Finding the Road to Self-Respect

Again the circumstances require a word of explanation. Having entered the United States Navy in 1941, and seen hard action in the South Pacific, now Lieutenant Hubbard returned to American waters to assume command of a hastily fitted subchaser. A sorry vessel in many respects, she was part of a ragtag fleet aimed at providing a measure of resistance to what had become a devastating U-boat menace. Yet so ill-equipped were the vessels of this "Donald Duck" navy, that unofficial naval policy was to man them with only expendable crews. Consequently, upon entering the Boston Navy Yard, Ron found himself facing a hundred or so enlisted men fresh from the Portsmouth Naval Prison in New Hampshire. A murderous looking lot, was Ron’s initial impression, "their braid dirty and their hammocks black with grime." While upon further investigation, he discovered not one among them had stepped aboard except to save himself a prison term.

Yet as a first order of business, LRH ceremoniously dispensed with their service records – literally dumped them into a mail sack and deposited the sack in a safe. Ron then explained that, with the commencement of duties aboard his vessel all slates were clean, all past crimes immaterial. On the other hand, he made it clear his word was law and no dereliction would be tolerated. That is, since the survival of all depended upon the performance of all, then exemplary service was expected from each and every man. Then followed a period of thoroughly rigorous drilling until, as Ron quipped, "these men were standing sea watches in undress blues merely because they thought it would look better."

He drew no summary conclusion beyond the fact that with a measure of pride and the weight of "super officialdom and dossiers off their back," these men had been transformed from criminals to seamen in the space of about six weeks. Moreover, they were superb seamen with some seventy depth charge runs to their credit and not a single casualty. But the larger questions of criminality and the particulars of rehabilitation – these matters were yet to be resolved.

In a simple statement of the question now at hand, he was to explain: "I was trying to find out if criminal minds were different kinds of minds," and by corollary, what then constituted "police minds." Yet to appreciate that question, one must appreciate where the longer road to the development of Dianetics had thus far taken him.

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