State Sen. Greg Ball is doubling down on his Twitter blast that suspected terrorists should be tortured.
In a statement Sunday, Ball, of Patterson, defended his tweet by saying he believes that torture is "justified" if "it can save lives" and said he supports the use of such tactics as "an effective tool" in the nation's ongoing war on terror.
"Terrorists play by a different set of rules by manipulating the greatest strengths of our open society against us," Ball said. "In the war against these sick cowards who seek to harm innocent men, women and children, information can and often does save lives."
Many tweets responding to Ball were skeptical and highly critical of his remarks.
"I know you're a redneck from upstate but come on buddy: torture? Isn't a lack of basic rights in the world what we're fighting AGAINST?" another user replied in response to Ball's question.
Another wrote: "Not me. Not any American. It isn't what we do. That's how we get to be the good guys."
Few seemed to support Ball's view. "Why not? Can I help?" one person tweeted.
On Saturday, Ball called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to reinstate the death penalty for convicted terrorists and in those cases involving the intentional murder of law enforcement officers, citing the death of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrol Officer Sean Collier. Collier was killed in a shootout with the Boston Marathon bombers Thursday night.
"As New Yorkers we must remember, that on most days, New York State is terror target No. 1, and we need our governor to make the death penalty for cop killers and terrorists a top priority," he said. "The death penalty is a fitting deterrent that will act as protection for those men and women who leave their loving families daily and put their lives at risk every day to protect the rest of us."
Ball, 35, represents a district that encompasses Putnam County, a Republican stronghold. He has cultivated a reputation as a flamboyant lawmaker who seems to delight in angering his political opponents. Although Ball casts himself as an Albany outsider and has embraced the maverick label given to him by some observers, others aren't so amused by his behavior.
Ball's supporters, however, are loyal and seem to savor his outbursts. A photo on his Twitter page shows him smiling and wearing a worn Yankees hat above the slogan "Gettin' It Done." Unlike Twitter, posters to Ball's Facebook page praise him for his "common sense on guns and military" and say he's willing to fight to the "last breath for our Constitution."