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Protest!

Picket report, San Francisco, Jan 6 2001
7 Jan 2001
Kristi Wachter <humanrights@racerrecords.com>

Date: Saturday, January 6, 2001
Start and End Times: 12:00 - 2:00 pm
Location: San Francisco
Picketers: Phil, Peaches, Sal, Kristi Wachter
Handlers: Jeff, Craig, "Atlas"
Weather: sunny; chilly but warmer toward afternoon
Number of Handouts given away: 231 (upstat!) (unless you count last
month's picket)(which I don't, because it was an unusually long one) -
includes all of us
Comments: nice, quiet picket; Craig shadows me; new picketer: Sal

flier stats:

1 Xenu fliers
1 Lisa fliers
2 Rodney
42 Judges on Scn
2 Mint/Law
1 advisory
71 Convictions/What's Wrong
100 Tax-Exempt Status Illegal?/What's Wrong
3 Lisa...Suspicious Deaths/What's Wrong
8 Lisa...Held Against Their Will/What's Wrong

231 total

This is the number of fliers given out by all of us.

-----------------------------------------------

Familiar faces seen:

Josh
Jeff Quiros
Mr. Get-Your-Facts-Straight
Ms. A
Frank
Craig
"Atlas"
Lucretia

Familiar faces not present during this picket:

"Betty"
Guitarman
Burly Guy
El Greco
Mr. Tall Thin Sea Org
Mr. Lady-I-Work-Here
Movie Star
Miss Pixie

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Note: Quotes are not exact, since I didn't listen to my tape recording at all. Also, I occasionally rearrange the chronology slightly to enhance the narrative flow.

Photos of handlers and picketers at http://www.scientology-lies.com/picketphotos.010106.html.

As always, before heading out, I called the police to let them know we were on our way. Nothing to report there.

DOWN ON THE CORNER
==================

While waiting for Peaches to pick me up, I did some picketing on the corner near my home. I managed to give out about a half-dozen fliers, and got some very enthusiastic waves from bus drivers and bus riders (several busses passed me while I stood there).

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK?
============================

When Peaches and I arrived at the org, Phil was already picketing. It's always so nice to arrive and see someone else already in action!

I gave Phil a big hug. He spent most of the picket talking with various Scientologists (as a former Scientologist, I think he directs his message more toward current Scns than toward the public), and he had to leave early, so unfortunately he and I didn't get to do much catching up - but it was SPLENDID to see him nonetheless.

SIDEWALK SURFIN'
===============

Peaches and I noticed that there wasn't a great deal of traffic - cars or foot traffic. (I wondered if people might be home recovering from the holidays.) It seemed a pretty slow, quiet day. Even so, we managed to give out over 200 fliers.

ME AND MY SHADOW
================

During most of the picket, Craig kept within 10 feet of me and attempted to hand out libellous fliers. These were new fliers; they feature Peaches and me on one side, with our photos and the following text:

Religious Bigots
Peaches O'Reilly Kristi Wachter
bigotwatch.net
Stop Hate

The other side (they've finally started using both sides of the paper! - though not to very good effect) has a picture of Bob Minton (labelled "Robert Minton"), the phrase "Stop the Hate", an excerpted headline "a L4 billion fraud", a blurry and illegible scan of part of a newspaper article, and a photo with the caption "Nigeria's people are hostage to their country's crumbling economy."

(I'm surprised that Jeff Quiros, who is ever so very concerned about copyright infringement, isn't concerned about the press photos in this flier.)

Now, last time I checked bigotwatch.net, it didn't have any info about me, so I'm not sure what the relationship is supposed to be between bigotwatch.net, me, Peaches, and Bob. I feel certain, too, that no one reading the flier will have any idea what the link is supposed to be. And indeed, I don't even know that the flier's recipients will have any idea that the women pictured are the same cheerful, friendly women who handed them fliers about Scientology - I had at least two people stand there puzzling over their libellous fliers and ask me, "Who's this?"

In fact, I suspect Craig's intention in handing this out is to discredit us ... but I imagine that most recipients will puzzle over it briefly, wonder if perhaps it means that Scientology has members who are religious bigots, and then focus on the clearer, smaller flier they got from me or Peach.

At one point, I turned to Craig (I'd caught him watching me occasionally before, but now he carefully avoided my eye) and said, "I think you've been doing a pretty good job of keeping some distance between us, but please make sure you don't come up behind me where we might bump into each other accidentally." (Phil was nearby and witnessed my saying this.) Craig didn't acknowledge my comment (how rude!), but he continued to maintain just enough distance that we didn't actually bump into each other.

After about 1:15, he stopped shadowing me so closely. He spent some time in front of the org, talking with Jeff - I didn't overhear their conversation, but it looked for all the world like Craig was getting instructions from Jeff.

I was pleased that he behaved himself so much better than last month, and didn't give me any cause to report him to the police.

NOT ME
======

There was a lot of not-is-ing going on; Peaches thoroughly ignored Craig, and Craig mostly ignored me, and I mostly ignored Craig - although he did offer me one of his new fliers when I arrived, and I cheerfully accepted. (I still keep them all on file, in case I ever decide to file a libel lawsuit. Every time Craig libels me, he resets the clock on the statute of limitations.)

Once or twice he got into a bit of a conversation with me, when I explained the bigot flier to a passerby and Craig felt a need to talk over me and try to prevent people from hearing what I had to say. For the most part, though, he didn't talk to me, and I didn't talk much to him.

He did show considerably better confront about having his picture taken - in fact, when I tried to get a picture of him holding the fliers, he hid them from view, and I asked if he was afraid to have them in my camera's viewfinder, and he obligingly posed for me with the fliers clearly visible. So points to Craig for no longer hiding from my camera like he used to. I hope he'll develop even more confront and learn to tolerate differing opinions and face the truth of Scientology's criminal record.

LOOKING FOR CLUES
=================

(... a GREAT song by Robert Palmer, for those who haven't heard it ...)

Phil, as I've said, continually tries to raise the confront of current Scientologists. At one point, he came up to me and said he'd just told one Scientologist "Someday you're going to get a clue," and the Scientologist said, "I don't think so!"

Phil and I fell about laughing... but wistfully.

MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING?
=========================

One gentleman to whom I offered a flier responded by asking the tired old question, "How much are you getting paid?" I tried to point out that L. Ron Hubbard had said that data is only your data to the extent that you've evaluated it (I had my Basic Study Manual with me), and ask what he'd done to evaluate his data, but we seemed to have a low reality factor: his non-sequitur reply was "How do you define prostitution?" (How *I* define "prostitution" is exchanging sex for money, and boy, if he thinks walking around cheerily handing out fliers is a form of sex, he's got a LOT of word-clearing to do. <grin) ( ... although come to think of it, I dress in a special soft bright-red outfit, and it's fun, and satisfying, and Peaches often has a cigarette afterwards ... )

I wonder who, specifically, is telling Scientologists the lie that I'm being paid to picket. It saddens me that they have failed to evaluate that data and instead believe in falsehoods.

TREAT ME NICE
=============

Jeff and I had very brief interactions; I gave him a hearty greeting, which he was kind enough to return.

He noted that I hadn't taken him up on his suggestion:

A couple of weeks ago, I received an envelope from Jeff. It contained a copy of Freedom magazine (Vol 32 Issue 1, for those reading along at home), paper-clipped open to page 12, showing an article called "When Hate Turns Violent." It starts with a general discussion of hate crimes, then moves on to discuss Rick Ross, Keith Henson, Arnie Lerma, and Bob Minton. (It contains the following lie: that Bob fired "a shotgun at individuals protesting his bigotry.") Guys, if any of you are interested in the contents of the article, either as part of a libel suit or for your own general interest, please let me know.

Anyway, Jeff kindly affixed a note suggesting I re-think what I'm doing and "turn over a new leaf in the New Year".

So when he noted that I had failed to heed his suggestion (although I might point out that he has no idea how much re-thinking or leaf-turning I may have done in response to his note), I smiled and said I wished the same for him. He gave me a puzzled look, and I reminded him: "re-think things and turn over a new leaf." He said he'd been in Scientology for about 30 years, and wasn't likely to change now.

I would hope that a Scientologist with high confront and a real interest in the truth would be ready to do the right thing, regardless of how long he might have been misled by a deceptive group.

So, note to Jeff: If you'd like to convince me that I'm on the wrong track, by all means present whatever arguments you have - e-mail is an excellent way to do that. However, simply showing me sensationalistic smear articles containing extremely misleading information and outright falsehoods is not an effective way to convince me that my activism is a mistake.

Nevertheless, Jeff is once again awarded the coveted Kristi's Favorite Scientologist of the Month Award, for the following reasons: he had good enough confront to politely return my greeting (emphasis on the "politely"); he was willing to go out-exchange in order to give me a bit of a holiday gift (ignoring for the moment the possibility that he was trying to threaten me with the idea of a mention of my very own in an upcoming Freedom article); and, well, that's all I can think of at the moment. Still, given the relatively low level of civility we encounter from most Scientologists, Jeff does a fairly good job of at least pretending to be nice, and even if it's not sincere (which it may be, after all), I'll take covert hostility over overt any day.

NEW KID IN TOWN
===============

As I glanced up the street, I noticed a new picketer carrying one of Peaches' signs. (She always carries two, held together to look like one; then, if someone wishes to join in but doesn't have a sign, she's able to lend one of hers.)

When I had a break, I came over and introduced myself. I asked the newcomer for a name or nickname - he said "Sal" - and I asked why he had decided to join in. He said that, when he had arrived in the city some years ago, he had gone in to the org for a personality test. He said the invasive questions they asked bothered him, and he felt like they were trying to manipulate him.

He said he'd never been inclined to take any action to protest Scientology before, but he'd seen us picketing occasionally, and today he had time to join in.

I hope we'll see him again in the future.

ASK ME
======

I saw Atlas getting some instruction from Jeff and Craig (or so it appeared) on the use of a video camera. He then approached Peaches and Sal and took a bit of video of them. (I believe he may have told them they were endangering their immortal souls - perhaps Peaches will post something about that.)

He then approached me and asked if he could take my picture. I told him - as I took a picture of him - that it was fine with me, and that furthermore, he didn't have to ask; the law gives him the right to take pictures of me in a public place. He said "But it's nice to ask, don't you think?" and I agreed. I wonder if he's bothered by the proclivity of Jeff and Craig and Josh and other Scientology handlers to snap pictures of picketers and even the passersby talking to them without asking permission - especially since it often pisses off the passersby and causes bad PR.

In any case, I posed for Atlas, and he took about 2 seconds of video. I couldn't tell if that was all he needed or if something went wrong with the camera; he turned away from me and stared at it intently, so I think the camera may have been misbehaving.

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND
====================

One gentleman, in a hurry, took a flier and told me he fully supported us - he'd had a friend who had died because of Scientology.

Although he was clearly in a rush, I asked if he would tell me more about his friend. He said his friend was schizophrenic, and when he became involved in Scientology, they told him he didn't need his medication anymore. He began to give them all his money, and the Scientologists got him to stop listening to his parents and his doctors. He went to Clearwater.

He eventually began to re-establish some communication with his family, but one day he went to the top of a building and jumped off.

His name was John McNaughton.

I expressed my sympathies to this man on the loss of his friend.

WHERE DID THEY GO, LORD
=======================

Peaches pointed out a couple of Scientologists heading over to Market Street with the Stress Test tables, and I believe she saw Craig heading over to my home (or hers) to revenge-picket us.

BICYCLE RACE
============

As the 2:00 hour drew near, a young man rode up to us on his bike and engaged Peaches and me in a longish conversation. He said he and his brother had gotten into Scientology very slightly a while back, but then they had realized it was just a money-making scam. He said he had signed up for a course, and after he'd attended three times, they offered him a free auditing session. After THAT, they told him he needed $30,000 of auditing.

He asked a lot of good questions, ending with a question about the inflatable alien on my back. I handed him a Xenu flier. He was amazed to learn that that was what he would have had in store.

HOW THE TIME FLIES
==================

By the time we'd finished talking with Ken, it was after 2:00, so Peaches and I adjourned to the cafe for some juice and coffee and conversation. (Sal and Phil had both had to leave early.)

Peaches and I had a nice break, and then headed home.

There was no sign of picketers when I returned home, and no one reported any revenge pickets to me, but it seems likely that Craig picketed me while I was at the org.

On the other hand, one of the new bigot fliers was waiting for me when I got home last night, so perhaps someone put in a picket last night.

As someone (Mirele?) asked, does it count as a revenge picket if I don't know they were here?

BAH na na na NAH na
You say it's your birthday!
BAH na na na NAH na
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!
========================

I'd like to dedicate this picket to the delightful Ida, whom I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting. I'd also like to thank her for arranging to have her birthday fall near one of our regularly scheduled pickets, so it was easy to honor her without, y'know, having to, like, move our schedules around or something. <grin

Happy Birthday, Ida! Here's hoping that next year you'll get to have a nice celebration with ALL of your family!

THAT'S ALL
==========

Wow! A pretty long report for such a short, uneventful picket.

So, in summary, it was a nice, quiet picket. We had a total of four picketers, and despite the absence of Murdoch and Phr (and Julia, who had said she might join us), we still passed out a lot of fliers, made contact with a lot of people, encouraged many folks to write to their congresscritters and the IRS, and generally had a swell time.

The next regularly scheduled first-Saturday-of-every-month picket is February 3 from noon until 2 pm, rain or shine. Big thanks to Peaches for the ride and the EXCELLENT company! Thanks, too, to Sal and Phil for joining us.

See you next time!

Kristi

--
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.

Can you say "Xenu?" ... I knew that you could.

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