Picket Report, Kristi Wachter
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San Francisco >Picket Report, Kristi Wachter
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 19:25:17 -0700
From: Kristi Wachter
Subject: picket report, San Francisco, May 6, 2000
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
X-Trace: 6 May 2000 22:25:20 -0500, 126.96.36.199
Organization: Lightlink Internet
Xref: news2.lightlink.com alt.religion.scientology:1107899
~Date: Saturday, May 6, 2000
Start and End Times: 12:05 - 2:10 pm
Location: San Francisco
Picketers: Kristi Wachter, Peaches, Phr
Handlers: Jeff Quiros (barely)
Weather: overcast and cool
Number of Handouts given away: 146 (downstat!)
Comments: very uneventful
2 Xenu fliers
4 Lisa fliers
2 Did Scn kill Rodney Rimando? fliers
56 Costs a Mint/Breaking the Law
2 Bowfinger fliers
54 Does John Travolta Want to Give You Space Cooties? fliers
26 Tax-Exempt Status/Lisa fliers
Familiar faces seen:
Mr. Tall Thin Sea Org
Familiar faces not present during this picket:
Note: Quotes may not be exact, since I didn't listen to my tape recording
much. Also, I occasionally rearrange the chronology slightly to enhance
the narrative flow.
Peaches, Phr, and I picketed the San Francisco org today.
THE PRE-PICKET PICKET
Before leaving for the picket, I called the police, as usual. I told the
officer who answered the phone that, starting around noon, a handful of
people would be picketing Scientology, just around the corner from the
police station, and that we didn't expect any trouble but we like to keep
the police posted. He said fine, and that they would keep the area
monitored. During the course of our picket, I saw several police officers
strolling by - since the org is just a block away from the police station,
this is not at all unusual, but it sure does make me feel more comfortable
and safer when I picket.
Phone call made, I arranged my various fliers inside my "What part of KNOW
don't you understand?" bookbag, donned my sandwich sign ("SCIENTOLOGY
HURTS PEOPLE", with "SCIENTOLOGISTS CONVICTED *AGAIN*!" on the back,
visible whenever the wind whipped my sign around), picked up my picket
sign, ("SCIENTOLOGY: -> STILL <- BREAKING THE LAW -
www.scientology-lies.com " and "SCIENTOLOGY: -> CONVICTED <- OF LYING -
LEARN THE TRUTH www.scientology-lies.com", same as last time), stuffed my
inflatable alien's feet under the straps of my backpack, and headed out
the door. (This time I brought my copy of "Dianetics" in my
backpack; alas, I have still never had an opportunity to use it during a
I walked the 15 blocks to the org. On my way, I ran into some folks from
two churches who were standing on a busy street corner and handing out
fliers. One of them asked me why Scientology was breaking the law, while
another person (not from that church) asked me how Scientology was
breaking the law. I answered both their questions (why? because policy
tells them to; how? by holding people against their will and defrauding
people) and gave them fliers. The one who asked how Scientology was
breaking the law said he used to live in Florida and that he wasn't a
Scientologist but he disagreed with my "Scientology Hurts People" sign. He
said he was a student of theology and that he thought Scientology was no
worse than most other churches. I told him that Scientology holds people
against their will, which most churches don't do; that Scientology commits
extortion, which most churches don't do; and that Scientology deliberately
lies to people, which most churches don't do. He agreed with all of those
points and nodded while reading my fliers.
And what about the gentleman from the church? What did he think about me
picketing Scientology? Did he find me to be a despicable individual
engaged in bigotry and hatemongering? Well, actually, no. He invited me to
get involved in his own church's social action programs. As I left, a
colleague of his approached, and I faintly overheard them discussing my
activism in tones that suggested that they knew all about Scientology's
HERE I GO AGAIN
I arrived at the org at 12:05 - almost on time! - and began
picketing. There was a police van parked in one of the three spaces in
front of the org, making it difficult for passing cars to see me, so I
tended to hang out a little to the west of the org; there's a broad
walkway there where Leavenworth Street dead-ends, and most of the
pedestrian traffic goes through there, so I hovered on the edge of the
walkway where the cars could see me, waving at the cars and offering
fliers to the walkers. Peaches arrived at about 12:30, and we strolled
back and forth together, chatting.
HELLO OLD FRIEND
Around 1 pm or so (I didn't look at my watch) Jeff Quiros appeared,
striding purposefully toward the org with an attache case in each hand. I
greeted him and smiled and said "Nice to see you!" and he smiled back.
Shortly thereafter, he emerged to take pictures while Peaches and I were
talking with a passerby. I noticed the camera and began waving and
smiling. Unfortunately, Jeff's batteries weren't working properly. I
offered to lend him mine, but he graciously declined.
We had a much friendlier interaction than last time, to my great joy. I
wished him a happy 50th Anniversary of Dianetics Day. We even joked a bit
- he asked where the other critics were (as if I knew - honestly, Jeff,
you give us much more credit for being organized than we deserve), and I
told him they were all off at a secret Marcabian meeting. He said he
didn't know the Marcabs were still having meetings, and I told him he just
wasn't on the invitation list anymore. He also asked for any new fliers I
might have (unlike in SOME cities, the Scientologists here don't commit
assault and theft by grabbing fliers out of our hands), saying he was
going for the complete collection.
When I first met Jeff Quiros, he was badgering Taniwha, and he struck me
as cold and a little creepy and not especially nice. I was utterly
delighted to have a bit of friendly interaction with him, and it earned
him this month's coveted Kristi's Favorite Scientologist award.
I hope everyone will remember that even those Scientologists who seem mean
have a good side and good qualities, and I hope that anyone who reads this
who has an unpleasant interaction with a Scientologist will make an effort
to bring out that good side and will seek a way to turn the encounter into
a positive experience for both parties. Some aspects of Scientology are
evil, but Scientologists are not. (This is one reason I so appreciate
Stacy Brooks' involvement with the Lisa McPherson Trust - she seems so
good at remembering the human side of Scientologists, even those who are
assigned to harass her.)
TELL HER ABOUT IT
As always, there were people who had stories of their own that they wanted
to tell me or info they wanted to pass along. One gentleman came up and
said he'd been watching for us picketers to reappear - he had found out
that "Charles Manson credits them with his success" and he wanted to make
sure I knew about that.
Another gentleman said he had gone in three times, and "within a minute
and a half all they could think about was money," so he became disgusted
with them and left. I made sure to give him a "Costs a Mint" flier. (As he
continued down the street, he saw the gentleman on the steps reading my
fliers, and he told his story to that guy, too.)
A gentleman who stopped to talk with us while Jeff Quiros was taking
pictures said he had seen the help wanted sign and needed a job, so he
went in and took the 200-question test (he remembered that it was 200
questions) and then found out the job involved selling Scientology books
and courses and he left. Years later, he passed by when they were offering
the "stress test" and he said the lady doing the demo had pinched his arm
so hard that the mark never went away.
Another gentleman said he was doing a report on Scientology and was
delighted to get a Travolta flier. He asked about the rumors that Tom
Cruise had recently left Scientology - I told him that, as far as I knew,
they were just rumors.
One of the folks who asked for new fliers said he knew someone who got
duped (his word) out of tens of thousands of dollars. I told him about
Wayne Whitney, who lost over $150,000 after being told he would never need
to spend more than $2500.
WAITING ON A FRIEND
Early on, a gentleman took some fliers from me, then sat on the steps next
door to the org and read them all carefully. At first, I was flattered
that he was so interested, but finally I realized he must be waiting for
someone or something.
It seemed a bit harder to flier today, but I did pass out several fliers,
and at one point I was mobbed with people asking for fliers and asking
good questions about Scientology. (Although most people need to have a
flier offered to them, some will see the sign and come up and ask for
information.) Some people have gotten info from us before and ask whether
we have any new fliers, so I try to bring something new every two or three
pickets. (I really should use more of the excellent fliers that other
picketers have put together, but I really like half-page fliers, and most
that I've seen are longer than that.)
One lady took a flier and asked me some followup questions after reading
it. She asked what I thought Scientology was going to do in response to my
picketing. I told her I doubted it would have any effect on Scientology
itself, but that I hoped I could help raise awareness among people like
her, and that I hoped she would write to her congressfolk and the IRS.
A gentleman took a flier from me and asked me what I thought about the
teachings and the "science" of Scientology; I told him I thought there was
no basis for it and that it was fraudulent, but that if people wanted to
practice the parts of it that don't hurt people and don't break the law,
that I have no problem with that.
Peaches and Phr both helped pass out fliers (Peaches even went over to
Market Street, which was crowded with Cinco de Mayo revellers); my stats
above include the ones they gave out.
I try not to be confrontational with the Scientologists I encounter, but I
do try to make a bit of friendly contact with them, wishing them a good
afternoon and offering a smile as I stroll past. The Scientologists seemed
a bit more willing to make contact this time; although Ms. A (a young
Scientologist with long, dark hair) wouldn't make eye contact or return my
greeting, one or two others did, and Jeff Quiros was much friendlier this
month, as noted above. Mr. Get Your Facts Straight met my eye but his
expression seemed unfriendly.
As often happens, we had a couple of visits from people who seemed, more
likely than not, to be there to distract us. One was El Greco, a very
sweet-seeming gentleman with a Greek fisherman's cap who often appears
during our pickets and talks to us. I believe I've seen him go into the
org, but I don't know whether he's a Scientologist or not.
We also had a visit from a gentleman on a bicycle who was questioning us
loudly and ranting. He asked me whether I smoked cigarettes and whether I
drank beer, and when I told him I didn't want to discuss my personal life,
he shouted that I was discussing Scientologists' personal lives and that I
had no right to talk. I told him I was discussing the organization's
illegal acts. He said since I did bad things (although I hadn't admitted
anything), I shouldn't talk about them doing bad things. I told him I
didn't expect them to be perfect, just to stop breaking the law. He
continued to rant, and so I began to ignore him; not long after, he went
I don't know whether Scientology is engaging people to "dev-t" us
picketers (distract us from our task by trying to get us involved in
fruitless conversations); I think the more likely explanation is that
these are simply denizens of the San Francisco community and that they're
simply exercising their own rights to free speech. However, I try to stay
focused on my goals when I'm picketing - handing out fliers and
distributing information about Scientology - so either way, it generally
doesn't distract me for very long. Fortunately, most people are hurrying
along on their own errands, and it's more a matter of trying to keep their
attention long enough to give them a flier than having to extract myself
from a long conversation.
NO CLEVER CAPTION FOR OUR AFTER-PICKET CHAT
A little after 2 pm, we went over to our usual cafe for a drink (I had
orange mango) and a delightful chat.
It was a splendid picket and a splendid after-picket-get-together.
PEACEFUL EASY FEELING
It feels to me as though we currently have the sensible kind of picket
atmosphere that you would expect in a rational world - they're not happy
that we're there, but we're not getting the kind of vicious acts that have
been reported in Toronto recently. Instead, we're mostly being ignored,
and occasionally getting a friendly nod from a high-toned Scientologist. I
never forget that they could still be planning some kind of a more private
attack, something they could do without a public footbullet, but I'm
hopeful that, instead, we have a real detente.
My revenge picketers have been coming by on Sundays lately, so I probably
won't know until tomorrow whether I'll be harassed this month. I didn't
see any sign of a revenge picket last month.
I'LL BE THERE
Wow ... that was a really long report for such an uneventful picket!
My thanks to Peaches and Phr for joining me - it was great to see you!
The next regularly scheduled first-Saturday-of-every-month picket is June
3 from noon until 2 pm, rain or shine. See you then!
the activist formerly known as "Jour" (before $cientology outed me)
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.
This page was last updated on July 10, 2003.