June 12, 1998
Picket report; Atlanta, Georgia
Subject: Picket Report; Non-Confront in Atlanta
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 21:27:56 GMT
Picket report; Non-confront in Atlanta.
Mad_Cow and I arrived at the cult's building a few minutes after
11:00. Cow had his usual multiboard sign, and I carried a hand held
that read "Remember Wayne Whitney" on one side, and "WWW.XENU.NET" on
Almost immediately we began getting honks from passing cars, and 'what
are you picketing against?"s from passersby. Two waitstaff from the
restaurant across the street came over to start with, and accepted
flyers from us.
There was little foot traffic at the org just then; we saw one person
come out and walk over to the restaurant for lunch, and a couple other
people, one going in, one coming out and heading toward the parking
lot next door. The big front windows were empty of staring eyes.
We were expecting handlers, as on our previous pickets, but after
11:30, we began to wonder. There was some foot traffic, and we
continued to hand out flyers and talk to people about the cult.
Several folks went out of there way to talk to us, telling us they had
seen the '60 Minutes' program about CAN. Way to go, CBS!
Mad_Cow had a couple new signs - my favorite was 'No Science in
Scientology'. Another good one was 'Scientology Harasses Critics'.
At noon I had a dentist appointment; luckily, it was only 3 blocks
from the org. After a brief check of his handywork, the doc sent me on
my way - you can guess which way I went! Mad_Cow was still
walking, shuffling signs and passing out entheta. He said that a
fellow had come by, and told a story of being in the cult. The guy had
needed to go to a family function - and ended up locked in a room
being sec-checked. When they realized that he would get violent, they
unlocked the door to get help, and he bolted. I was a little
disappointed to have missed that conversation! But a few minutes
later, who shows up but the guy himself! We spoke for about five or
ten minutes, and I made sure he had my e-mail address. He said he
thought he had been brainwashed, and it took the sec-check to show him
that something was wrong. He told me his name, but I have never had a
facility with remembering names, so I promptly forgot it... No prob;
Mad_Cow got his part of the conversation on tape with a miniature
recorder attached to his signpole.
By now it was about 12:40. Traffic through the cult's doors had
expanded! Three guys coming out for smokes - and just barely glancing
at us. They seemed to only stay out a puff or two's worth; or perhaps
I was preoccupied with all the passersby talking about the cult with
us. About 1:00, I started to get hungry, and Mad_Cow agreed we should
leave soon. It was getting awfully hot - upper 80s, and humid. But
then we saw Susan coming out the door across the street! Mad_Cow
hollered out congrats for her promotion, and she yelled back a thanks,
then disappeared around the building. Mad_Cow was devastated she would
not come over and visit. He thinks she might be save-able. I hope he
is right; she has always been polite to all of us picketers.
Just as we had decided that we would get no handlers, and were getting
a little worn down by the heat, a curious thing happened. A man came
out of the print shop next door to where we were picketing and began
berating us for picketing in front of HIS building and on HIS
sidewalk. I told him that it was not his sidewalk, asked what building
we were in front of, but received no answer, just an angry scowl. He
got into his vehicle, and as he pulled out Mad_Cow went over and
talked to him for a minute. Mad_Cow told me that the guy said he got a
lot of business from the cult. Mad_Cow tried to give him a flyer, but
he just said "Fuck off!", and drove away.
It was now past one o' clock (1300 for our non American timekeeping
friends), and Mad_Cow had been picketing for 2 hours - which was just
about the amount of change in the meter. Fortunately, the car was
still in its slot, and a successful getaway was established!
So we never got handled; for the first time here in Atlanta, the cult
persued a policy of total non-confront. I guess its a good thing they
didn't have sprinklers to turn on - we would have loved a good
soaking! In all, we talked to about eight people about the cult, and
to several of them for more than a few minutes, and handed out about a
dozen flyers. And even got a little tan!
'Til next time;