Safer Saws (2) ~ Tony Shilling

  1. Manufacturers:  “The system can tell the difference between your hand and wood.  So, if you’re cutting wood and you accidentally run your hand into the blade, it will stop it so quickly you just get a little nick instead of maybe taking some fingers off.”  Gass’s claim is definitional, as it only tells us what the SawStop is supposed to do.  However, that is the problem; he only provides “supposed” information, and not anything to the contrary or even suggesting that the technology will falsely trip (i.e. it is not a 100% guarantee).
  2. Customers: “Even so, I know that technology alone can’t eliminate risk. There’s no substitute for staying alert and focused and strictly adhering to safe work practices.”  This is a resemblance and proposal claim, with the handyman Larry Okrend comparing the SawStop with other means of safety, namely paying attention, and proposing that instead of investing money, customers should be focusing more on personal responsibility and knowing what they are doing.  The claim is quite effective in that it is practically attacking without naming anyone specific; Okrend is right in suggesting that stupidity is a greater source of injury than the saws themselves.
  3. Industry Spokespeople:  “SawStop is currently available in the marketplace to any consumer who chooses to purchase it,” ~Susan Young.  Young’s statement is direct and to the point, an evaluational claim on the market and a definitional claim to customers, as SawStop is readily available.  However, Young’s language allows her to suggest that while, or since, it is available for public purchase there is no need for it to be adopted into mass-produced saws.  This is very clever on her part, as she maintains her people’s stance while not denoting the ability of the SawStop.
  4. Consumer Safety Advocates: “Approximately 40,000 Americans go to hospital emergency rooms every year with injuries sustained while operating table saws.  About 4,000 of those injuries – or more than 10 every day – are amputations.  Table saw injuries cost the United States approximately $2 billion every year.”  This is a definitional claim made for background of the table-saw-injury field.  The National Consumers League uses accurate data in order to state how many saw injuries occur in America and what the overall cost is for the nation.  Not only is this a fair analysis, it provides numerical data for accuracy.
  5. Injured Plaintiffs: “The plaintiff claims that ‘flesh detection and braking technology’ and ‘user friendly blade guard(s)’ have been available for years. The flesh detection technology stops a blade instantly when it is touched by human flesh.” This is a definitional claim; it is no secret that SawStop has been on the market for nearly a decade, nor what it is “supposed” to do.  As merely describing the SawStop, it is quite effective while still being vague towards whether or not the technology actually works and the issues Gass has faced with the market.
  6. Personal Injury Lawyers: “By agreeing not [to] employ such safer alternatives, defendant and its competitors attempted to assure that those alternatives would not become ‘state of the art,’ thereby attempting to insulate themselves from liability for placing a defective product on the market.”  The claim here is causal, stating that the reasoning for not putting out saws with SawStop technology is merely to avoid any impending lawsuits for injury.  However, it completely neglects the gigantic royalty settlement that Gass is looking for, the cost of implementing the tech, and the faults of StopSaw itself.  The goal here, rightfully so as they are lawyers, is to merely dehumanize saw manufacturers.
  7. Government Officials:  “Based on the injury data obtained in the 2007 and 2008 CPSC special study, our staff’s injury cost model projected that consumers suffered approximately 67,300 medically treated blade contact injuries annually in 2007 and 2008—with an associated injury cost of $2.36 billion dollars in each of those two years.” This claim seems definitional, while the bit at the end gives it an evaluational feel, as Chairman Inez Tenenbaum provides insight to 2007-2008 table-saw injuries data, while having an insinuating tone that it may not be the fault of the consumer and could have been prevented.
  8. News Reporters: “No offense, but I don’t think this is a move by Bosch (or any other tool manufacturer for that matter) to prevent safety devices, but simply a move to prevent the unintended consequences of adding mandatory safety devices that would, in some instances, double the price of entry level power saws.”  This is an evaluational claim, analyzing what the saw manufacturer, in this case Bosch, meant against what was alleged by the injury lawyers.  The claim is much more effective and fair to Bosch, as it takes into account the other factors involved in their decision, rather than merely insinuating avoiding lawsuits.
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