Picket Report, Bill

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Edmonton Enturbulation 2000

Preliminary Picket Report

Edmonton, Alberta March 12, 2000

Weather: -6 Celcius (cold.. brrrr), somewhat overcast, slight flurries
Time: 2:00 PM till ~4:00 PM 
Attendees: Six or seven determined enturbulators 
Handlers: Five or six scientologists® 
Traffic: Little foot traffic, light vehicle traffic. 

My primary interest in attending this picket was to see the "handling"
efforts of scientologists first hand. I have been following the
scientology slow motion train wreck since the Erlich raid and the infamous
a.r.s rmgroup but I have never known or talke d to any scientologists.
This picket took care of that, in spades.

The weather was somewhat on the cold side and I was late and uprepared but
I headed down anyway. When I arrived there was a group of 10 or 12 people
milling about in front of the scientology building. It was difficult to
tell the critics from the scientol ogists (except for the two with the
picket signs) and people were understandably leary about me when I showed
up. I wasted no time in making sure everyone knew that I am a critic.

I milled around a bit and read one of the critical flyers when I was
"engaged" by one of the scientology handlers. He walked up to me and
demanded to know who I was. I demanded right back and we exchanged first
names. He turned out to be a 25 year public scientologist named Andre and
we proceeded to have a fairly lengthy conversation. Andre seemed like a
very nice gentleman and I enjoyed the conversation. He seemed to be
interested in why I was a critic so I began enumerating the many things I
had read th at I found repugnant about the cientology organization. Snow
White, Lisa Mcpherson, fair game against so many critics and ex-members
etc. His canned response seemed to be that people in scientology had
indeed made some "mistakes" in the past but that they had been corrected.
I asked if he agreed with policies like fair game to which he replied that
the fair game policy had been cancelled. I just can not believe that
scientologists will hold up the fair game "cancellation" order and expect
people to believ e that when their actions are so blatantly opposite. He
did admit that he does not personally agree with the idea of fair game. He
also admitted that LRH made mistakes which is something I didn't expect.

I mentioned the Erlich raid to Andre and he told me that he had known Mr.
Erlich while he was taking courses at Flag and Mr. Erlich was the cramming
officer. Right off the bat, he told me Mr. Erlich was a wife beater and
that he was scared of Mr. Erlich, that he had been assaulted by him. I
asked why he had not gone to the authorities about this assault to which
he backpedaled and said Mr. Erlich had not actually physically assaulted
him, but he sure was scared of him. I also asked if he had witnessed Mr.
Elrich beating his wife but, of course, he hadn't but said "you can tell
when these things are going on". Kind of amazing to witness the DA like
this although Andre gave me a blank look when I smiled and said "Ah yes,
the DA begins." Andre didn't seem to have an answer as to why the
infalible tech of the most ethical group on the planet could allow all
these "bad apples" to rise to postions of power within his organization.
We talked a bit more and were joined by another critic so I l eft Andre to
handle the other critic and started to mill around a bit more.

There was an idle picket sign on the ground so I grabbed it and started
walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the scientology building. I
made sure the side that read "No OT's here" was visible to the
scientologists in the building. The other side of the sign read "Why won't
Mick Mcoy call his mom?". Another scientologist came up to ask if I know
Mr. Mcoy but, of course, I don't and asked the scientologist why Mr. Mcoy
won't call his mother. He responded that if I knew Mr. Mcoy's mother, I
wouldn't want to talk to her either and said something along the lines of
"She's a bitch". I pointed out that it is very convenient to attack people
who are not around to defend themselves. He muttered something back and
disappeared into the scientology building. I continued picketing with the
sign for a few more minutes until my hands started freezing. I put the
sign on the sidewalk, leaning against the scientology building with the
"No OT's here" side showing. It stayed there for about half an hour until
the sc ientology ED grabbed it and took it inside. Unfortunately, my
camera was warming up in my pocket and I missed that prime photo op.

At this time, one critic, ex-cos member Reg was having an animated
conversation with the tall scientologist wearing the baseball hat. Reg
apparently became disillusioned with scientology after he was advised to
take courses in Toronto to help out his case . Reg spent a lot of money
and time going to Toronto for the courses but found out the course and/or
instructors turned out to be crap. He tried to "make things go right" to
no avail. Reg was explaining this to the scientologist to which he was
treated to accusations of it all being his own fault. Things got a little
heated with the scientologist yelling at Reg that he was a "fucking
asshole", among other things. This was the only ugly episode I witnessed
but things cooled down fairly quickly and they end ed up shaking hands.

Things continued like this for a while. I milled around a bit more and
took some more pictures. Towards the end of the picket I heard the
funniest thing of the day. The tall scientologist started proclaiming how
we were all organized and were paid to be h ere. He said this with all
sincerity. I must say that one of the things that really made an
impression on me was hearing people talk the scientology talk as if it was
real. I found it fascinating and unreal.

Another interesting event took place when a passer by walked up and began
talking to me. Right away, the scientologist camera lady was in his face
taking his picture. She could not have known whether this person was a
critic, neutral or maybe even a scien tologist. I am sure this would be an
effective method of turning any neutral people into critics though. It
turned out the this person was a critic and he told his story of how the
cult showed up at his high school for recruiting and how their methods rea
lly pissed him off, saw friends sucked in, etc. Standard tech creates yet
another critic.

Around 4:00 pm the consensus was to pack it in. We gathered up a few
things and the four of us who remained began walking away from the
building. The ED hung out for a while on the sidewalk but quickly
disappeared inside and we did not notice anyone follo wing us. Are we
paranoid or what? ;-)

All in all, I think it was quite a good picket. The mood of the critics
was very upbeat and I think this is the beginning of wave of Edmonton
Enturbulation (if the organzation lasts long enough, that is). The
scientologists I talked to seemed nice enough but I constantly had a the
feeling in the back of my mind that I was being lied to. There was not a
lot of traffic the whole time and the area seemed pretty dead in general
but we did get some media coverage (Edmonton Sun newspaper and A-Channel

I think it is important to continue picketing here. The scientology
building is just a few blocks away from Grant McEwan Community College
which, unfortunately, could provide them with ample, naive raw meat. I
think some picketing during more busy times a t Grant McEwan would go a
long way to some pre-emptive innoculations. Next time I will be way better
prepared (e.g. picket signs [that don't break :-]).

Can I have some of that money now? 

This page was last updated on July 10, 2003.