For the past few months, my girlfriend and I have been traveling around the country living in a 2010 Ford Transit Connect she converted into a little fort for us. Driving through everywhere but major cities, she will often point to a flag waving in front of a house or business and ask, “Now, what does that one mean?”
Then I’ll google it. “Okay so the black and white American flag with one orange stripe is for dispatchers. Not to be confused with the thin yellow line flag, which is for security people.”
It was easy to figure, upon first seeing thin blue line flags waving, mostly in rural areas and small towns, that these were signs of solidarity with the police.
In an era where many (young) people spray paint “ACAB” on buildings and even put it in the limited space available in their Tinder and Twitter bios or even their Twitter handles, it was obvious to us that these flags were a reaction to the idea that all cops are bastards and the calls to defund their departments.
Next we saw a thin red line flag, next to a thin blue line one, and we confirmed online that this one was for firefighters.
Soon, we started noticing variants popping up.