San Francisco Picket Report 7 Jul 01
13 Jul 2001
Prignillius <Use-Author-Address-Header@[127.1]>


[The usual disclaimers: quotes are from memory, and therefore may be inaccurate, and at any rate are paraphrased; the sequence has been revised to improve narrative flow, etc.]

I spent most of the evening of Friday, July 6 in the living room of Arel Lucas, assembling my nifty custom-made peel-and-stick vinyl sign while she scanned legal documents.

I picked her up early the next morning, and we were off to San Francisco.

When we arrived, the day was cool and sunny, and a bit windy, a condition which increased throughout the afternoon. Peach arrived a bit later and then had to find a parking place (it had taken me 3 tries to find a working meter).

The picket, all in all, was rather uneventful. I had two handlers, who also tried to handle Arel and Peach part-time. Craig was the guy with the video camera. Mark walked beside me for the first half hour or forty five minutes of the picket.

Peach had forgotten to call the cops to notify them we would be picketing, but she did so from her cell phone. They showed up eventually, although I got the idea it was because the org had called them. I tried to catch the cop's eye to smile at him, but was unable to. He didn't even so much as look at me. He talked with some org lackey for a while, and then left.

After about 1.75 hours, I had to sit down and take a break. Peach suggested we all take a break, as she didn't think it was safe for just her and Arel to remain picketing alone. So we went down to a small cafe half a block away.

The break became rather extended. At one point, I had to go feed the parking meter again, and I saw that a goon from the org had followed me and written down the license plate number of the car I came in. This was The Incident at the SF picket, so the excitement in this picket report has now reached its climax.

As I went back to the cafe, I saw Craig standing in front of the org with a video camera carrying case over his shoulder.

"Good," I thought. "Maybe he thinks we've left."

After half an hour or so, we were joined at the cafe by M, a very lovely young woman whose (now former) boyfriend is a Scientologist. She apparently discovered the Operation Clambake message board, and has received quite an education in Scientology since then. It led to her gaining a much greater understanding of her boyfriend's behavior. He's a public who's been in for ten or fifteen years, is not yet clear, but is talking about doing the OT levels. She was very supportive of our activities, but was unwilling to allow anyone from the org to see her face.

Before the four of us were done talking, phr showed up. Soon after, the four of us (Arel, Peach, phr & I) began picketing again and did about 45 minutes before both Peach and I decided we had had it. Craig and Mark had gone home. I commented to Peach how enormously more pleasant it was to picket without all the bullbaiting. She agreed.

We had a lot of acks, horn honks and thumbs-ups throughout the day, including one from a bus driver. People seemed supportive in general, and interested in finding out more. I talked to one guy who had worked for Scientology briefly as a staff member, but got out, as he said, "as soon as I realized what a rip-off cult they were." I encouraged him to tell his story to others.

One thing that surprised me was that I was not followed by anyone when I left the picket. This is the first time I can remember this being the case. There were also no spies listening in on our conversations at the cafe, either during the break, or during the short time we adjourned there after we had done for the day.

The signs we carried were:

   Arel: "Scientology Is Trying To Kill My Husband"
         "Henson Is Innocent, Miscavige Is Guilty"

   Peach: "Lisa McPherson Died While In The Care of Scientology"
          [I can't remember what the other side said]

   phr carried Peach's new sign:
          "Stop Hurting People"
          "Scientology Hates Free Speech"

   mine said:
          "Stop [in red] Hurting People"
          "Scientology LIES! www.xenu.net"

Leaflets distributed: I have no idea. Ask Peach -- I think she handed out all of them. I find it impossible to manage a picket sign and leaflets too. Especially in such a strong wind -- carrying my sign was like holding up a sail, and I often used two hands.

Kristi's Saddle Bag Tech seems to be the only answer for this. I'm sure sorry she wasn't there. But as I turned out, I'm very glad I decided to go. Otherwise, there probably would have been no picket at all, as Peach (very wisely, IMAO), is not willing to picket alone.

All in all, a very successful picket, without notable incident. A good time was had by all on a beautiful San Francisco day. I ended the day with Arel initiating me into the mysteries of sushi, which I'd never eaten before. I liked it.

phr took some pix (including me at my most photogenic ;) http://www.nightsong.com/phr/pics/sf0701



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