Bob Buckley for The Examiner: Crime, Loss, Pain, Struggle – and a Miracle

December 13, 2021

Bob Buckley, partner at White, Graham, Buckley & Carr, is a regular columnist for The Examiner of East Jackson County. In his latest column, Buckley reflects on the life of a close friend, Barbie Daniels, whose difficult uprising lead to an influential life.

The article, Crime, Loss, Pain, Struggle – and a Miracle, was published in the December 10 edition of The Examiner. An excerpt from the article is below.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse in the 8th chapter of Romans is one of my favorite verses in the Bible because I know that it is true, and I have seen it in my own lifetime and time again.

Which is why I want to tell you the story of Barbie Daniels, a friend of mine who I met about seven years ago at Maywood Baptist Church. Her story is similar to many who have come there from the drug culture. I could tell you countless stories of the lives transformed in that church in western Independence.

Barbie’s story begins on cold winter night in November 2012. It actually begins about 20 years before that when, as a teenager, she began dealing drugs and living a life of crime. In 1994, when she was barely 18 years old, she was arrested on a federal charge of aggravated assault. Normally those charges are brought in state court, but the charge against Barbie was part of a larger investigation into corruption and illegal activity in the drug world.

Barbie had stabbed another person with a knife in self-defense because the person was trying to kill her, so she was not convicted of that crime. Over the next dozen years, she faced charges for possession of controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with a motor vehicle, possession of a forgery instrument and theft of more than $500.

Barbie continued her life of dealing drugs until that life-changing event happened in the winter of 2012. Through the rumor mill in the drug world, Barbie received word that she was on a hit list and that rivals were coming to rob and then kill her. On the same night at another house in Independence, three people were murdered in a similar event and Barbie knew they were coming for her. She had two young daughters, and so she took them to her mother’s house to protect them from the inevitable. Indeed, they came and took her hostage, which is when the first miracle happened, if you can call 27 officers breaking down your door and arresting you a miracle.

Barbie was arrested that night and taken to the Independence police station because she had warrants out for her arrest. They interrogated her and then took her to the Jackson County jail, where she stayed for the next few days. It was a transformative time because it gave Barbie time to think about what she had not only done to herself and her family but what she had also done to countless others.

Finally, she was released onto the streets of Kansas City, and she knew that the people who came for her a month earlier were lurking around the corner, so she needed a safe haven. She was walking down the street with a Bible in her hand. It was not hers, and she had not yet opened it, but she managed to secure a ride from a woman driving down the street. Her destination: The Healing House, a recovery house for women in the northeast.