What you ought to know about Arnold, aka 'Double A', that he :
* was born in 1924 in Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts, the son of Melvin and Rebecca Rosenbloom and at 9 and already displayed dangerous altruistic tendencies in his poem : that to turn away the 'sick and needy' is 'mean and greedy' and recalled that he was : 'bought up as an orthodox Jew, Bar Mitzvahd and in typical Jewish tradition, I was given the advantage of a college education.'
* entered the University of Pennsylvania, as a pre-Med student soon after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1941, was exempt from military service but, at the age of 18 in 1942, revealed as a teenager steely determination and demanded to be called to active duty and was enrolled in the Army after he perched on its doorstep at Fort Meade, Maryland.
* chose to serve in the Medical Corps, but, was told by the anti-semitic company commander, that only the infantry was available and served as a combat infantryman in North Africa and Italy, earned two purple hearts and was discharged at the age of 21 in 1945.
* returned to University, dropped his medical studies and graduated with a degree in Journalism, then entered the jewellery business, but kept his connection with Penn, taking 10 years to complete his thesis for a 'Masters in Political Science' while travelling 7 states continuously, to make a living.
* kept up his hand in journalism by writing and occasionally publishing poetry, short stories and book reviews and somewhere along the line dropped the name 'Rosenbloom' and anglicised himself into 'Abbot.'
* started his political career, as a Committeeman in the Pennsylvania District of Abington and in the mid 1950s, served on the Committee of Public Safety, formed Pennsylvania's first 'Fair Housing Committee', climbed the ladder through local and county offices, to a post on the Democratic State Committee.
* was elected a delegate to Democratic National Convention at the age of 40 in 1964 and defied it and first publicly showed his troublemaking streak by overseeing the seating of the black 'Mississippi Freedom Delegation', after it had backed the white Mississippi delegates in favour of their exclusion, which involved fighting to save the Mississippi stanchion, others were trying to tear from his hands.
* during the 60s Civil Rights Movement, further fomented trouble by going to Jackson, Mississippi to help blacks register their votes and was elected again to the Convention in 1968 and 'proud' that his entry in the 1969-70 edition in 'Who's Who in American Politics', contained 26 lines to Harry S. Truman's, 14 lines, but confessed that : "my hero, 'give 'em hell Harry,' was much more modest that am I."
* moved to Florida at the age of 46 in 1970 and with his wife started his work to support the homeless and after her death after a car accident at the age of 40 in 1991, when at the age of 67, founded the 'Maureen A. Abbott Love Thy Neighbor Fund' to commemorate her life with a living memorial, set up his gang to feed the homeless with money extracted from the public through donations.
* worked 6 days a week as gang leader, fund raising and conducting his 'LTN Culinary Skills Training Program' at his HQ at the Homeless Assistance Center of Fort Lauderdale, providing certification for the homeless enrolled on his 9-week Culinary course, who, if successful, could then go on to McFatter Technical Center in Broward County, at no charge, to learn more about their new trade and improve eligibility for work.
* had his first brush with the law when he was arrested while serving food in 1999 and increased his nuisance status when he successfully sued the City of Fort Lauderdale after he was banned from feeding the homeless on the beach and the court found that the rule was against the Constitution.
* laid out his principles at the age of 80 in 2004, when he published : 'When In Doubt....Blame a Jew : A Personal and Peoples' Memoir of Anti- Semitism' in which he counteracted what he saw as the myths, distortions and false perceptions about who the Jews were, interspersed with humour and in which he wrote : ' I have chosen five basic tenets to live by : Love of God ( our own God); Love of Torah ( the Bible); Love of Mankind ("Love thy neighbour as thyself"); Love of giving to others ( Tzadekah - "thou art thy brother's keeper"); The love of and the quest for peace (Shalom)'.
* in 2009 published 'From Aches To Ecstasy : A Primer on the Best Sex Ever for Those Over Fifty, Plus Valuable Information for Lonely People of Any Age' in which he encouraged older people to not just maintain, but expand their sex lives and in 2012, 'On A Poetic Life : Biographic Essays In Rhyme' comprising 101 poems written over his life from the age of nine, recorded on scraps of paper, envelope backs and napkins with all royalties going to feed the homeless.
* tried to divert public funding during the cold winter of 2010, when he wrote to the Editor of PubblishaLetter, drawing attention to the 'sad scenario is that we have 10,000 homeless persons existing in Broward County, but beds and shelters for only a small fraction of them' and asking : ' How about some Federal stimulus money to keep really needy human beings alive, rather than pouring the dollars into greedy institutions?'
* was displaying his old trouble-making self, when he spoke to the Fort Lauderdale Commissioners on the 'Importance of Public Rest Rooms' : http://ow.ly/DZ6pG
* was fully aware that the Fort Lauderdale Ordinance, promulgated in May by the Commissioners and backed by Jack 'The Mayor' Seiler (left), was designed to clamp down on feeding the City's 10,000 homeless in public, along with laws banning the leaving belongings unattended and outlawing panhandling at medians was due to be put into effect last Friday.
* saw it as his duty as LTN Gang leader, to announce that the new ordinance would not stop him from sharing food in the same way as he had done for 23 years and therefore was not surprised when, commensurate with his danger to the public, a total of 4 police cruisers and half a dozen uniformed cops turned up to arrest him when he had just doled out food to the fourth homeless person in a queue of a hundred and surrendered without a fight after he was told by one officer to : "Drop that plate right now" to shouts of gang supporters in the crowd : "Shame on you !" http://ow.ly/DZ7hv
* received scant sympathy from the Mayor who felt no need to apologise for the police and said :"The parks have just been overrun and were inaccessible to locals and businesses" while at the same time, charged with breaking the new ordinance and now facing 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, was unrepentant and said : “I am not afraid at all. I was a combat infantryman for 2 1/2 years. I’ve spent 50 years fighting for civil rights for the minorities in this country. I don’t have the slightest fear of being arrested. The only thing I am concerned about is that there would be nobody to feed the homeless outdoors, which is what I do – and what I intend to do as long as there is breath in my body.”
* in his career as LTN Gang Leader since 1991, has served a total of half a million meals and seen 350 students gain a certificate in culinary skills, with about 40% moving on to McFatter and has adhered to his principles that :
"The homeless feel the love that comes through the food"
"When people care about each other, the world is a beautiful place".
* continues to raise donations towards LTN Gang activities : http://lovethyneighbor.org/