North Okaloosa residents have dealt with some difficult times lately.
Crestview police have enlisted the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help find Karl R. Menz and Virginia M. Lynch, who allegedly kidnapped 3-year-old Emmanuel Menz on Thursday at the South Ferdon Boulevard Burger King.
The incident followed a visit with a Department of Children and Families supervisor, who used the restroom as suspects reportedly orchestrated the kidnapping, police said.
Police first searched for a 2009 Dodge Caravan, but soon said the couple vacated that vehicle at a nearby Cracker Barrel and fled in a U-Haul van they rented from Fort Walton Beach a day before the incident.
Authorities are still investigating the incident, and local media have received no updates other than to look out for a U-Haul van with an Arizona tag and B-E- 5700 R- marked on the sides.
In other news, our Facebook fans had plenty to say when Thomas Biddle, a 29-year-old Crestview man, was charged with throwing a missile into a vehicle in a road rage related incident that Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputies said could have caused great bodily harm or death.
The missile — in this case, a water bottle — hit the chest of a motorcycle traveling approximately 70 miles an hour.
And today, we mourn the loss of Samuel Cornish, a 35-year-old found lying on the shoulder of South Ferdon Boulevard on Saturday with a stab wound to his chest, police said.
Cornish was walking along the roadway just north of Duggan Avenue before collapsing from his injuries, witnesses said. He died shortly after being taken to North Okaloosa Medical Center.
Whether it's the kidnapping, the missile incident or Cornish's death, it's distressing.
In smaller cities, we expect less crime. Fortunately, that seems to be the case in Crestview compared to larger metropolitan areas. But we as residents become particularly concerned when murder occurs.
Some Facebook fans immediately expressed that they were stunned by the kidnapping and fatal stabbing, and called others to respect each other more.
One woman said, "This is the real world, not Mayberry" and it's important to determine the best way to protect loved ones from harm.
Both sentiments have merit, but I would challenge the statement that this is not Mayberry.
Granted, no town can match a 1960s sitcom's seemingly idyllic, aw-shucks, nothing-to-worry-about-but-what-to-serve-for-supper setting, but why should the expectation be that Crestview has a significant potential for crime or division?
Why shouldn't serious crimes and dysfunction be the exception?
This doesn't mean everyone should wear rose-colored glasses; it does mean that everyone, if they're not doing so already, could find the Mayberry within themselves, think of others and be more charitable.
We shouldn't speculate on what happened Saturday and why, but we should respect others' basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We should remember that everyone here is someone's brother or sister, son or daughter, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter, best friend, spouse or role model.
You've probably heard of paying it forward; how every good deed begets another good deed, and creates a chain reaction.
Well, it works the opposite way, too. Every ill word, violent action or — in the worst case scenario — senseless death affects an extended family of loved ones, friends and acquaintances who struggle with loss.
It's important to remember this before a cross word passes our lips or a hand rises to strike.