Sunday, February 24, 2008

We Are Anonymous. We Are Legion.

I managed to come face to face with current events last night. This was not something I had planned on. Hell, I never even had a contingency plan in case I was ever in this situation. Last night I ran into Anonymous.

If you are unaware, Anonymous is the group that has declared open war on the Church of Scientology. It is essentially a collective of people engaged in tactics such as DDoS attacks on Church web servers, dispersal of Church related materials and in-person protests of Scientology centers and individuals.

I was sitting on the porch of Hot Corner enjoying a nice cappuccino when I first spotted the man. He was standing about 10 feet away from the patio with a large box of papers that he was attempting to hand out. Some were interested in what he was peddling, some were not.

Because I am a people watcher, I kept an eye on this guy to see what was going on. After his third or fourth interaction I happened to catch the word Xenu and excitedly realized who he was.

A little background on me. I am a geek, through and through, and I love obsessive amounts of unimportant knowledge. I first became interested in Scientology around 1998 when I heard of Lisa McPherson. Her sad story and untimely death led me to investigate Scientology as best I could at the time. Around 1999 I discovered Operation: Clambake and read a good deal on the topic. All things considered, I've done a fair amount of research on the topic and read information from both sides of the argument in order to form the most well rounded opinion that I could.

A keen interest in current affairs has also left me acutely aware of Anonymous, their goals and their methods. I spoke with the gentleman about these things and even proselytized on Anonymous' behalf for a few minutes.

What I found most interesting from my discussions with Anonymous last night is that I apparently know a great deal more than the guy handing out fliers on the street. We discussed Anonymous, 4chan and, of course, Scientology. It became readily apparent that this Anonymous member was a Something Awful goon who had heard of current events via their forums.

That he was inspired to take to the streets and do his part for what he considers a just cause is to be commended. I just found it a tad odd that he had not armed himself with knowledge beforehand.

Back in the day I used to enjoy getting into long winded debates with Christians (primarily evangelicals). These were never negative affairs. It is not my place to insult the beliefs of others, whether I agree or not. It was more for obtaining a better understanding of both the nature of faith and the facts and details that inspire that faith. I went into those arguments armed with knowledge. If you can't discuss the minutiae of a topic, then you have no point in debating it.

And unfortunately, I felt that the person standing here with me lacked that ability. I did my best to educate and discuss in the short amount of time that we spoke. I managed to get copies of all 6 fliers he was handing out as well as a poster.

For any of you who may be in the Atlanta area, be aware that the "Second world wide protest against the Church of Scientology" will be held on March 15, 2008. This protest will be held outside the Atlanta branch of the CoS, at 4480 North Shallowford Rd, Dunwoody, GA. The protests commence at 12:30 pm. According to the flier, should you wish to contact the local Anonymous chapter, you can do so at AtlantaAnonymous@gmail.com.

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