Wayne Whitney's Postings: Number 119 In The Collection

From wwhit71151@aol.com Mon Aug 18 15:14:25 1997
Subject: Wayne Whitney - SF Org Picket Update PART 1 cont.
Date: 18 Aug 1997 13:14:25 GMT
Message-ID: <19970818131401.JAA28913@ladder02.news.aol.com>

Picket Update - San Francisco Org 83 McAllister Street - PART 1



This was my second picket this weekend. It was unplanned but because of the events of the day before I made a special effort to be there. It turned out to be a rather interesting day. It all started shortly after I arrived. I had just started my pacing around 1:00P when this guy approached me and asked why I was out there. I told him my story (mixed in with my usual presentation.)

Several staff members came out right about the time we were exchanging information. He was giving me the names and phones numbers of several influential people he knew in the local news media. When he saw them come out he yelled something to them. One of the staff members (the guy who usually works the front desk) immediately ran inside and got his camera and came out and took the guy's picture. Such a typical reaction for staff. Someone says "BOO" and they have to take their picture. I guess they have to robotically dramatizing Hubbard's idiotic insanity no matter how irrational it may be.

This act, however, REALLY pissed the guy off. He literally ran over and got right in his face and had quite a few harsh words to say to him. He said (in part), "If you EVER take my picture again I'm going to -----". I was always ready to step in and try to stop him if he got physical, however, since I don't have this obsessive need to control everyone (unlike Hubbard) I decided to just let the situation play itself out and see what happened. Once the guy saw that he had effectively gotten his message across he backed off and walked back to me. As he was walking back the staff member ran inside and called the police.

Within two minutes a police officer arrives and they start discussing the matter. About a minute later another police officer arrives, parks right in the lane of traffic (with his lights flashing) and gets out to act as his backup. I was going to go over there and join the conversation, partly out of curiosity, partly to defend myself but decided not to. I figured that this had NOTHING to do with me. The staff member simply harassed a pedestrian (by taking his picture) and the pedestrian got angry in response and wanted the staff member to know about it in no uncertain terms. Some people REALLY don't like having their picture taken by strangers, especially if it's to try to intimidate them. I figured that if the police felt the need to talk to me they certainly knew where to find me so I just continued my picket. Obviously the police felt it didn't concern me either.

I couldn't hear what they were saying most of the time but TWICE I heard one of the officers raise his voice and adamantly defend MY right to be out there. I heard him say, "He has EVERY RIGHT to be out here ---- " Apparently the staff member tried to convince the officers to make me go away because (in his view) I was instigating violence. The police officers would have no part of it. Quite frankly a lot of the police officers agree with what I'm doing out there, I know, they've told me so.

As they were walking back to their cars, circumstances being what they were, each officer passed on one side of me. As they did the one on the right kind of smiled and said, "Hey, how's it going?"

When they got back to their cars I couldn't quite hear what they were saying but by their actions and the tone of their voices they seemed rather annoyed at having been called out for such a petty little dispute. I don't blame them.


This weekend I had a lot of things to do on Saturday so I put my picket off until Sunday. I left my apartment expecting this to be just another usual picket. Was I in for a surprise!

When I arrived in San Francisco I was quickly informed that the "Gay Pride Parade" down Market Street was that day and was just about ready to get started. I forget how many hundreds of thousands of people show up to watch this every year. It's a HUGE annual event.

My first thought when I heard this was, "Bummer! This is certainly going to overshadow my picket." When I turned the corner and saw that the street in front of the Org was blocked off to traffic I thought, "Bummer! Now what am I going to do?" After making a couple of laps in front of the Org the ole proverbial light bulb went off over my head and I thought, "Hey! I can get a LOT more exposure if I go back around the corner, mingle with the crowd (with my sign prominently displayed) and watch the parade myself".

I went back to the civic center plaza and staked out my spot on the sidewalk. It was a PERFECT location. KOFY TV channel 20 (a main station here in the bay area) had a large stage set up across the street and was broadcasting the whole thing live. Every time they panned the crowd with their camera I made sure my sign was prominently displayed.

The Mayor in his "Willie mobile" went by. The city supervisor went by. The police chief with a large following of police officers went by, all with their lights flashing. The fire department had a big turnout. There were so many floats and marching bands and things that this parade lasted over 3 1/2 hours.

Many people on the floats were tossing out free stuff to the crowd. I caught a long stemmed rose, several beaded necklaces, a cassette tape, a handful of condoms and some candy. So there I was wearing my beads, waving my picket sign high up in the air in one hand and my rose in the other. I fit right in with the crowd and yet I stood out. It was the perfect effect I was going for. I was having a blast.

I know I was clearly visible to the crowd and to all those participating because one guy jumped off his float, ran up to me shouting, "HOLD UP YOUR SIGN. HOLD UP YOUR SIGN". Then he took my picture and said, "Thanks, that's great!" Then he jumped back on his float before it drove away.

Even with all these festivities going on there were still many people who would stop and ask me about $cientology and to get some of my fliers. There were many who just stopped by to thank me for holding up my sign like I was. Apparently I was expressing a lot of peoples opinions and they wanted to let me know. I even ran into several regular ARS posters out there. It was so cool.

Later in the afternoon a young woman was attracted to my sign so she came over to see what it was about. She was funny and clever, a real character. We ended up hanging out together for the last half hour of the parade. She let me in on the fact that she had gotten almost every body part of hers pierced. She even showed me her tongue. It was my first opportunity to see a real live pierced tongue up close. OH MY GOD, YUCK!

After the parade, and still all pumped up, I went back to the Org. After all, I was there to picket the Org and I didn't want them to think I'd forgotten about them. So I did another hour out there, complete with beads and (now wilted) rose, before calling it a day. All total I was out there about six hours that day.

All in all it was quite a happening day. They REALLY do get all dressed up and act like you see on TV. It was kind of like one giant street party all afternoon, a regular Mardi Gras here in San Francisco. A day that started out looking like it was going to be a bust ended up being one of my most fun-filled, productive days picketing. Do I know how to party or what?


Today the utility company was working across the street so it was clearly posted "NO PARKING" all in front of the Org. It was a reason to celebrate, no vehicles to obstruct the view of my picket. Yea!

Despite the signs drivers were stopping anyway. Every time a police officer would come over and tell them that they had to "move it along". I watched this happen quite a few times.

Then this guy pulls up in a van and stops. He gets out and starts to put some money in the meter. I thought I'd do the guy a favor and warn him, before he wasted his money, that the police were strictly enforcing the rules. I said, "You shouldn't park there today. The police JUST came by not more than -----". He abruptly cut me off by shouting, "JUST GET OUT OF MY FACE". I said to myself, "OK I tried to warn him" and just walked away to continue my picket.

If he had just listened to me for a few seconds I would have pointed out an open space just down the street. Instead of being grateful he decide to bite my head off. It turned out he was a Scientologist dropping off something at the Org. If I had known he was a Scientologist I wouldn't have said anything because I know how reactive and volatile Scientologists can be, especially to someone like me.

Sure enough, less than 30 seconds later the officer comes running up. He asked me where the driver was. I pointed to the Org and said, "I think he's in there. The officer poked his head in the door and told the guy that he had to move his van. Apparently the guy told him that he would be out in just a second because the officer went back to the sidewalk and started waiting, VERY impatiently. After a couple of minutes of waiting he took out his book and started writing up a ticket.

As the officer was writing up the ticket a staff member comes out and tries to convince him not to. A little argument ensued. About five minutes later the driver comes out and he too tries to convince the officer not to write it up. No luck -- HE GOT THE TICKET!

I know that the driver biting off my head like he did wasn't necessarily a Scientology programmed reaction. Almost anyone could have done it. However, when the officer told me that he wrote the ticket despite both of them pleading with him I have to admit that for quite sometime I was saying to myself, "YIPPEE, YIPPEE, YIPPEE". Hearing him say that had scratched a long-standing itch I've had. After watching so many Scientologists acting so arrogant, thinking they could lie and bully their way into getting what they want. Here was one that finally got put back in his place right in front of me. One more "YIPPEE" here. There, that's better.

By the way, I believe the van driver was the same "truck" guy who said to me "I hate to see you taking such a loss out here" a couple of weeks earlier. I didn't recognize him at first but now that I think back I'm pretty sure it was him.


When I left for the day I arrived on the train platform and looked down the tunnel to see if my train was going to arrive or had just left. While I was doing this some guy on the bench behind me said, "How much are they paying you to hold that sign?" I turned around and said, "What?" somewhat surprised and baffled by his question. He repeated, "How much are they paying you to hold that sign out there for them." At this point I had become quite annoyed and said, "They are not paying me ANYTHING, I'm trying to keep people OUT of that cult. He replied with, "Yeah, right!" in a very disbelieving, condescending tone of voice.

Unfortunately, this was one of those rare times when my train was pulling up to the platform just as I got there so I didn't have a chance to pursue this guy's inquiry. I guess I just kind of shook my head in disbelief and boarded my train. I really wished that I had had time to pursue it because as I was trying to deal with my annoyance I became intrigued by the question of how someone could see me holding a sign which read, "In my opinion SCIENTOLOGY IS A SCAM" and then come to the conclusion that I was trying to lure people inside. I became very curious to know what his thought process was that would lead him to that conclusion.

I guess in this case I just have to live with the fact that if I continue to attract thousands of people's attention to something intending one result a few will inevitably come to a conclusion that's exactly the opposite of the one I'm trying to produce. I've even observed the same kind phenomena in the sick, twisted world of Scientology. From what I've seen a few percent DO seem to have had observable gains but the VAST, VAST MAJORITY that I've witnessed or heard about have just ended up getting hurt. I guess I should just naturally expect that there will always be SOME exceptions to EVERY rule.


This Sunday when I arrived I was surprised to see that the Org staff had set up a table out front and a team of recruiters were giving out "free" E-meter demonstrations. Several staff (and I think some public members) were also handing out fliers and those pink personality tests. There was quite a little bee hive of activity out there.

My first reaction was, "OH NO! I've got to get the warning message out". I almost rushed right home to write a post entitled "RED ALERT AT SF ORG". After about fifteen minutes I settled down, came back to my senses and put things back into perspective. I said to myself, "Now Wayne, let's not overreact and get all melodramatic. Let's find out what's going on and then figure out the best way to deal with this." It was at this point that I decided the subject line for my picket report for the day would be the more low-keyed "SF Org Intensifies Recruiting Efforts".

My policy since I started picketing has been to never overtly try to disrupt what they are doing. Unfortunately this often creates quite a conflict in me. When I'm dealing with this organization I have this constant balancing act going on inside. What I WANT to do is quite often VERY different from what I ACTUALLY do. Sometimes when there's an urgent situation I might drift a bit into that gray area but for the most part I keep to my original game plan. If I continue to do this I should be able to continue working toward my goal concerning Scientology indefinitely.

Today my plan turned out to be no different. I finally decided that my best course of action to deal with this new development was to just leave them completely alone and just let them do their thing out there. I certainly didn't ignore what was going on however. In fact I was VERY interested in EVERYTHING that was going on. What are they doing? How are the people responding? Have I given everyone a chance to hear what I have to say? Who did they just lure inside and how where they behaving when they came back out? So many additional questions to stay on top of PLUS trying to keep my usual picket going. I certainly had my hands full.

As this situation unfolded I was encouraged to see that the more people they got to go over to their table the more would come over to me to hear what *I* had to say. Many times they would get up from their table and walk DIRECTLY over to me. My plan seemed to be working. I'd let their staff lure people over and get them interested in hearing about Scientology and then I would take over and give the person the REAL facts about their organization.

I was also encouraged by the fact that even though *I* wouldn't personally go over and disrupt the proceedings at the table didn't mean that OTHER people wouldn't do it on their own. A number of times I heard a passerby say to someone holding the cans something like, "Hey, you better go over and talk that guy over there (pointing to me) and find out what your getting yourself into". It was shortly after this kind of thing started that the staff decided to wrap it up for the day and pull it ALL back inside.

Today was DEFINITELY another successful picket despite this new development. I'm glad I stayed to see it through.

Wayne Whitney

To be continued in PART 2