Wayne Whitney's Postings: Number 124 In The Collection

From wwhit71151@aol.com Wed Aug 27 13:06:34 1997
Subject: Wayne Whitney - Picket Report Aug 23-24
Date: 27 Aug 1997 11:06:34 GMT
Message-ID: <19970827110601.HAA06681@ladder01.news.aol.com>

Picket Report - San Francisco Org 83 McAllister Street (Aug 23 -24)

Hi Everyone,

First I'd like to thank everyone who showed up this past Saturday. I'm always reluctant to post names unless I have permission so I hope no one gets offended if I don't mention who you are.

On one hand I was a little disappointed this weekend that this picket was kind of a "bust". I was expecting a large turnout of Scientologists but it turned out to be pretty much the usual number compared with about a month ago. On the other hand I was VERY encouraged by the lack of activity there. After almost four weeks of increasing activity every weekend (and the fact that I heard the Jive Aces were going to be there) I really expected a much bigger turnout. If this past weekend is any indication it looks like their big 18 month intensive PR campaign may have already reached it's climax and is now fizzling out.

When I first arrived at noon the place appeared unusually dead. They had the front door open but there weren't even any members out front on their lunch break as there usually are when I arrive.

Since things were so slow it took me a while to get in the picketing mood. If I can't find a source of motivation from the environment to get me kick-started then I have to create it from within. Often times all I have to do is go back and read some of their advertisements they used to send me and review the places I highlighted that really pissed me off. A couple of times all I had to do was look at that picture of Mark Ebner (?) the guy who wrote that article for Spy magazine. In that picture he's got that look that just sums up my own feelings about this organization and I'm instantly there, in the "zone", ready to do a whole afternoon of picketing.

I slowly wound myself up doing my usual thing for about 30 minutes. Finally I started to see some signs of life inside. About 12:45P I saw Stewart (one of the course supervisors) point directly at me and then turn around and say something to the executive director Linda Johnson. He looked a bit upset. Then they both went back and forth a number of times with him still pointing at me. It looked like they were having a bit of an argument in there. Seeing their little exchange certainly put a smile on my face, but then if you knew me you'd know that I sometimes get amused by little things.

Around 1:00P they brought out the table for their "free" E-meter demonstrations. This time, however, they set it up quit a bit closer to the sidewalk where I do my pacing. Once everything was all set up they came out in force. There were about 6 staff members who came out and started aggressively trying to get people to come over and partake in the demonstration. The one blonde (I think her name is Tonya) would often yell out, "Come on over. Do you want to see a thought? IT'S FREE, IT'S FREE." I expected this kind of activity from them but what I DIDN'T expect was for the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR herself to come out and stand right in my way. She stood right in the middle of the sidewalk near the place where I often turn around. She KNOWS that's where I do my pacing. She literally forced me to walk around her.

Perhaps they are trying to give me the impression that I'm not having an effect on them. Perhaps she was trying to keep me away from their table. Perhaps they are trying to provoke me into creating some kind of an incident out there. Until I get some kind of evidence as to what their motives are all I can do is speculate and continue to deal with them as I see fit.

So there we all were, me picketing and them recruiting. What a sight!

They would occasionally lure some people over and with the meter try to "demonstrate a thought". More often than not the person they hit on would simply refuse, showing absolutely no interest. Some would listen to the recruiter, glance at me a couple of times, and THEN refuse. One guy they hit on pointed directly at me and said, "That guy over there says it's all a scam". The recruiter persisted. The guy finally throws his hands up in the air, shakes his head and says, "I want NOTHING to do with it, it's just a scam!" He then walks away. Every time something like this happened, where the person refused to get involved because they saw me out there, the recruiter would try to laugh it off as if it didn't bother them. I'm not kidding, they would actually laugh as if trying to convince themselves that it didn't matter.

One young couple they hit on eventually walked over to their table. As they were passing me the woman gets this smile on her face and then whispers in my ear, " I totally agree with your opinion. I just want to play with their funny little meter a bit."

These were all people who I didn't have to say a SINGLE word to. Just me being out there, simply holding my sign up for them to see, was all it took to provoke these kind of responses in many of them.

This lasted until about 2:00P and then they packed everything up and went back inside. That was the end of their big recruiting push for the day.

It was around this time, perhaps a little earlier, that several other picketers showed up. Because there were now others Alex (who I used to call the Steve Martin look-a-like) had to come out and start handing out THEIR literature. When I'm out there by myself I guess they figure I'm not worth the effort so I pretty much get free run of the place. I guess that's one advantage of solo pickets -- NO competition most of the time.

Well the Jive Aces never showed up. Around 4:30 two of us decided to call it a day and go to the bakery next door for some coffee. It was here that we met several others who became VERY interested in what Scientology was all about. One turned out to be a guy who's friend had just gotten involved in the cult about two months earlier. His friend apparently got lured in because he had been abused by several psychiatrists when he was younger and was attracted to Scientology's anti-psychiatry stand. This guys' hot button was the fact that they promised to get rid of all psychiatrists. One woman's awhile back was the fact that her husband had just died the month before and she was looking for comfort. My main hot button that got me involved in 91 was the fact that they promised to cure my back injury. EVERYONE has their own hot button(s) that makes them vulnerable to cults like this.

As we were talking and I was passing out leaflets this guy happened to mention that he was inside the Org when a bunch of them were talking about me. It appears that today a bunch of them were gathered around in the lobby laughing at me. He said they were talking about taking up a collection and inviting me out to lunch because I was getting so many more people interested in Scientology. I kind of had to laugh when I pictured that scene because I know how they ALWAYS have to put a positive spin on a negative situations no matter how ridiculous. I see it more as "group bank" in action where they get together and pump each other up so they don't have to look at what's REALLY going on. I see this as them kind of like circling the wagons.

Hearing this reminded of the time I was still at the mission and I was the only one on course and had been for quite sometime. Staff finally managed to get another person to sign up for a course. Within a couple of days, however, he became a totally dissatisfied customer and blew (probably as soon as they started hitting him up for some REAL money). Anyway, what was so funny (and shows just how wacky these guys can get sometimes) was that for the rest of the week staff were so giddy with glee because, as one of them put it, "Our stats are up 100% this week". It didn't matter how hard I tried to get them to see that they had just made ANOTHER dissatisfied customer and that I was STILL the only one on course. I just could not make them see the obvious. Their stats on paper were up 100% and that's all they cared about.

I'm also aware of Hubbard's strict policy of "no case on post". This meant you had to police your own thoughts and NEVER look at anything about Scientology in a negative light. Because of this they all HAD to put a positive spin on the situation, at least openly. I personally know of quite a few instances where some staff members voluntarily turned themselves in to the ethics officer to have their thinking modified because of some entheta (negative thoughts) creeping in. Timothy Baxter from the San Francisco mission is a classic example of this type of thought control in action. He even admitted to me that he did this. He never admitting having "doubts" instead he said something about "getting sticky" so he'd go to the ethics officer at the Org, pay them the money to help him get "unstuck" and then his stats would go back up. That guy is one of the few staff members that actually gives me the creeps. You just HAD to be there to hear him tell it in his own words to see why I almost broke out in goose bumps. That guy's spooky.

There's still another reason I don't take their claims too seriously. It's true, I DO get more people interested in Scientology. In fact that's why I'm out there. I can't get my warning message out until I first get the person interested in hearing about it. In that sense they are right. Fortunately, very few people walk in there on their own. The few that do are already interested in Scientology BEFORE they get there. When they come back out I know that they are interested so it gives me a perfect opportunity to get MY message across to them. That's how *I* see the situation.

I know Scientologist often think A = B. I've seen SO MANY specific examples of it that I can confidently make that generalization. Scientology courses and therapy sessions promote that type of thinking. So if I'm out there and someone walks in they just assume it's BECAUSE I'm out there. You know, Wayne's out there, someone walks in so obviously it's BECAUSE Wayne's out there. That's the way THEY see it. Scientology viewpoints. How silly.

Only one person that I know of has gone in BECAUSE of me. I saw this particular guy come out so I went up to him and asked if he was thinking of signing up for anything. He said, "No. I just saw your sign there and got curious to see what kind of a scam they were going to run on me." That reply was enough to convince me that he wasn't in any danger. I gave him a Zemu leaflet anyway, just in case. When he got across the street I saw him throw the literature they had given him into the trash can. Case closed.

If I saw increasing numbers of people going in to buy books then I might take their claims more seriously. The fact is that the whole time I've been picketing I've only seen ONE person go in and actually buy some books. In his case it looked like they had hit on him previously because when he first arrived there was a staff member (impatiently) waiting for him outside to immediately escort him in. When the guy came out a short while later he had about five books with him. He started walking to the bakery next door. The staff member ran out after him and asked, "You're coming right back aren't you?" When he assured him that he was the staff member waited right outside to immediately escort him back inside once again. They certainly kept HIM on a very short leash.

I have to admit though that every time they make statements like the one above a part of me DOES start to wonder and have doubts. I guess it's part of being human. Fortunately I know a lot of their little mind tricks, I know how they think, and I know how they operate. A little knowledge goes a long way. I also know that I've seen so much evidence that I am creating the effect that I'm trying to create that I can pretty much put any doubts on the back burner. I just need to keep everything in perspective, keep looking at THE FACTS and from those determine what kind of an effect I'm REALLY having out there. I do this and all looks well again.

SUNDAY (Aug 24)

I returned the next day (Sunday) for many reasons. One, I wanted to see if the Jive Aces were going to show up. Two, I was curious to see if the low amount of activity of the day before was just a fluke or if a pattern was starting to develop. Three, I was curious about their E-meter demonstrations. I wanted to see if they really were just keeping it out there for only one hour at a time and then pulling it all back inside. Then there are all my usual reasons which I won't mention.

During the four hours I did today it's beginning to look like things are going back to the way they were about a month ago except for the one hour from 1:00P to 2:00P when they give out their E-meter demonstrations. We'll see if this continues.

As I was pacing today two young girls turned the corner just as I was approaching it. As soon as they saw me one of them asked, "What do you have against Scientology?" Unfortunately I knew their father (a long time member) was standing about twenty feet behind me. I expected him to come rushing over and create a scene so I just blurted out my answer in one sentence. It was hardly the way I wanted to answer their question. I really expected him to say something negative about me when they got back to him but as far as I could tell he didn't say anything to them. I know he saw and heard everything. Interesting.

With this incident, following a few similar ones, I'm starting to notice a trend. Public members have been coming up to talk to me more and more. It's still too early to tell what this means or where it will all lead yet. I'd like to think that my persistent, non-confrontational approach is starting to have a positive effect and getting some of them to at least wonder about the organization they've become involved in.

Wayne Whitney