All 25 Republican state senators from Ohio were sent letters Thursday filled with what was initially reported by the Columbus Dispatch as "feces." These envelopes reportedly originated from a Cleveland post office and were intercepted there, in Akron, and at the statehouse newsroom, never reaching their intended targets.
A federal investigation spearheaded by the U.S. Postal Inspector is now underway. We anxiously await further details.
We have learned from subsequent local reporting that the feces are "thought to be human." In other words, a person or persons produced a great deal of poop and divvied it up into 25 envelopes for delivery to the Ohio Statehouse. Alternately, they may have employed the services of an online company that allows people to send fake poop through the mail anonymously.
Ohio Senate spokesman John Fortney was chock full of punny responses to the ordeal when reporters came knocking: It's just another crappy day; the responsible parties won't say shit to your face but are happy to send it in a letter, etc. — but was a little over the top with comparisons to anthrax and references to Hepatitis C. And while he professed to be angry about the stunt, he'll undoubtedly be getting more than he bargained for after calling those who sent the poop letters "a bunch of scared little cowards."
Some Republican Senators reached for comment were savvy enough to recognize that their packages might have had something to do with their medieval legislating on abortion, notably the six-week ban that went into effect mere hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The legislature is now considering a total abortion ban and will attempt to pass it later this year, after which shit in the mail will hardly be the most disruptive of the protests directed towards them.
The lawmakers are naturally pleading for "civil discourse" in the aftermath — though it's not like they even had to deal with opening the letters, which were all intercepted — but civility is out of the barn at this point. The Rubicon has been crossed. The gerrymandered legislature, after repeatedly defying the state high court to preserve their power, has restricted bodily autonomy and gleefully created medical nightmare scenarios for thousands. These legislators now welcome a "highly charged, emotional" atmosphere in Ohio, the kind where children are raped and forced to conceive the babies of their fathers and uncles or else flee to neighboring states for abortion care, assuming they can be accommodated, as hundreds of other women from Ohio and other equally repressive states will be attempting to get limited care as well.
The legislature is behaving this way for the benefit of fringe elements in their electoral base, but in defiance of overwhelming public sentiment. Doing so will come at a cost. There are thousands and thousands of Ohioans who have reached a breaking point, who bear witness to these horrors and say enough is enough. These are definitively not scared little cowards. On the contrary, many of them are prepared to boldly (and peacefully) live out the proposition that Ohio's Republican lawmakers, cowards and narcissists themselves, should no longer be able to eat in peace, sleep in peace or open their mail in peace for the rest of their lives.
A version of this story was originally published by CityBeat sister paper Cleveland Scene.