by Jonathan Weaver
Jack Bennett has been around firearms since he was 12-years-old.
From serving in the armed forces to hunting at a local gun club, he has seen his share of action and excitement.
Unfortunately, he has also seen and heard about disaster, which makes Bennett want to do whatever he can do help innocent victims.
Bennett is taking classes to finalize his goal and teach individuals to protect themselves.
“My primary goal is to instruct women in self-defense,” Bennett said.
Bennett, 67, is currently awaiting to be enrolled in his last course, ‘Refuse to Be a Victim,’ to be able to instruct women in self-defense situations. By reading about many victims over the years, Bennett said he wants the public to be ready.
“I’ve played that scenario in my mind and asked myself ‘What would I do in that situation?’ and I guess you never know until it happens. I have been trained for that situation, I practice for it…I hope it never comes about, but hoping does not prepare you should it occur.”
He has already successfully completed six National Rifle Association training and safety courses which lasted between a single day and a week at the Pony Farm Trap and Gun Club in Kittanning.
Bennett said his help is needed to help the local community be prepared for an unwanted attack.
“Based on what I know already about the courses run by the Sheriff’s Department, they feel like they’d run a course once-a-year for 45 women – it’s always filled. I think there’s an opportunity there to expand upon that to provide a service to the population that is in need,” Bennett said.
He said one course required more focus than the others, but that all were mentally taxing.
“The hardest was personal protection outside the home, where I was required to fire 300 rounds of ammunition: firing from free-hand to strong-hand to weak-side, shooting around obstacles, from holstered position, from standing position and the ground.
“It is extensive, it is grueling: the day we had personal protection outside the home was about five-and-a-half hours of constant range firing.”
A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Bennett served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1999.
Bennett enrolled in the courses with fellow Pony Farm Trap and Gun Club Member Bill Herleman and was personally ridiculed for taking the courses at his age and wanted to test himself and his limitations – he suffers from Parkinson’s disease.
But, he beat the odds and outdid several of the other trainees.
“To see if I could do it – I was the oldest member in the class, what they referred to as ‘The Old Man,’ Bennett said. “I made the qualifications and, in some cases, beat the young fellas.”
Bennett has some experience with teaching the opposite gender about firearms. He taught his wife, Lubella, how to shoot and said her skills are impressive.
“I always tell people ‘If you have the choice between me shooting at you or her shooting at you, you want me, you don’t want her,” Bennett said. “She’s good, I qualify.”