Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

What can we do about Hong Kong?

Jerry Stratton, January 21, 1997

On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong will revert to Chinese rule. The Chinese government has said bluntly that they will unilaterally repeal the parts of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights that they don’t like. First on the block are peaceful demonstrations and privacy rights. Tianamen Square is still on the Chinese rulers’ minds, and the memory is a fond one. The Chinese government has tentatively agreed to let the Hong Kong people keep their “guaranteed” rights of freedom of speech and the press.

But the Chinese government can repeal these rights as well, without asking the Hong Kong people. This is hardly a reasonable definition of “guaranteed”. China has already blocked some Hong Kong web sites because these sites are “suspected purveyors of spiritual pollution”. This does not bode well for freedom of speech once China actually owns Hong Kong.

And even if Hong Kong is “allowed” to keep these “rights”, so what? The Chinese people are also guaranteed rights of free speech. Does anyone truly believe that China is going to allow a mere piece of paper to get in their way in Hong Kong when they’ve ignored their own piece of paper in Beijing?

All it’s going to take is one march down main street to start the tanks rolling and the house to house beatings in search of dissidents. And then we can look on, shake our heads, and say I told you so over the next morning’s cup of coffee.

Well, why not do something about it now?

We’ve got a problem of our own in the United States. We have hundreds of thousands of military surplus firearms. The NRA wants to hand them out in the United States. President Clinton wants to take these historically significant rifles and crush them in a metal compactor.

Why not give them another job? Let’s put our vintage weapons to work for freedom one more time. Ship them across the ocean and arm any Hong Kong citizen who wants to keep a U.S. surplus rifle or handgun in their home. No registration list for the Chinese government to intercept. Give preference to anyone who can provide a press pass, because I can guarantee that anyone in the press is going to be waiting for that midnight knock come July 2.

Let’s remember the words of Russian dissident Solzhenitsyn, writing in The Gulag Archipelago:

And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?

The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

From 1993 to 1994 Bill Clinton ordered three million military surplus firearms destroyed. It cost us over a million dollars in real money, and millions more in money lost because these firearms could have been sold to collectors. The destruction was fortunately stopped by the NRA, and there are still several hundred thousand firearms left. There are millions more outside of the United States that Clinton is trying desperately to prevent collectors from importing back. And as well, I’m sure American firearms owners would open their hearts to a call for donations. Pro-gun control speakers are quick to claim that firearms are no longer needed to protect freedom in the United States. Why not send them somewhere where they are needed?

If China is honest in its claims that it will not infringe Hong Kong rights, these firearms will gather dust beneath the floorboards and behind the walls of Hong Kong apartments. If, on the other hand, Chinese police begin knocking house to house, the next Alexander Solzhenitsyn might not “pale in terror at every bang of the downstairs door”. Every major study in the United States has shown that higher firearms ownership means greater safety. This is all the more true in a police state. Soon-to-be dissidents in Hong Kong should be armed with better than axes, hammers, pokers, or a useless piece of paper inscribed with forgotten rights.

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