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Protest!

Picket report, San Francisco, June 2, 2001
2 Jun 2001
Kristi Wachter <humanrights@racerrecords.com>

Okay, time to face reality: there's no point in posting "preliminary" picket reports, because I never do seem to manage to follow them up with "final" picket reports.

Herewith, then, submitted for your approval, a non-preliminary picket report:

Date: Saturday, June 2, 2001
Start and End Times: 11:00 - 2:00 pm plus more by Murdoch & Marie
Location: San Francisco
Picketers: Murdoch, Marie, Peaches, Kristi Wachter, Arel Lucas
Handlers: Jeff Quiros, Not-Always-Nasty Mark, Bill Crawford, StealthMan
Weather: sunny and windy
Number of Handouts given away: 259
Comments: good picket; security guy appears

Flier stats:

155 Convictions/What's Wrong
82 Judges on Scn
6 Tax/What's Wrong
3 Xenu fliers
12 Lisa fliers
1 advisory

259 total

Quotes are not exact, as I didn't listen to my tape at all; also, I occasionally rearrange the chronology slightly to enhance the narrative flow.

Photos will be posted soon.

MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE

As usual, I went over my list before the picket:

fliers? Check.
signs? Check.
tape recorder? Check.
cassette tapes? Check.
batteries? Check.
camera? Check.
stapler? Check.
tape? Check.
black marker? Check. (All of the above for picket sign repair.)
inflatable alien? Check.

Call the police? Check.

So, all prepared, I trundled down to the street corner to await Peaches in her magic chariot. Thanks again for the ride, Peaches! (I don't mind walking to the org, but it's always so nice to get to hang out with Peaches on the way there.)

WALKING IN YOUR FOOTSTEPS

When we got to the org shortly before noon, we saw that Murdoch and a new person were already there. Marie turned out to be a lovely young lady with a soft voice, an open mind (PTS in Scientology, alas), and a camcorder - always a handy thing to have at a Scientology picket.

We welcomed her and I gave her a picket advisory, and we settled in to picket.

Murdoch later told me that he and Marie had arrived at 11, so the picket ran at least three hours today.

When we arrived, Murdoch and Marie were chatting with Not-Always-Nasty Mark. I also saw Bill Crawford, my one-time Scientology Pal[tm].

SHORT PEOPLE

I tend to spend most of my time at the entrance to the walkway that runs along the west side of the org (it has an actual name, but I don't recall what it is). (Peaches tends to hang out at the other end of the org, at the eastern corner of the sidewalk, where all the traffic converges.) However, now and then I walked the length of the sidewalk, down to where Peaches is and back.

As I did that this week, I greeted my one-time Scientology Pal Bill Crawford "Hi nice to see you life treating you well?" On my next pass, he said that it seemed like I'd been rather curt lately. "Curt?" says I. "How so?" "You know - short," says he. "Well I can't help that," says I, "I'm short with everybody." Alas, he didn't get the joke, and I had to explain it. (I stand about 4' 11" in my stocking feet. I used to be 4' 11 3/4", but I shrunk.)

So the next time I passed him by, I said I thought I was just focused on picketing. I said I'd be happy to chat with him in e-mail, but he declined that offer.

NOT ONE OF US

A few Scientologists, including NAN-Mark and Bill, acquired anti-psychiatry signs 15 or 20 minutes into the picket. Their protest seemed somewhat lackluster to me compared to last time - there were fewer of them, for one thing, and they didn't really seem to be into presenting their message.

One of the anti-psych picketers was a young lady, and as I strolled down to Peaches' end of the sidewalk, I saw a couple of gentlemen approach her to discuss her sign. (I got the impression that they didn't agree with her message and had come over to tell her so, but I could be wrong.)

I paused to listen, and she told them something about how, first of all, the anti-psych campaign had nothing to do with Scientology, and secondly, it wasn't all psychiatry that was bad.. (I'm wildly paraphrasing here.) I told the gentlemen, "She may not be aware of it, but she's just given you some false information. First of all, there's a Scientology policy that says that psychiatry is behind all the evil and all the crime in the entire universe. Second, there's a Scientology front group whose goal is the eradication of all psychiatry. They want to eliminate some of your medical options." I gave them a flier and encouraged them to contact me at my e-mail address (which is on most of my fliers) if they had questions.

SECURITY

(Oh, look! It's an Etta James hit, as well as a Peter Gabriel album! My Big Book o' Billboard Hits comes through for me again!)

Not long into the picket, a white car pulled up and a gentleman got out dressed in your basic security-for-hire uniform (some girls love a man in uniform, but I confess it did nothing for me), light brown shirt and slacks with little embroidered round badges at the shoulders. He had a gun and a nightstick and was apparently with Stealth Security. (Nothing particularly stealthy about this guy; he was in plain sight when he arrived.) He had a little disposable camera with him and took pictures of us all (apparently he asked Peaches' permission; he said nary a word to me and seemed all unsmiling and grim). After getting photos, he mostly stood near the org door and watched us, occasionally conversing with Jeff and the others.

I got a few pictures of him, as well as one of his license plate (which I don't intend to post, but I have it in case I need it ... in case he turns out to be running illegal ops or engaging in illegal behaviors, like stalking, as some other Scientology-hired folks have done).

Somewhere around midway into the picket, he apparently went inside the org; I didn't see him much during the second hour.

I did notice that his name badge said either Weigand or Weiland. Now that I think about it, I think it was Weiland; I immediately made the connection to Dick Weigand, but if it was Weiland, then I'm just wrong. I did spell out the name into my tape recorder; if I end up caring, I'll go back and listen for it.

I CAN HEAR MUSIC

A Scientologist I've mentioned before, whom I've nicknamed Guitarman, was hanging out on the ledge in front of the org, playing his guitar. I didn't stop and listen as I had before, but I caught occasional chords now and then as I walked back and forth.

He left about halfway through the picket, and as he prepared to leave, I told him, "I couldn't hear much of what you played, but I enjoyed your music." He said "Thank you."

So, to Guitarman, who is able to respond politely to even an SP such as myself, I award the coveted Kristi's Favorite Scientologist of the Month award.

(Alas, last month's recipient, Jamie, wasn't present this time. I miss him - I hope he turns up again!)

HOLD THE LINE

Late in the picket, I walked along the front of the org to hand a flier to a gentleman who was similarly cutting across the corner (the front of the org is on a diagonal, with a big triangle of sidewalk in front of them). Jeff Quiros said "I'm going to have to ask you to stay on this side of the line." "What line?" I asked. He said "Stay on the sidewalk." I looked around and said "This looks like public sidewalk to me." "Stay on this side of the planters," he said. I noted that he didn't ask any of the random strangers (like the gentleman I handed the flier to) to stay on the far side of the planters.

I don't recall him actually saying that was the properly line - only that he wanted me to stay on that side of the planters. (We've previously been asked to stay on the far side of the trash can - several feet closer to the street - so I'm not sure that where they want us to stay has any correlation at all to the property line.) I'll have to remember to ask him if that's what he claims is the property line during next month's picket.

I believe Marie was also asked to stay closer to the street, although I'm not sure where, exactly, she was told to go.

We are very careful not to block the doorway, and I certainly intend to make sure I don't block the doorway or the sidewalk or anyone or anything at any pickets ever.

GONE, GONE, GONE

Craig was nowhere to be seen today. (Surely not because of my post on Slashdot that serving papers in a libel suit would be easy since my libellers tended to hang out at the org on picket days??? ... Hmmm, come to think of it, there were no DA fliers this time, either. Hmmm.)

Although he's been remarkably unpleasant the last several times I saw him, I nevertheless missed him (however slightly). I trust he's well and just off doing some training or perhaps taking a bit of a vacation.

SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Speaking of no-shows, Woggo the Clown didn't appear.

JOIN TOGETHER

Although I mostly covered the sidewalk and handed out fliers, I occasionally paused to check out a conversation the handlers were having with picketers or passersby, and a couple of times I piped up with my own observations.

One was the anti-psych protester and the two gentlemen, mentioned above. Another was a conversation Marie and Murdoch were having with NAN-Mark. Marie admired my tape recorder, and I explained why I had it - because of the way Scientology had set up Gerry Armstrong, secretly recording him and then editing the videotape to claim he said things he never said, and presenting that in a court of law. (How they didn't get censured for that I'll never understand.)

NAN-Mark then made some comment about how I presented it in terms of "they"; he said using "they" sets up a boogeyman.

I replied to Marie that I thought Mark was postulating that the bad things that Scientology does are the acts of individuals, not the organization, and I pointed out that even after the individuals responsible for specific transgressions had left Scientology, the unethical behavior continued - because it was following policy - and that therefore I concluded that the organization, not the individuals, was the cause of the problem. NAN-Mark said "Very well spoken," which was nice of him to say, but not quite enough to garner the coveted Kristi's Favorite Scientologist of the Month Award. Better luck next time, Mark! <grin

SHE'S GOT A WAY

Around 1:25, Arel arrived. A parking space had opened up right in front of the org (can we SPs postulate, or what?) and she joined us for the final half hour of the picket.

I hear that some of the handlers made rude remarks about Keith (probably intended to make her lose her cool), but she seemed remarkably calm to me during the picket. At one point she put on earphones so she could listen to something a little more pleasant than Scientology representatives gloating over the recent miscarriage of justice.

She had some great fliers about how the prison sentence literally endangers Keith's life. I'm very sorry he's sitting in a jail in Canada right now, but frankly, that may be the safest place for him at the moment.

TALK TALK

We knocked off pretty promptly at 2 pm and went to the usual cafe for liquids and solids. Charlie and Phr joined us there, but since they didn't make the picket proper, I haven't included them in the list above. (I know that several folks went back to pick up again at 4 - hopefully Murdoch will post something and let us know who else picketed then. It may have been all four - Murdoch, Marie, Charlie, and Phr ... although I think only Murdoch was equipped with a sign.)

It was an excellent picket. I was thoroughly delighted to see everyone, and to meet Marie. I was also happy to hear a few more strums out of Guitarman's guitar ... always a pleasure.

The next first-Saturday-of-every-month picket is July 7, rain or shine. See you then!

Kristi

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Kristi Wachter
the activist formerly known as "Jour" (before $cientology outed me)

If I am not who you say I am, then you are not who you think you are. - James Baldwin

I think $cientology is hurting people and breaking the law, and I want them to stop it. See http://www.scientology-lies.com for more.

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