dissent because the state really does hold the monopoly of violence, unless a point is reached where large elements of the military and law enforcement either defect or refuse to act.
Most of our audience is in the US and bring a certain perspective to guns, what is the perspective of the English? Have they become so wedded to the state that anything can happen to them?
There is a vast untapped resource in ‘Middle England’ of decent ‘right thinking’ folk, but they have no power base or ability to do anything about the loss of the country to the socialist welfare state and the increasing lunacy of political correctness and multiculturalism. The British have also lost their guns. It makes for an interesting perspective where policing always seemed to me to be more reasonable in the UK, with the ‘bobby on the beat’ being someone accessible who you may have stopped to ask directions from. Most of the police were not armed. But that is probably now a romanticized view and outdated as the police have to combat increasing violence in society and gangsters. In the US, due to the prevalence of guns and the threat of their use by criminal elements, the US police officer is a different animal, someone I would not stop to ask directions from for fear that he would ‘run me’ in an attempt to find fault and make an arrest. The cops in the US appear to be an increasingly paramilitary force who do not ‘serve and protect’ but look to harm and arrest. Some of this is due to the violence they face, but it also speaks to a lack of respect for citizens’ rights and also the use of ‘department procedures’ to excuse bullying and incompetence. There is also a role model culture from the movies of ‘tough guy’ cops that does not help.
What do you think of the gun culture in the US?
I support second amendment rights and thankfully when facing the possibility of a collapse we have the ability to protect ourselves. How would I protect my family in a similar situation in the UK, faced with rampaging looters? There is also the fact that due to the availability of firearms in the US, you need to possess and be trained in their use in order to be able to protect yourself and your family from those who would use them against you. Gun control aimed at law abiding citizens is madness, so long as there are guns out there possessed by criminal elements. So I am thankful for gun laws in the US, because I know that I can protect my family and also that the people can protect themselves against tyranny. The fact that we can have practical firearms in the US allows me to write a book such as ‘Contact’, in the knowledge that good folks out there have the ability to equip and train to defend against lawless situations, following any kind of societal collapse and absence of the rule of law.
Your books are not only well written but mercifully lacking in the “tacticool” virus that haunts so many of the tactical gun books here. What sets yours apart?
I have devoted most of my professional career to training and deployments and becoming good at ‘tactics’. It has always been a passion of mine. I don’t have any time for ‘tacticool’ stuff and the kind of mantras that you hear people repeat ad nauseam but perhaps they don’t really understand e.g. ‘shoot, move and communicate. I write about effective tactics based on some excellent training and operational experience ‘downrange’ that I have had over the years. I didn’t invent or make it all up, but I have thought deeply about it and evolved it based on my personal experiences. If it doesn’t work, fix it, if it works, don’t fix it. I have benefited from the experience of being trained, training with, and operating alongside some excellent soldiers and operators who I learned my trade from. I also really enjoy instructing and passing on knowledge, which was the genesis behind writing the books.
As you are aware, I am a retired Army officer, so I was wondering if you could share some of your experiences with the Paras that have proven valuable in your current vocation or approach to the coming bad times.
The ‘Paras’ is a unit that you have to be selected for and which has extremely high professional standards. It is not good enough to simply pass selection and get into the unit; you have to be able to maintain a professional standard and focus. It was the Paras that gave me my professional grounding in tactics and SOF operations. Once I had that base, I was able to get contracts as a security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, for five years, based on my pedigree and which continued to enhance my knowledge and combat experience. In the Paras I served in multiple theaters such as Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Afghanistan. This gave me grounding across the spectrum of operations and an insight into how things may potentially pan out in the US following a collapse. It also gave me perspective on security force operations and how these forces would or could be used to crack down on anyone viewed as an insurgent by the regime.
By the time I got to Iraq as a security contractor and found myself out on the roads there, it felt that I had spent my whole career gaining experience in countering terrorism, insurgency, IEDs and the like. Afghanistan was particularly interesting. I was deployed there after 9/11 and returned for two years to Helmand Province as a security contractor in 2007. That is a country that could be viewed as a model for conditions of extreme collapse. By contrast, places such as the Balkans can be viewed as an example of a place that faced partial collapse and civil war.
Besides your books, any other books you may recommend that would be of value?
On the tactical side, I would recommend any number of modern books that cover fighting and combat, simply because they are useful to give your mind an idea, and begin the conditioning process, as you visualize the conditions that the people went through. I also recommend books on prepping and survival to give you the skills for the rest of the prepping spectrum; Contact does not attempt to do that but skips largely over those basics, assuming that you already have your ‘bullets, beans and band-aids’ in order.
I suspect you cut your professional teeth on the SLR and I am the former owner of a whole passel of FALs that have since found new owners to fund the .223 and .308 ARs we currently field. The AR platform is ubiquitous here in America, what are your thoughts on it as a weapons system. How about pistols?
I initially came into the British Army in 1991 after the SLR had gone out of service. I had the opportunity to shoot it on the ranges a few times with my father while growing up. I had the pleasure of carrying a deactivated SLR around the Welsh mountains on selection. The British Army has the 5.56mm (.223) SA80, now the A2 version and I always thought it was a good weapon, although people claimed it was heavy. The SUSAT x4 magnification sight was excellent. I used the AR15/M4 while in the British Army also, as well as for a time in Iraq. I think the M4 platform is excellent; I have one of my own! I never had a problem with 5.56. But here we get to an interesting point, showing the difference between firearms ownership in the US and the UK. In the UK we only had weapons in the Army, so they were the tools we were issued and we got on with it. In the US there is so much choice and soldiers have their issued weapons and then they can have whatever they want at home. No wonder there are so many diverse opinions. My approach is to use what you have to the best effect. 5.56/.223 or 7.62/.308, hit well with it and the enemy is not going to walk it off!
Pistols: I favor the Glock. I like .40 Cal, after many years of using issued 9mm pistols. That is a personal preference and again, I think that you should go with what is comfortable for you. If you are concealed carrying you need to figure out a carry system and a handgun that works for you.
It appears that Scotland and Wales may secede in the future from Great Britain and I see a probability of that very thing happening here in the states, what is your read on the situation?
I honestly have not been keeping track on the progress or not of any secession in the UK. I think that in the UK the situation is such that it would probably be allowed to happen, at least to a degree: they already have assemblies in Wales and Scotland. In the US, I don’t see that. Look at the Civil War. I think FedGov would stamp down very hard on the idea of secession of any part of the United States, simply because it would weaken the Federal powerbase, just like in the 1860s. If I read my history right, the American Civil War was not about slavery, at least not at first (revisionist history of the victors aside); it was about power. It always is.
Tell us about your project writing a novel.
The idea of the novel is to write a storyline that I hope will be interesting and captivating to the reader in itself, but which will incorporate and illustrate the tactics that I have written about in Contact and Rapid Fire. It won’t be an instructional, that would kill the storyline, but the characters will bring to life the tactics. I intend the novel to be set in a post collapse civil war environment, where a resistance movement is fighting a tyrannical government. Sound familiar or probable? Yep.
Max Velocity Bio: I have been a lifelong soldier with extensive military experience. I served in both the British and US Armies. I served with British Special Operations Forces, mainly with the Parachute Regiment which is Britain’s elite quick reaction force and which also provides support to the UK Tier 1 Special Forces, the Special Air Service. I served on six operational deployments, including to Afghanistan immediately post-9/11, and also a tour training and selecting recruits for the Regiment. I retired from the British Army in 2003 and then spent five years serving as a security contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This included working on contract for the US Government in Iraq, a year of which was based out of Fallujah, the rest variously based out of Baghdad and country-wide, and also two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province and Kabul, Afghanistan. These roles were operational security roles that included exposure to multiple different training methods and operational schools of thought, as well as both high profile and low profile mobile operations across Iraq and Afghanistan. I then joined the U.S. Army and trained as a Combat Medic and Civil Affairs Specialist. I am a U.S. Citizen and live in Northern Virginia. I am a family man with a strong interest in prepping. This comes from a desire to prepare for the worst while living to the best in our current society. Contact springs from my ruminations on the need to keep my own family safe and survive any coming apocalyptic event, and a desire to share this knowledge with other law abiding folk.
Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival: http://www.amazon.com/Contact-Tactical-Manual-Collapse-Survival/dp/1478106697
Rapid Fire: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations: http://www.amazon.com/Rapid-Fire-Tactics-Protection-Operations/dp/1478280514