October 16, 1999 - Wulfen

Picketers (at various times): Me, Gregg, Gorilla (aka Artemis), Gypsyblue, Witling, Miss Kitty, David Palter, Nan McLean, Mike Argue, Gerry Armstrong.

Times: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Leaflets:
1200 (conservative total), which included:
Approximately 775 or so of Gregg's new Xenu/Crimes leaflet.
450 or maybe more of mine - No Science/Judges and LRH the Con Man/Human Cost.
(Get them here: http://www.total.net/~wulfen/scn/leaflets.html )

The saga:

Gregg and me started off the day by going by the Toronto Scientology Org - with a tape measure. At the September picket, a Scientologist tried to claim that Gregg was trespassing (while he was standing on the sidewalk) because the Org property extended out into the sidewalk. So, we measured the street. According to Gregg, who went to look at some city records, the width of Yonge Street at the Org is 66 feet exactly, from the storefront on one side to the storefront on the other. Guess what the width of Yonge Street from the centerline to the Org is? 33 feet. So, I suppose the Scientologist that told the off-duty officer last week that Gregg was trespassing was lying. How "ethical"...

Then, we went over to McDonald's, and met David Palter (Toronto ex-Scientologist, you can read an essay of his here: http://www.total.net/~wulfen/scn/palter.html ). After a bit of McFood, we met up with Gerry Armstrong (came in from Vancouver to picket with us) and Gorilla (formerly known as Artemis). Mike Argue wandered around, and then we set off to kit up.

Would you believe it, we got to the Org ten minutes early? So, we hung around until 10:00, and a couple of bike officers showed up, followed by the off-duty officer for the day. After a quick intro, we started picketing. Gorilla headed across the road, and the rest of us marshalled our signs and leaflets and started spreading entheta.

The morning settled down into its routine - picketers picketing (surprise), Scientologists trying to discourage/intimidate/provoke the aforementioned picketers. Dan was his usual "Ug the Big Tough Theta Being" self, getting in Gregg's face. He tried the "your son is a drug dealer" line, and when that didn't work tried to compare himself to a Jew in Nazi Germany. Gregg took loud exception to this, and tore a strip off of Dan. The police officer, standing nearby, didn't interfere, even when the confrontation got verbally heated. Really, when a Scientologist tries this line it only thrusts Scientology's moral and intellectual bankruptcy into the spotlight.

After a while, Dan started on me, which was a semi-new experience. When he tried the "are you on welfare" line, I had my tape recorder out. And, he started in on the "how's your girlfriend, how was your trip to New Brunswick" spiel. Since Gregg wasn't intimidated by Scientology harrassment of his family, what makes the cult think that I will be? Dan also threatened to sue me if I didn't take his picture off of my websites (in fact, I'm just babysitting them). Dan informed me that he is a businessman (oooh, I'm quaking...), and asked if I understood this. I just said "yes"... And now we'll see. For the record, the images that Dan are complaining about are (I'm pretty sure I found them all, first the URLs and then the image files):

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/3741/

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/3741/s/019.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/3741/n/019.jpg
(Dan is on the left in the above picture)

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/3741/s/005.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Congress/3741/n/005.jpg

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/cos/

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/cos/s/009.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/cos/n/009.jpg

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/cos/s/037.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/cos/n/037.jpg
(Dan is on the left in the above picture)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm020.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm020.jpg
(Dan is on the right in the black shirt in the above picture)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm021.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm021.jpg
(Dan is on the right in the black shirt in the above picture)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm031.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm031.jpg
(Dan is on the right in the black shirt in the above picture)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm051.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm051.jpg
(Dan is in the background; on the left with the black shirt)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm052.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm052.jpg
(Dan is in the background; on the left with his head turned away)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm056.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm056.jpg
(Dan is on the left with the black shirt)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm055.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm055.jpg
(Dan is the one scratching his back)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm086.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm086.jpg
(Dan is on the right, at least I think it's him)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm101.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm101.jpg
(Dan is on the left)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm102.gif
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/2167/rsm102.jpg
(Dan is facing the camera)

Dan may also be in the crowd in the images on this page, but I didn't check:

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Villa/5950/

Dan also moved into the realm of physical harrassment. He blocked my way when I was picketing (right in front of the police officer, but why should I complain while the True Face of Scientology is being given such favourable coverage?), and stopped me from proceeding down the sidewalk for about two minutes. He was fielded by Gerry Armstrong, and I was able to proceed. Later on, he snatched one of my flyers, and kept trying to do this. As I wandered back, the officer told me he'd talk to Dan.

However, the off-duty officer didn't get to Dan first, P.C. Thompson (who was on foot patrol in the area, community policing stuff afaik) did. It went like this: Gerry Armstrong was on the sidwalk under the Org's awning, and a Scientologist told him to get off of Org property (or some such thing). (This dates back to last picket, when the cult tried to claim that their property extended out onto the sidewalk - it doesn't.) After Gerry said he wasn't on Org property, Dan shoved him in the chest, pushing him to the middle of the sidewalk. Thompson was right there, and told Dan to stop shoving people, and Gerry to stay out of the cult's doorway. As far as I can tell Gerry wasn't there, but naturally Thompson is there to keep everyone's peace. Right, Dan? Just chalk this one up as another example of Scientology sleaze.

Over the course of the morning, Nan McLean (whoop!) and Gypsyblue showed up, as well as Witling and Miss Kitty. Nan is still made of steel, and refused all offers of a lighter sign, help across the road, etc. She passed out my Ron the Con Man/Human Cost leaflet, but naturally couldn't discuss the contents. Of course, we had our share of famed (um) local theta beings - Al Buttnor and Peter Ramsay. Ramsay hung around the barbershop street corner for a while at the start of the picket (across the road, I should have waved), and Buttnor didn't even come out to play. :-(

Lunch turned out to be inside, despite the wonderful weather (the patio was full, and there were ten of us). We squeezed in, and compared notes on the picket. Turns out that Dan threatened to sue Gregg as well, big surprise. Gerry was having a great time, and it was neat to hear Gerry discussing his time in Scientology. Hey, Toronto Scientologists - Gerry was on the Apollo, the most Scientological environment in the world (self-contained and Hubbard-originated) - now who's had more experience in Scientology?

The poor wait staff were rushed off their feet due to understaffing, but we still got out of there in time to get back. Dan and all the other morning handlers were gone, and the usual afternoon bunch took over, with one exception - Andy Hill was there, and he usually tag-teams with Dan in the morning. Andy Hill asked me how I'd been and what I'd been doing, for his report. I just said that he could put me down as evil and caved-in... Andy replied that I was silly (the gist of it, I forget the word he used), not evil. So does that mean I'm PTS, not SP? ;-)

The strange lady (the one who kept going on about "how many children have you killed") was there too, and she started in on the line of the day (welfare). I was slow in taking out my tape recorder, and she declined to continue rather than be taped (theta repellent, heh - pity it didn't work on Dan). She did remark on how slow I was, but that's fine - plenty more tape for her later.

A while into the afternoon, there was a flurry around the Org chapel - it was a wedding. I was wondering how the guests felt at having a wedding around the picket, and if whoever books the chapel had told the wedding party that there would be a picket on October 16th? Thing is, I faxed the Org with all our picket dates, and then hand-delivered a copy to the Hubbard Dianetics Foundation. So, the Org knew there would be a picket. And unless the wedding date was booked more than six months in advance, the cult apparently doesn't mind having a wedding near our picket. Shows how dangerous the cult really considers us, doesn't it? Food for thought...

And, about this time in the afternoon is when I committed my worst error in judgement since I started picketing. Mike Argue was engaged in a heated argument with some Scientologist, and had used more than a few sexual obscenities. To my discredit, I only addressed the individual incidents, and not the pattern of behaviour - I should have picked up on this earlier. Nan pointed out to me that this was not the message to be sending to passers-by about the picket, and I concurred. I should, however, have clued in to this earlier. (Also, as Gregg has pointed out in a separate post, Mike's behaviour contravened the picket advisory.)

So, we wandered over to Mike and beckoned him beside the Org. The police officer asked where we were going, and Andy Hill said that we were going to picket the wedding. I said no, we were just going over by the newspaper boxes. The police officer queried that we'd stay away from the wedding, and pointed out that it would be over the line (way over, in my opinion). I said yes, it would be, and would the officer like some kind of dividing line that picketers wouldn't cross? I also pointed out that we picketed places of business, not weddings.

That sorted out, Nan and me explained to Mike just how obnoxious his behaviour was, and that he should stop. As an audience, we had Andy Hill, another Scientologist, and the officer. We discussed the impression it gave, and how inappropriate the behaviour was. Mike agreed, and we all went back to picketing. Unfortunately, Mike did it again. >-| I pulled him aside, and we had another discussion, where I emphasized that the behaviour was inappropriate, among other things, and didn't say anything about the cult to boot. From then on, I'm pretty sure he quit doing that, but I'll keep my eye on this situation... If he keeps doing it, he can go do it on his own time not on picket time, as far as I'm concerned.

Another oddity came out of this - after the first discussion with Mike, Andy Hill told me that I had scruples, which is something I never expected to hear from a Scientologist. He also mentioned that when in a group effort, you have to respect the group mores (my rendition of his words) - which pretty much sums it up.

The afternoon wore on, and some of the picketers had to go. The Scientologists eased up on the pestering of critics as far as I could see, which usually happens in the afternoon. Gerry Armstrong fell into an interesting discussion with a nice (if not the nicest) Toronto Scientologist, rebutting her arguments (every one, as far as I could tell) with something on the lines of "no, that's not how Scientology does things, in Scientology..." etc. (my rendition of what he was saying). The Scientologist on the camera asked (rather sourly) why we weren't knocking off early. I answered that we hadn't run out of leaflets this time, and only stopped early during previous pickets for having run out of leaflets.

Five o'clock came, and after much herding of cats and a farewell to the off-duty officer, I managed to persuade everybody over to the other side of the road in a reasonably group-like mass and into the Duke of Gloucester. Inside, Gerry and Mike discussed how they felt about auditing the OT levels, and their realization that the whole thing was a pile of crap. This was quite the experience for me - it's one thing to read OT3 and see that you're supposed to talk to your "spirit fleas", it's quite another to see an otherwise normal person, with a straight face, describe how they talked to their body thetans. I now have no problem understanding how people wig out on this stuff.

While we were in the Duke, guess who stayed outside? Peter Ramsay, who showed up near the end of the picket to watch again, stayed by the Org waiting while we were inside. Gregg theorized that he could see the back of Gregg's head (Gregg was sitting with his back to the window), so hung around to see when we'd leave. When we did leave (7:15 or so, long chat), Ramsay started following us, at least until Gorilla readied his camera. With the PR Flap Camera ready to record his very theta behaviour, Ramsay stopped following us.

With that, another successful picket wound to an end. In fact, if we exclude the cult making trouble, this was one of the better pickets in Toronto. All it lacked was a record-setting leafletting. :-)

Vignettes and comments:

Peter Ramsay. Apparently when he was younger (around my age, maybe) he was dapper, handsome, and apparently pretty wealthy. Now, after more than twenty years in Scientology he's run down, used up, and certainly not wealthy. What a waste of human potential...

Gerry Armstrong. For some reason, I thought he'd be more terrifying. I mean, the cult shills on alt.religion.scientology keep after him quite a bit, so he must be quite suppressive, right? Um, nope. I'd be more terrified of Woozel, the toy dog owned by Stacy Brooks' mother. Sorry, Gerry... ;-)

Maybe a bit of detente at the next picket... I arranged with a local Scientologist that to ward of the Freezing Police Officer syndrome, the picketers and Scientologists would alternate buying the officer warm coffee, so that the officer doesn't freeze their buns off in the Canadian winter. Also, in case I forget to mention it, someone remind me to tell the police officer at the next picket that we don't consider it a breach of police neutrality to warm up in the Org occasionally...

While I was on a chocolate break, reading the posters in the windows of the HDF, a Scientologist started snapping pictures of me, so that I didn't notice. Strange, because the click of her camera shutter was pretty obvious. After the second picture I marched over to her, and in a voice loud enough for the officer to hear, said "Lady! If you're going to take my picture, you could at least give me enough warning to smile!" Got a laugh from the officer, and the Thetan Evil Eye from the Scientologist.

During another chocolate break, I was perusing the bookshelves inside the HDF (through the window), and Mario the HDF Missionholder snatched a clipboard away from just beside me. I hadn't actually noticed the clipboard, but he seemed pretty agitated... I wonder what it was? Hard-sell checklist?

Play nice, cult... Remember your criminal precedents. The next picket is November 20th, as archived here:

http://www.total.net/~wulfen/scn/picket.html

...and we hope that you guys can behave better next time. Less of the intimidation, ok? You watch your behaviour and we'll watch ours. (*cough* Argue *cough*)