The “III” Symbol (Car Decals Decoded)

This interesting and cryptic symbol includes the Roman numeral three, “III,” and usually a ring of stars.

What III means

The three refers to the 3 percent of the American population that supposedly fought in the American Revolution against the British. We should say “supposedly,” because I don’t get the sense this was an especially well-researched figure, approved by historians. But maybe so.

The stars are a reference to the American flag during the Revolutionary War, often referred to as the Besty Ross Flag. It’s often shown along with various other symbols, such as period-specific muskets and the like.

If you are displaying these, the idea is you are part of the noble but tiny minority of people who will actually put your life on the line to defend freedom.

What actual battle you are fighting or what “freedom” or “liberty” mean in these instances is up for grabs. These stickers definitely seem to be linked to Second-Amendment-type sentiments, as in, the freedom to own firearms, and the threat being the United States Government, not foreign powers.

In some areas, the “Three Percenters” are numerous enough to form actual organizations and chapters, hold rallies and participate in paramilitary activities like marksmanship training. They recently made headlines in Washington State, where members appeared at the state Capitol in Olympia heavily armed, in support of a lawmaker accused of participating in domestic terrorism.

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