George begins to think about how and why Harrison is in jail. The narrator refers to Harrison as "abnormal" in this section of the story and the meaning behind this is explained shortly thereafter. The twenty-one gun salute is part of George's mental handicap. Any time he tries to engage in deeper thought, his handicap kicks in and disrupts his thinking. Such handicaps are designed to prevent smarter people from using their intelligence. The goal in this dystopia is to make everyone equal. Therefore, stronger people have physical handicaps and smarter people have mental handicaps.
Later in the story, George and Hazel are watching television and a news bulletin is read. We learn that Harrison had been arrested for plotting to overthrow this oppressive government. Harrison has now escaped from prison. The narrator goes on to describe Harrison's handicaps:
Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.
Harrison is seven feet tall, and he is more mentally and physically gifted than anyone else. That is why he's been given such oppressive handicaps. However, he is so strong that he will eventually discard the handicaps effortlessly.