Picket, San Diego, 14 October 2001
14 Oct 2001

Ordinarily, I wouldn't picket on a Sunday. But this was not an ordinary occasion. The "Church" of Scientology spent around $10,000 to have inserts placed in all the San Diego papers last Wednesday, advertising a 4 hour "Dianetics Workshop" designed to (hah!) relieve people of their anxieties over terrorism as well as any spare cash.

Richard of Riverside joined me today, the other possible attendees were no-shows. I had a copy of the Scientology flier with the "TERRORISM AFFECTS US ALL, BUY THE BOOK DIANETICS" on one side and the notice about the workshop on the other. My sign said, "WARNING! SCIENTOLOGY PROFITING FROM TERRORISM" and Richard's said, "SCIENTOLOGY, BAIT AND SWITCH FRAUD."

The idea here was to make the expected hordes of raw meat get an indication that Scientology isn't the benevolent group their PR machine makes it out to be. Unfortunately, the only people I saw walking into the org today were Scientologists.

Oh, there were high points. Indeed there were! The clammies had a rather grim young man out in front handing out ads for the Dianetics book and some full color, slick paper brochures. This was obviously to counter our presence, with our Xenu fliers, an insert, "Scientology Hurts People," a rather lengthy one "Would you want a cult in your town? TOO LATE!" and some "Ron the War Zero" brochures.

We arrived early. The workshop was scheduled for 12:30, so we got there at 11:30. We lurked on the street corner until we were noticed by the cult, at which point we took a couple of strolls past the org. Culties kept popping out, peeking at us, and scuttling back into the org. We received several honks, waves, thumbs up, and a "Smoke more pot!" acknowlegement. Heh!

At one point a hefty blonde came out with a cell phone stuck to her head. Shortly thereafter, a police cruiser arrived. I joked with them a bit, they were cool and pleasant. I showed them the flier invoking terrorism to sell their books, and both cops agreed that, yes, that sort of advertising was rather despicable. I gave them some fliers, and Richard asked if they'd been called by the org. Yes, they had. They stopped to make sure we kept things peaceful. I burst out laughing at that, those clams, ya gotta love their foolish tactics. Now two more cops know about their wretched scam! For a San Diego picket, we handed out more than the usual number of fliers, the usual being five.

The phone research place across the street had some folks taking a smoke break outside, so we crossed over and handed them fliers while the clam boy glared at us. Crossing the street back to our corner, I traded a passerby some of our fliers for the ones acquired from the cultie. He wouldn't give us any. One carload of surfers pulled over to get fliers and gave us the "hang loose" sign as they drove away. Another truck swerved toward me momentarily and then pulled into the org. Nice people! Stupid clam probably didn't notice the large metal pole I was standing in front of. That would have made a nice dent in his paint job! He probably would have let it rust, as it's more important to spend money, spend more money, and get others to spend money, too! There's a planet to clear, after all!

After about a half hour of picketing, the obligatory OSA guy finally showed up with his camera. He took our pic, natch, from across the street. Richard told him that was a pretty chickenshit way to make a living. He then crossed the street and approached us. "Vhat did you say?" says he in a strong German accent. Richard repeated himself, then I jumped in with, "You people should be ashamed of yourselves, preying on peoples' fear of terrorism to sell your damned books!" Richard then asked him where he was from, to which he responded, "None uff your business."

I said, in my best Cherman accent, "Richard, I sink he is from Chermany or Austria." Then Richard said something rude in German along the lines of "get the hell out of here." This fellow, incidentally, was one of our photographers stalking us at the Comic Convention. He had a bit of an altercation with an interested bystander who talked with us a while, and hung around to watch. That guy didn't want his picture taken, and told the mollusc so. The photographer didn't push it.

We put in an hour, just to warn any innocent raw meat who might happen to arrive for the Dianetics workshop, but it looked like the only interested parties already belonged to the cult.

We then went to lunch, where I had a nice plate of baked clams and some peel and eat shrimp. It's gratifying to note that, if any attendees happened to be raw meat, it cost the cult about $1000 per head to get them in there!

This is true,

Chaplain, ARSCC

"Every week, every month, every year, every decade and now every century, Scientology does weird and stupid things to damage its own reputation." -Steve Zadarnowski

"Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as Scientology." -ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"

"$cientology sees the world this way: One man with a picket sign: terrorism. Five thousand people dead in a deliberate inferno: business opportunity.

$cientology oozes _under_ terrorists to hide." -Chris Leithiser


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