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That was my impression too -- that his system works well enough to
screen out the commercial M-80 makers who apparently led to the CPSC
action on Firefox. That's my reading of the Firefox matter -- that a
customer had been making salutes for sale to consumers, had gotten
caught, and that that led CPSC to their supplier. If you read the
document, you see that the principals at Firefox had already been
operating personally under a previous consent decree entered into after
they'd had a previous such problem.
Well sure, The Purrington clan has been the subject of a consent
decree in the past. If the previous decrees were as bogus as this
one, so what?
If you look at the cited "counts", it would seem to me to be hard
to make a reliable judgement about exactly what the targetted
"customer" had in mind with these purchases.
Paper tubes, fuse, and sulfur? Could reasonably have been for 3
entirely different projects. Maybe the paper tube and fuse were
for small shells, and the sulfur was for BP making? It's a tough
judgement call. Firefox, like SkyLighter insists on there being
a signed waiver on file, and a copy of your photo-id (drivers
license, passport, etc).
Maybe Gary and friends have simply had the bad luck to attract a
criminal clientele, through no fault of their own. I'm a registered
customer at both Firefox and Skylighter, and I found that the
"customer initialization" procedures were essentially identical
at the two establishments.
In cases like this, the standards for "due diligence" had better be
pretty darned clear and publically available, and widely-practiced,
or the gummint, IMHO, doesn't have a case...
Keep in mind that I don't know Gary or the other Purrington folks
personally, and neither do I know Harry at Skylighter personally.
They could all be the worst kind of scum, and I'd never know it
from their externally-visible actions.
Being brought to court over what amounts to an apparent error in
judgement due to insufficient data, is just terrible, no matter
who the defending side is.
In order for any kind of "real" due diligence, the pyro chemicals
suppliers (heck, the chemicals suppliers in general) would need
to cooperate (collude?) in sharing customer and purchase data,
to provide a "total information awareness" type of picture about
customer purchases. But even then, the system would be imperfect.
And they'd probably all be brought up in front of the FTC on
some bogus "price fixing" charges or something.
The problem is that once you give some ground here, the standards for
what constitutes "due diligence" keep forever creeping forward
until nobody can afford to be in business.
This is why hairdryers come with instruction sheets that include
such things as "don't use this device while sleeping". In their
desperate attempt to meet the "soccer moms" and lawyers standards
for due diligence, the manufacturers have to spend their
time conjuring up more and more "absolutely stupid ways someone could
use our product in an unintended way and remove themselves from
the gene pool".