Or forever hold your peace

It’s put-up-or-shut-up time, kids. The public comment period for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s table saw ruling is almost over.

As you ought to know by now the CPSC is contemplating table saw safety standards. What they’re considering is contained in the document, “Table Saw Blade Contact Injuries; Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Request for Comments and Information.” The full details are too lengthy to list here, but suffice it to say that, yeah, it’s about SawStop.

The CPSC invites public comment on a particular topic to allow everyone who has been crying and moaning where it doesn’t matter (forums, bars, around water coolers) to move the discussion where it might actually create some light instead of heat. This is the equivalent of encouraging people who cry and moan on call-in talk shows to get off their rear ends and go out and vote.  Sadly, talk-show criers and moaners frequently don’t bother, because doing something for real isn’t nearly as fulfilling as simply crying and moaning to hear one’s self cry and moan.

It also requires someone to make a valid, constructive and pertinent comment rather than a bunch of meaningless rhetoric that has nothing to do with the issue, which, in my observation, describes much of the incessant crying and moaning about SawStop. (Oh, I guess this is the point where I ask you not to turn this into a rhetorical crying and moaning session about SawStop to repeat rhetoric that has already been repeated endlessly.)

The comments they’re looking for must be on-topic, something the SawStop “debate” rarely is. “SawStop does nothing to prevent kickback!” Sure, that’s been said a zillion times, but it’s completely off-topic. “The Government shouldn’t tell us what to do!” Perhaps; but again, off-topic.

Before you do anything, however, read the CPSC’s official notice on the subject. Yeah, the notice is over 6,000 words long, but if you don’t read every single word before commenting, your comments are worthless and I’d rather you not bother. If you don’t care enough to completely inform yourself before commenting, I’d just as soon you not vote in the next election, either.

When you’re done reading it, compose your on-topic comment in 2,000 characters or less, because that’s how much room is in the comment form. To give you an idea how long 2,000 characters is, the text of this entire blog is about 2,870 characters in length. Should be plenty…as long as you stay on-topic and leave all the crying and moaning out. When you’re ready, submit your thoughts on the official comment page.

The ultimate CPSC ruling may not turn out the way you or I want it to. If it doesn’t go your way, you have every right to gripe about the outcome. But if you don’t take the time to inform yourself fully and then comment in an official way, any crying or moaning you do after the fact has no meaning at all.




  • A.J. Hamler says:

    When I originally wrote and posted this blog, the cutoff date was due to fall in just a few days. However, the CPSC just announced that they have extended the comment period another two months, until Feb. 10, 2012.

    If you’re serious about how you feel on this issue, take advantage of the extension and file your comment.

  • John Gresko says:

    While safety is a great thing, how can everything we do be safe. I believe it is just not possible. Every saw made fixed or portable would be in the same ‘unsafe’ category. How about drills,planers, bandsaws, etc, where does it end.To be perfectly safe, we all should just do nothing. See where this is going. If you can’t read and understand the dangers of anything that may be dangerous, then you shouldn’t do it. How about driving. Car accidents happen with all the best safety gadgets. Sure maybe less injurious but still death and dismemberment occur. I say nix the mandatory saw stop law. Use it but don’t force everyone to buy it.

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