two pickets in San Jose and Mountain View, CA
lunchtime, 20 minutes each
I put in two quick solo pickets today in the South Bay. My thoughts are with you, Keith.
First, I went over to the Mountain View org. It was the first time I'd been by there. It's in a shabby little strip mall that's perpendicular to the street. The shop nearest to the street is a coffee and donut shop. The Dianetics center is behind that. The sign between the building and the street says "Dianetics", not Scientology.
I picketed on the sidewalk between the coffeeshop and the street. My goal is to educate the public, not enturbulate the Scientologists.
Zero foot traffic, but it's a pretty busy street, and I got lots of exposures to my sign:
USING YOUR TAX $$$ TO
* DEFRAUD THE PUBLIC
* PRACTICE MEDICINE ILLEGALLY
* HARASS CRITICS IN COURT
and the other side says:
No confront from the Scientologists. They are SUPPOSED to confront critics, aren't they? Maybe I should knock on the door and let them know I'm there... but then it's not my job to help them adhere to "tech".
A woman crossed the street (5 lanes of steady traffic!) to ask me "what happened?" I told her it wasn't so much a particular thing that had happened. It was more a bunch of things (harassing critics, practicing medicine without a license, attacking free speech), and in particular Lisa McPherson. I handed her a Lisa flier and a "Why I'm Picketing" flier. She told me she knew some people years ago who were Scientologists, and she had talked to them a lot about it and concluded that it was not good. We talked for a few minutes. She asked good questions, and I gave her a lot of information. I would have liked to have told her about Keith's trial, but she seemed more interested in other issues. She warmly thanked me for picketing.
I went back to solo picketing, walking back and forth by myself, holding my sign up to the passing cars.
And then ANOTHER woman crosses the street. She's acquainted with the first woman and apparently they work at a business across the street. She's seen the fliers and wants to know more, and wants to get more fliers for herself. I answer her questions and give her more info, plus all three fliers (Lisa, Xenu, and "Why"). I encourage her to tell her friends and her congresspersons.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, I got a honk and a nice thumbs up from a truck driver.
Next, I went over to the San Jose org. This was my second picket there.
I was completely ignored. There were no mysterious bike riders and no anonymous photographers. Darlene didn't come outside, and neither did the two gentlemen who had hung around the door the last time I was there. Zero foot traffic.
I counted 16 cars in the lot (although I didn't go into the lot. I stick to the sidewalks). I saw one car pull in while I was there, and one person walk out the front door.
There was a lot of construction next door to the org, which meant that traffic got held up a lot, giving people plenty of time to read my sign.
Although the Scientologists paid no attention to me (that I could see), the birds conducted a noisy investigation. Whatever $cn has planted along the sidewalk smelled lovely - sort of honeysuckle or lilac. There was no sprinkler tech.
I'm sure the Scientologists noticed that I arrived shortly before the UPS guy and left just after he left.
Once again, I got a nice thumbs up from a truck driver just before I left.
All in all, I prefer picketing in San Francisco, where there's a lot more opportunity to interact with the public. In the South Bay, everybody's stuck in their cars.
Still, I know a lot of people saw my sign, and at least two people now know a lot more about their neighbors across the street.
This page was last updated on May 8, 1999.