by Steven Yates
For around 13 years Andrew Steven Wordes, 53, had lived alone in the Roswell area north of Atlanta, raising chickens in his backyard and minding his own business. He was not an isolated eccentric; he had organized a Meetup group on chicken farming and had taught seminars on the subject. A nosy neighbor, however, complained about his activities (this was in 2008). The town issued Wordes a citation for having too many chickens on his property, which he challenged in court and was able to have dismissed as frivolous. Town officials do not like having their decrees thwarted, of course, even when misapplied: the ordinance used against Wordes had specifically excluded poultry from its provisions.
The officials retaliated by initiating a campaign of terror against Wordes, who stood his ground valiantly. They literally rewrote the ordinance. A judge ruled that Wordes would be “grandfathered” under the previous version. The battle escalated. Town officials again retaliated by invoking the city’s “2030 Comprehensive Plan” which enabled them to reclassify Wordes’s property as “green space” (an Agenda 21 derived concept). Wordes, incidentally, described himself on his Facebook page as a “Constitutional Conservative; I believe in G*d, Guns and The U.S. Constitution. My G*d and my guns will make sure the Constitution is obeyed.” Such statements plus a lifestyle bespeaking of independence and self-sufficiency invariably set authoritarians’ teeth on edge. Local media, meanwhile, had begun making light of the situation by referring to Wordes as the “Roswell Chicken Man.”
The town had neglected to maintain storm water infrastructure in the vicinity, resulting in a damaging flood. Wordes took matters into his own hands by grading his own land with a Bobcat. The city issued him a citation for grading his land without a permit, for having too many cars on his property, and again for having too many chickens. Wordes’ attempted to file a FEMA request for assistance; the town refused to cooperate. The Roswell Police Department began watching him, parking at the end of his street, looking for anything they could cite him for, actually taking pulling him over several times for such minor offenses as having a broken taillight in one case. His mortgage holder (an 80-year-old woman) was bullied into selling the mortgage on his property for pennies on the dollar. The new mortgage holder immediately began foreclosure proceedings, and the town then filed a 55-page civil lawsuit against him attempting to have the property declared a “nuisance.” His property was then vandalized while he was at a political meeting; his chickens and other birds were poisoned, costing him his primary source of income. Wordes believed the poisoning was the work of the neighbor who had filed the initial complaint. He filed a police report, which was never seriously pursued.
Finally Wordes was jailed for 99 days for refusing to comply with the city’s order to reduce the number of chickens on his own property. While Wordes was in jail, the city vindictively pronounced his property “vacant.” This was an open invitation to further vandalism. Firearms, ammunition, and other valuables were stolen by parties unknown (this, too, was never pursued).
In jail he was refused his right to review personal records and have legal counsel pursuant to a bankruptcy hearing that would have halted the effort to foreclose illegally on his property. He was released only to discover that it was too late. He had no more money, no legal representation, no means of earning a living, no means of fighting the illegal foreclosure proceedings taking place, and was in an unlivable house.
In February he was able to obtain interview time about his situation on a local radio show where he appealed for help. He needed a property attorney who wouldn’t want upfront fees worth an arm and a leg, as he was facing eviction from the property but was too broke to continue fighting malicious city officials. He held on nonetheless. Finally, on the morning of March 26, Fulton County marshals assembled to force him out of his house, in typical police-state fashion. A standoff ensued. Wordes phoned a local reporter who showed up at the scene. Speaking through him, Wordes urged the marshals to leave his property. Needless to say, they refused. Moments later, there was an explosion inside the house, which burst into flames. Wordes’s body was found later amidst the smoldering ruins.
While Wordes’ death was officially ruled a suicide, the final act of a man driven over the edge by ruthless city and county officials. Another death by government on U.S. soil, in any event. How many more Andrew Wordeses are out there, being harassed to the point of taking lives, either their own or that of others, by sociopathic government officials? Also: here is hard proof that local officials are not necessarily to be trusted any more than federal ones; they are potentially worse because of the invisibility, on a large scale, of their acts of sadism and destruction. Moreover, mainstream media is not going to report these events. This battle began in ‘08-‘09. I only heard of it two weeks ago!
Is sociopathic too strong a word to use for town and county officials who would set about to utterly destroy a man’s life, knowing full well what they are doing and continuing anyway?