Olof Palme

One of the great tragedies in modern Swedish history was the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986. He was shot in the back as he was walking with his wife in downtown Stockholm. The killer fled the scene and was never found, and the investigation is still open.

Naturally, there continues to be speculation about the motive and the identity of the murderer. Just think about all the JFK  conspiracy theories now, and then imagine how much worse it would be if Lee Harvey Oswald had never been found. Palme was outspoken on many international issues like Apartheid and the Vietnam War, so that doesn’t really help narrow down the suspects. The simplest theory is that a man named Christer Pettersson shot Palme in a case of mistaken identity. He was actually convicted, but it was overturned due to insufficient evidence.

I learned about Palme as I was walking to lunch with some coworkers, and one of them pointed out a street sign: Olof Palmes gata. Palme was shot a block away from our office, on one of the busiest streets in Stockholm. The cross street was renamed in his memory.

I don’t really have anything else to say about it, but I’m just fascinated by the mystery and the improbability of it all. I recommend reading the Wikipedia page to get the longer version of the story. And now you’ve learned some Swedish history.