A man wielding two 5-foot-long samurai swords was shot and killed in front of the Hollywood Scientology Celebrity Center this Sunday afternoon. Reports state that the man drove up to the front entrance of the center in a red convertible, emerged from his car, and approached the entrance of the building swinging brandishing the swords before he was shot by a guard from a private security company.
Authorities have yet to release the names of the parties involved, but state that the man who was killed had previously been associated with the church but was no longer involved. While an official investigation of the shooting is still pending, authorities who reviewed security videotape of the shooting states that the sword-wielding man was “close enough to hurt” the security guards in front of the building. The security guard shot the man with a semi-automatic weapon. Representatives from the Church of Scientology have declined to comment on the incident. The inner workings of the Church of Scientology has long been shrouded in secrecy despite their vigorous attempts for recruitment throughout the Los Angeles area.
The Church of Scientology was inspired by the works of L. Ron Hubbard, a popular science fiction writer in the 1950s and 60s. The Church has gained publicity since the recruitment of many famous and powerful actors in the Hollywood community such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley. The Celebrity Center, the scene of this Sunday’s shooting, is a popular hangout for the Scientology elite, featuring a hotel and several entertainment venues.
One of the most public movements by the church is called “Psychiatry Kills”. The movement is intended to bring light to problems with the way that mental health treatment is currently administered in the U.S. and abroad. The Church has a museum on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood with large banners displaying children being strapped to beds and tortured with what appears to be some sort of electric device.
A great deal of controversy continues to surround Scientology. The U.S. government recognizes the Church as an authorized non-profit 501c3 organization, which means that it is eligible to receive non-profit grants. Many feel that the organization is more “pyramid scheme” than it is church because of the requirements by the Church that it’s lower status members contribute money and time to the church to in the hopes of reaching the secret knowledge available to only those members in the top levels of the church. Those in popular culture often refer to the Church as more of a cult than a legitimate religious sect.
Last week, the Church made international news last week when the German government tried to ban the group from practicing in Germany stating that Scientology was “an organization that is not compatible with the constitution.” The German government lost this battle against the Church which is now estimated to have approximately 6,000 members within the country.
L. Ron Hubbard