The protester who believed peace wasn’t crazy talk

Protester Concepcion Picciotto, who held a constant peace vigil in Lafayette Park across from the White House in Washington, sits on a park bench in September 2013 after her protest shelter was removed by Park Police. Charles Dharapak | AP

The country is full of people who don’t stand for anything.

This woman, Concepcion Picciotto, is not one of them.

She believed that with a little effort, peace is possible. And so she stood vigil outside the White House. For 30 years, she protested nuclear proliferation.

She died yesterday, the Washington Post reports.

Ms. Picciotto, a diminutive woman perpetually clad in a helmet and headscarf, was a curious and at times controversial figure in Washington. Fellow activists lauded her as a heroine. Critics and even casual passersby, reading her hand-lettered signs, dismissed her as foolish, perhaps unwell.

Ms. Picciotto was quick to share elaborate accounts of persecution by the government, which she considered responsible for many of her physical ailments.

Ellen Thomas, a demonstrator who protested alongside Ms. Picciotto for decades, told The Post in 2013 that the truth was somewhere in between. She acknowledged that there were “issues that haven’t been addressed” where Ms. Picciotto’s mental health was concerned but lauded her dedication and stamina.

Her vigil was considered to be the longest one in the country’s history.

Was it worth it spending 30 years of her life in a futile belief that country’s could disarm? Who are we to decide that?