David Paulin, an Austin, TX-based freelance journalist, covered Hugo Chavez's rise to power while based in Caracas as a foreign correspondent. He also reported from the Caribbean while based in Kingston, Jamaica.
It had seemed to the four clean-cut college freshman that night like a typical McDonald’s: spanking clean, well-lighted, and safe. It was in a good neighborhood too, right next to Texas A&M University in College Station – a campus known for its friendly atmosphere and official down-home greeting: “howdy”
Out on a double date, the two couples pulled into the parking lot of so-called “University McDonald’s” shortly after 2 a.m. that Sunday – and beheld a scene unlike anything portrayed in all those wholesome McDonald’s television commercials. Before them, hundreds of young black males were loitering about, some without shirts.
Other local residents — the more cynical and world-weary, both whitesand most blacks — would have taken one look at the crowd and driven off, dismissing many of the young and posturing black males as thugs. But not them: innocent white kids from the suburbs. They presumed this was post-racial America — and that they were in an easy-going college town.
Twenty minutes later, two of them were dead.