Lawyers, with all apologies to my brother and sister (both esq.), have made everyone in this country so damned scared of making a mistake that they frequently will do nothing rather than the right thing.
I can't blame them, either.
Among the most egregious results of this particular phenomenon is the fact that women who have caesarean sections for their first child (whatever the reason), are virtually barred from having subsequent child normally.
Why do I bring this up? Well, useless and apparantly paranoid Mayor Ray Nagin delayed the mandatory evacuation of New Orleans because he was worried about being sued. Here's the money quote:
"Nagin said late Saturday that he's having his legal staff look into whether he can order a mandatory evacuation of the city, a step he's been hesitant to do because of potential liability on the part of the city for closing hotels and other businesses."
How asinine is that? An effective leader, hell, a competent leader, says "damn the consequences" and does the right thing when life and death is on the line. You'll note in the article that the counties around N.O. had no trouble issuing the order.