This event is cited as the explanation for Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before not being played by the BBC. After Ryan's shooting dead of 16 people, the lyrics "plan a mass murder" were deemed insensitive. As a result, I Started Something I Couldn't Finish was released in its place in the UK.
Morrissey stated to Len Brown in 1988:
"I desperately desperately wanted that to be released. Rough Trade sent white labels along to Radio One but they said they would never under any circumstances play it because of the line about mass murder. They said people would've instantly linked it with Hungerford and it would've caused thousands of shoppers to go out and buy machine guns and murder their grandparents. I think Rough Trade should've released 'Death Of A Disco Dancer' instead just to be stroppy."
(NME: "Born To Be Wilde" - February, 1988)
The Hungerford massacre was a spree shooting in Hungerford, England, United Kingdom, on 19 August 1987, when 27-year-old Michael Ryan shot and killed sixteen people, including an unarmed police officer and his own mother, before shooting himself. The shootings, committed using a handgun and two semi-automatic rifles, occurred at several locations, including a school he had once attended. Fifteen other people were also shot but survived. No firm motive for the killings has ever been established. A report on the massacre was commissioned by Home Secretary Douglas Hurd. The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 was passed in the wake of the incident, which bans the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricts the use of shotguns with a capacity of more than three cartridges. The shootings remain one of the deadliest firearms incidents in British history.