Republican senator suggests ‘automatic death penalty’ for ‘deranged monsters’ who perpetrate school shootings

News & Politics

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has floated the idea of an “automatic death penalty” for those who perpetrate school shootings.

“We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters. Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators. Pray for all facing the unimaginable in Nashville. This is horrible & must stop,” Scott tweeted.

The senator’s tweet on Monday came after someone perpetrated a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, killing three children and three adults.

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Metropolitan Nashville Police Department chief John Drake on Monday described the perpetrator as a “28-year-old female” — he said that the individual identified as transgender, and when asked if the individual identified as a transgender man or woman, Drake said “woman.” But the Associated Press has reported that police spokesperson Kristin Mumford said via email on Tuesday that the individual “was assigned female at birth” and “did use male pronouns on a social media profile.”

Prior to becoming a U.S. senator, Scott served as governor of the Sunshine State from early 2011 until early 2019.

In the wake of the deadly 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Scott signed legislation that included various provisions, including making 21 years old the minimum age to purchase a gun.

The Parkland massacre left 17 people dead, but the perpetrator got life in prison rather than the death penalty. In a statement responding to the news last year, Scott noted, “Many of us find it hard to understand how such brutal crimes could be met with anything but the most severe punishment allowed under our laws. While I have faith in our justice system, today’s decision is not what many of us expected.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, commenting on the news last year, said that the crime warranted the death penalty: “I think that if you have a death penalty at all, that that is a case, where you’re massacring those students with premeditation in utter disregard for basic humanity, that you deserve the death penalty,” DeSantis said.

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