PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The House Committee on Homeland Security held a public roundtable in Pittsburgh.
The briefing on Wednesday at Pittsburgh City Council Chambers was on homeland security issues related to acts of domestic terrorism and the impact on the community.
“We’ll start in Pittsburgh. We’ll go to Charleston and El Paso and a few other communities to listen and hear what congress should do,” U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi said.
Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers criticized politicians in Washington D.C. for engaging in uncivil dialogue and not wanting to use the word hate, decried what he called “H-speech.”
“H-speech is a severe choice of words that usually will lead to violent actions, as was the case in the Tree of Life shootings,” Myers said. “When you don’t understand your neighbor, it can lead to mistrust, fear and loathing, which ultimately leads you to unconscionable and deadly actions.”
Mayor Bill Peduto talked about inaction on gun legislation, saying many of these mass shooting could be prevented.
“This is an epidemic,” Peduto said. “If it were occurring with any other item other than a gun, we wouldn’t just have hearings like this and we would be taking action. If we had mass shootings involving toasters, we would take those toasters off the shelves.”
But others asked what was being done to identify these domestic terrorists before they act.
To that end, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert asked for more latitude for law enforcement to conduct internet searches for those possibly planning terrorist attacks.
“We can’t do it,” Schubert said. “Private citizens and private corporations can do it, but we can’t do it,” he said.
And while committee members say they are striking a balance between threats and free speech, Myers said the time has come to crack down on “H-speech.”
“If it’s illegal to yell fire in a movie theatre, we need to create laws where is illegal to say, “Kill all Muslims” on the internet,” he said.