[sf-lug] Gutsy again

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 11:54:08 PDT 2007


On 23 Oct 2007 16:07:16 -0400, Blake Haggerty <Blake.Haggerty at sapphire.com>
> Is it Larry Flynt???

No, the guy is Lawrence Wollersheim.  He is the only person to successfully
sue Scientology and win a money judgment.


They are still fighting him, though, and that is why I didn't want to
mention his name until we got him squared away.  We now have installed Gutsy
on a notebook with 768 MB ram and 2.6 ghz chip and a 60 GB hd.  We are now
just going to be installing Kino and Cinelerra and a few other video things,
including our very own DTP Jonathan's Video Glue, which are bash scripts for
automating the capture, compression and exporting of video.

This guy is really really brave.  He got suckered into joining this cult,
and then realized how bad the situation was, and tried to extract himself.
When they saw what he was doing, they kidnapped him, took him onto a boat,
isolated him and starved him, and they drove off all of his customers from
his photography business, and drove off his wife.

He then sued them and won in the trial court and through countless appeals
which continues to this very day, despite the fact that he sued them in

In the course of their appeals, they alleged that they had the right to do
the things that they did to him because it was all part of their "religion"
and they thus had a First Amendment right (freedom of religion) not to be
sued for what they did!!  The California Supreme Court said nonsense to
that, and that ruling stands today as a beacon that prevents Scientology
from doing the same shit to others.  The really amazing thing is that I read
about this guy's case when I was in law school, because he has changed US
Constitutional history (First Amendment).

The really incredible thing is that I met the guy through a mutual
acquaintance at the public middle school project that our this LUG community
is supporting with FOSS.  This has always been my personal goal for our work
at the school --> to achieve a mini digital tipping point here locally in
our community.  So we have given FOSS boxes to students and janitors and
neighbors near the school, and now we are working with this guy and
supporting him in his battle with Scientology.  He is going to be using the
notebook to edit video that I shot of him talking about how to fight
Scientology, and he is going to post it to the Internet in several places.
So this is certainly a rewarding bonus to our work to bring Free Software to
the world -- busting secretive cults like Scientology.

Scientology thrives only in the dark.  They are first and foremost a
business.  Their method is to get either free labor or free money from their
victims.  They have something like a 95% turnover in their membership every
three years.  These victims donate thousands of hours of free labor of the
course of that 3 year period, and hundreds or thousands of dollars per
person.  If people realize that they have the right to fight back against
Scientology, and that they are not alone, they are more likely to exercise
their rights.

Lawrence has basically said that the goal is not to eliminate Scientology,
because you can't do that.  But if his group can bring enough attention to
Scientology's negative work, it will mean that they do less and less of the
really negative stuff.

And since this guy works with lots and lots of other people, he will be in a
position to contribute positive word of mouth for FOSS, thereby supporting
our efforts to spread FOSS.
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