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Imagine being the editor of a popular automobile magazine 50 years ago, a magazine that serves the average automobile driver and not industry leaders. Now imagine this same editor arguing against requiring the use of seat belts because the costs to the automobile industry and the automobile consumer would increase.
Now imagine this same editor being interviewed 50 years later about his earlier opposition to seat belts and being asked the following question:
Knowing what you know today regarding the successes of the seat belt, would you have thought or done anything differently?
Of course the advantage we have over our 1950s-60s counterparts is that we know more clearly today how such safety regulations work, that opposition to safety regulation from industry leaders has been almost universal even to this day, that from an industry standpoint - safety doesn't sell, that legislating safety measures and technology has always been resisted from industry and always will be, and that the benefits of implementing safety measures/features have historically outweighed their costs.
So predicting the response of industry to looming safety regulations is easy. Predicting the resulting benefits of requiring safety features designed protect the consumer is also easy. What's not so easy is figure out why an editor of a popular woodworking magazine, whose primary readership serves consumers of these power tools and not industry leaders, has aligned himself on the predictably wrong side of the aisle in this debate.
Mysteries aside, the safety regulations will go through in one form or another, the power tool industry will comply as they always do, woodworking as we know it will not disappear, and the number of saw-related injuries will drop dramatically.
So Mr. Christiana, would you be willing to answer the following question 10 years from now?
Knowing what you know today regarding the successes of sawstop-like technology in preventing serious injury, would you have thought differently about your opposition to regulations requiring this technology?
A light-switch cover... No, Pekovich gave me the dimensions and said something about a gestalt switch.
What is the interests for my projects? And what is the interest for the Fine Woodworking family? Why do you come to me? Why do I deserve this generosity?
Lie-Nielsen bench plane? What's wrong with the Stanley bench planes? It shaves wood - that's it! Just kidding ;-)
Yeah, I also have a Milwaukee corded drill that suits me just fine, but I've heard that this new Festool has a feature that generates a tachyon field which creates faster than light speed holes...
And thank you, Matt, for the great tip/tutorial!
@GLJacobs, reread step two...
@danrademacher - best comment yet. Thank you!
@DRGoldZ - as the rest of my comment points out, FWW mentions nothing about the culpability of the power-tool industry in bringing about this situation by sitting on their hands for nearly a decade when the technology and R&D was available to improve table saw safety. Hence, FWW's skewed and in my estimation irresponsible position on the matter.
A question for the FWW editors. It's clear that this issue is a lightening rod for your constituents, and that by opening up this issue in such a free-for-all fashion as you have done here on FWW, you stand a very good chance of increasing FWW subscriptions, selling more Taunton published books than usual, generating larger hit counts on banner ads from advertisers, and so on. Nevertheless, do you think it's ethical to cash in on the hysteria and vitriol that has been so clearly demonstrated on your website and to do so in such a direct way?
Don't you think you could have approached this issue in a more responsible manner than with the "Here we go again..." opening? Did you think about presenting a more balanced perspective that might have included the refusal of industry leaders to implement such - decade old - technology?
Or was the sensationalism of Steve Gass' profiteering more "news worthy" than the profiteering of power-tool manufacturers' refusal to voluntarily make their products safer years ago when they had the chance? They still have that voluntary chance by the way.
You're current calculations have been very well played by any business standard and I'm sure you will be rewarded handsomely as a result. But since the emotive level around here is at such a fever pitch, let me offer my own emotive response.
If several years from now it's your child who loses a finger, hand, or arm in a table saw accident because the regulations that could have prevented such an accident were defeated, do you think you would change anything if you could?
The more compelling story here is not about Steve Goss but about the reasons why the power tool industry has not been proactive in providing such safety features when the technologies were available. The quick answer is that industries are never proactive when it comes to safety. They've always been forced through regulation to make their products and services safer. Industry has never been inherently interest in product safety or consumer protection and never will be, but once again we find ourselves standing at the side of industry interests to the detriment of our own interests. It's an all too familiar story with all the usual suspects playing all their usual roles. Oh how we love the music of the Pied Piper.
This would be a timely book for me. Please include me as well. Thanks!
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