I recently moved to Utah from Seattle. The mountains here are spectacular, and we have made many friends.

I have traveled extensively in Soviet and former Soviet bloc countries. In those countries, while traveling in an auto, I have encountered police or military roadblocks. The worst of those unsettling experiences occurred in 1995 in Slovakia. While traveling a country road, my wife and I were stopped by heavily armed uniformed officers. They inspected our passports and then ordered us to get out of our auto. I sensed we were in serious danger. I grabbed our passports from the officer at my window, cursed loudly and drove away.Fortunately they did not pursue us. It was a terrifying moment. We later learned, during an extended stay in Prague, that beatings and rapes occurred at that and other roadblocks within Slovakia that same day.

After each trip abroad, I have thanked my lucky stars that I live in these great United States, a free society. Evidently I shouldn't have spoken so fast.

This past weekend, my wife and I encountered a roadblock traveling west on I-80. I still have trouble believing it happened. I'll be 50 this month and have never been stopped in this manner in the United States. Of course I had my driver's license, auto registration, proof of insurance, and we don't drink and drive. So who cares? I care because such roadblocks are a significant symbol of a police or military state. Space will not permit me to expose the nonsense of all arguments attempting to justify such police action.

I have looked for hours into the hopeless faces of people who have lived without freedom. It's a view that will forever haunt me.

I choose to live in a free society. I know that involves some risk. The risk is worth it. If I break a law, arrest me. Unless I am breaking a law, leave me alone. Get out of my face.

I would like to send a clear message to all state and county officials responsible for my weekend encounter. Take your roadblock and go straight to Slovakia.

Drew D. Hall

Salt Lake City