a picket at the San Francisco Scientology building
Another good picket, I thought, although as it's only my second one I don't have a lot to compare it to.
There were three of us - Taniwha, Peaches, and me.* I was late, since I was getting more Xenu fliers made up and it took a little longer than I thought. On the other hand, I got to share some info with the people at the copy shop. The guy who was helping me with the copy machine asked about my sign, and I told him I was on my way to picket Scientology. He said "it's kind of scary" ... he'd seen something on TV about Lisa, and thought $cn was bad news. We talked about $cn a bit, and I gave him one of my "Why I'm Picketing" fliers as I left.
People on the bus and at the bus stops were curious, too, so I got to hand out a few fliers and have some good conversations there as well. On my way to the SF org, two groups of construction workers and a group of sidewalk-sitters asked me about my sign, and they got fliers, too.
When I got to the SF org, Taniwha and Peaches were already there. Peaches was wearing a dashing hat, Tani was in his "Scientology Kills" tshirt, and I was dressed in bright red - red sweatshirt and red pants. (Sorry if Peaches has already given the fashion report.) We shared fliers and I put mine in my new patented FlierHolder[tm] - a loop of string around my neck, holding a hanging file folder. Last week, I was having a little trouble holding both the fliers and the sign. It gets pretty windy on McAllister Street, and today was no exception.
Our Lady of the Stress Test Table was out again today, and to my surprise, when I smiled at her, she gave me a big smile back!
It's hard for me to know who's a member of the org and who's not, and I don't really spend my time watching people coming in and out of the building, so I don't know how many
s I actually saw today, besides OLotSTT and the guy who told me last week that the SF Org's ED was a woman. (He just walked past me quickly today; no comm.) When I see people standing near the building smoking, though, I consider it likely that they're
s. (I don't know whether anyone else occupies the building. Taniwha? Peaches? Do you guys know?) One gentleman who was sitting by the building smoking asked me what I was doing, and I came over and told him I was picketing. He asked me what about, and whether I was pro- or anti-$cn. His English wasn't great, so we were having a bit of trouble communicating. I told him I was against $cn, and that I thought they were breaking several laws, and that I wanted to let the public know what I thought was the truth about $cn. He said "The truth ..." (I don't know what he meant by that.) I offered him a flier, which he took.
One gentleman who took a flier told me he remembered when $cn was starting up. He said someone had offered him a personality test and he told them "I'm a little too old to be buying that." Another gentleman refused the flier I offered, saying, "I know all about them. I'm a black man - we're ONTO that *#&."
A rather timeworn hippie-type (I've always liked hippie-types) told me he'd been in $cn in LA 30 years ago and had seen the Sea Org quarters, with people packed into the rooms like sardines.
Foot traffic on the sidewalk seemed much lighter to me today than last week. I don't know if this had anything to do with last week's sunnier weather, or tax time, or the big unrelated demonstration happening a block away.
My personal stats:
* made up 300 fliers - 100 double-sided Xenus and 200 half-page double-sided "Why I'm Picketing" (
* spent 40-45 minutes picketing
* had at least 4 conversations with people who asked about my picketing
* got at least 7 comments of support
* handed out a bunch of fliers - maybe 2 dozen?
0 honks from drivers today (at least none I could clearly attribute to the picket)
These are conservative stats, for myself only (they don't include Taniwha or Peaches).
At least two people asked me whether I thought the pickets were having any effect. It's hard to know exactly what effect they're having, but I am convinced they're raising awareness; the people who stop to talk often ask questions - good questions. Also, I believe change is often slow. I certainly don't expect $cn management to wake up and decide to reform just because of my little picket ... but I do think it has an effect, however small, and if that helps speed the day when $cn reforms, even a little, I'll be glad to have contributed.
* Note the proper use of the serial comma. One of my favorite columnists, Jon Carroll, commented on the serial comma in his column within the last few weeks:
"Best argument for the serial comma: The book dedication that reads, 'I'd like to thank my parents, God and L. Ron Hubbard.'" ;-)
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.