Art Cashin On Assault Weapons, Mental Health, And Video Games

Tyler Durden's picture

We have discussed the alternate views of the terrible events that occurred in Connecticut from mental health to video games (Adam Lanza obsessively played "Call of Duty"), as opposed to simply attacking assault weapons. All, we are sure, have a share in the blame for this monstrosity but UBS' Art Cashin opines on the influence of video games suggesting this needs to be examined more closely. It seems, judging from FTC and FCC 'discussion drafts' that this is indeed on its way. The picture, however common-sensically desensitized the argument is, remains unclear as Bloomberg reports from an industry study: "We can’t find any evidence to support this idea that exposure to video-game violence contributes in any way to support the idea that these types of games or movies or TV shows are a contributing factor, it doesn’t need to be studied again."

Via Art Cashin:

Assault Weapons, Mental Health And Video Games – In the wake of the Connecticut massacre much has been said about the first two items listed above. We have long felt that the influence of video games needs to be examined. It looks like that may be on the way according to an article in Politico:


In the wake of the Newtown shootings, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill Tuesday that would have the National Academy of Sciences examine any link between violent video games and media, and violent acts by children, industry sources say.


According to a copy of the “discussion draft” obtained by POLITICO, the legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to make “appropriate arrangements” with the NAS to enable the study.


“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and explore ways Congress can lay additional groundwork on this issue. This report will be a critical resource in this process. I call on my colleagues to join me in passing this important legislation quickly.”


In particular, the draft bill wants the NAS to explore “whether current or emerging characteristics of video games have a unique impact on children, considering in particular video games’ interactive nature and the extraordinarily personal and vivid way violence might be portrayed in such video games.”


There have been reports that Adam Lanza obsessively played “Call of Duty” and “Starcraft” before he went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.


We look forward to the report and discussion.

And Via Bloomberg, the picture is not as clear as many would hope.

We can’t find any evidence to support this idea that exposure to video-game violence contributes in any way to support the idea that these types of games or movies or TV shows are a contributing factor,” Ferguson said. “It doesn’t need to be studied again.”

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
francis_sawyer's picture

Art Cashin ~ Mental Health Expert...

Flakmeister's picture

Have to agree with you..

When the fuck did Art Cashin become an expert on any of this...

In the ever encroaching universe of false balances, when everybody opinion is important, nobody's is....

GetZeeGold's picture



Don't knock Art. I had a full session with him.....came away feeling much better. Who knew?

Flakmeister's picture

And if some by some chance, he ends up being correct, BFD... Even a blind squirrel stumbles on a nut now and again...

Stackers's picture

I grew up before first person shooter video games and we played "war", "cops and robbers" had bottle rocket fights and threw lawn darts at each other. I dont think video games are the problem. I think the problem is all the psychotropic mind altering medications we are stuffing down our kids throats to turn them into good little sheeple.

kridkrid's picture

I wish I could say that it is amazing to me how little press this mood altering prescription drug addiction in our youth gets, but it isn't amazing, at all.

ElvisDog's picture

Exactly. Almost every one of those drugs lists depression, thoughts of suicide, etc. as their side effects, and yet heaven forbid that Sen. Rockefeller or the his ilk make any mention of limiting the availability of those drugs to the public. Wouldn't want to put a damper on the revenue streams of Big Pharma.

And yet, I put most of the blame on the widespread use of those drugs on kids squarely on their parents. They have the final say-so as to whether they give those dangerous drugs to their children. There was a time when someone suggested putting one of my children on ADHD medication (Ritalin if I remember). "No way in Hell" was my response and that was that. Now he's in High School, is perfectly normal (as normal as a teenage boy can be), and is an honor student. So "Fuck You" Big Pharma.

samcontrol's picture


TYLERS'. thoughts on it coming soon....

Spirit Of Truth's picture

The Newtown CT shooting, while tragic, is a distraction from what may soon prove to be the ultimate market moving news of the day.

What's this about?

samcontrol's picture

how can i get thumbs down if it is not even an opinion?

Or if i say , police battled rioters with hockey sticks and lost , gives me thumbs down..?

Same situation in LA as i witnessed today would of left at least twenty dead. that is an opinon ....

Matt's picture

Or maybe people would be less likely to riot or loot stores if the store owners had guns and the right to use them. Maybe not though, and maybe a bunch of looters would be dead.

I think the down votes for your first post has more to do with all caps and the general writing style of someone trying to bait people into reading your personal blog. People hate that crap.

Axenolith's picture

Whether or not you end up dead in a riot, or looting spree, or just an ordinary riot is irrelivent.  If you are, say 60, or 65, and you have everything you ever worked for, toiled, put your heart into, taken, or burned stolen, it's nearly the same as having a bullet put in your head.  The offender has just negated most of your life, surely in any instance where you weren't "insured", but even in that case, minutes, hours, days, of OTHER peoples lives were stolen to make the core victims losses "good". 

When we get up to nation level, and we're someplace like the U.S., the status quo is to take those minutes of everyones productive life time and redistribute them at a rate just low enough to keep them from revolting.  With the banking system as it is, they forestall that "theft" out far enough that so far everyone hasn't gotten a clue yet, or they're on the receiving end and don't care about the theft of others lives.

Make NO mistake about it, when you take from one to do something, you've taken X amount of time from their life.  TO a certain extent, most will accept that, for defense, or common things like bridges etc... (which could be a negotiated transaction for all if there was a private entity who built X and charged Y for it).  When you begin to loot loot from one, to satisfy your desires for power, or wealth, you rob them of life as surely as if you cut their hamstring, or if it's everything and they're old, if you put a bullet in their skull.  They will never get those minutes, hours, days, back that they put into it.  Only if they have a CHOICE to trade whatever medium they've decided their time is worth for something is it a "fair trade".

The elite have gotten to a point where they have, on the balance sheets of money/power, taken essentially all of todays PRODUCTIVE living, and most if not all of the next 1 or 2 generations of potential PRODUCTIVE living peoples, time value of LIFE.  A lot don't sweat it because they are able to fulfill their basest desires fairly cheaply and could give 2 shits, but there is a large and growing number who will recognize this theft and eventually come out with a resounding THIS WILL NOT STAND!

Texas Ginslinger's picture

Am curious to know how many readers here play first person shoot-em-up video games.

Easy way to find out.

Give me a down vote it you regularly play first person shoot-em-up video games.

Give me an up vote if you don't play, or quit playing.


Axenolith's picture

I play BBC2 fairly regularly, a lot mainly at the moment because of novelty, but it, and COD, are also multiplayer games.  You are in there with other people, and they all know it's a game.  I've yet to notice any "wierdos", and they are bar none excellent simulators for high intensity combat environments, if anything the first thing I thought was "Woa, in real life in this shit, you don't get a "re-spawn"...

The first time I went into a BBC2 server, I just froze up.  3 is already out with more realism, but for me, it was just "holy crap, games are this real now???"  I got knifed right away...

HobbyFarmer's picture

Thumbs up for the posters above.  Growing up we had bottle rocket wars, dart gun wars, and at one crazy point, BB gun wars.  This was prior to paint ball guns.

I think the idea of shooting games isn't the problem so much as the pharmacueticals the kids are consuming. 

Grew up around always loaded shotguns (for the random bears/moose/wolves in Alaska).  Never once considered picking it up to hurt another human, although a couple of late nights I returned to a locked door and my father cycling the shotgun before I was able to identify myself.

Anyway, 7 billion people on this planet.  Add in all sorts of drugs thought of as 'modern medicine' and you're going to see outliers.

Not sure the solution....but am 100% certain I am unwilling to disarm myself because of other people's actions.  If anything else, it reinforces my desire to remain an armed freeman.

AgShaman's picture

Those bottle rocket and bb gun wars were the greatest.

We played "tag" in a monster grove of willow trees, can't believe nobody fell to their death

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

These video gamer kids nowadays are such pussies

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

For those wanting some more info on what this kid was likely experiencing:

In addition to SSRIs, the abnormally high concentration of glutamates (which can be found in all manner of franken-shit in our food; aspartame is an "act alike" as well) can aggrevate the problem.  NMDA glutamate receptors in our brain help direct norepinephrine levels.


TN Jed's picture

Yup, and I still have the Red Ryder marks to prove it! 

Ignatius's picture

Turned it down for my son.

Imagine a 11 year old that had more on his mind than sitting quietly, face forward with rapt attention for the historical theories like Manifest Destiny, and such.  Yes, we agreed, he has a problem....

DRT RD's picture

Ritalin is an evil tool.  I was prescribed that stuff when I was 8 in 1985.  Started blowing it when I was 16,drinking beer with some boarding school boys.  At 26 my life was a wreck, and I didn't know whether to shit or go blind.  Along the way there was prozac(that didn't work too well), then came the insidious "psych" drugs, zeprexz, trileptal, stratera, then the bastards tried to add seroquel when I asked if I could quit all the meds.  Ole doc said I would be in pine box if I came off my meds.  I told him to fuck off.  Took almost 9 months to get a full night sleep, but I haven't taken any meds in close to 8 years.  Do not need them.  Went back to state university, that I paid for in cash, and received an MBA.  Small progrm but was also married with 2 kids, made all A's and 2 B's. Turns out I didn't need meds just needed to grow the fuck up!


When I got off all the meds, I started to wake up to the financial and political madness that I had missed.  For almost 20 years I was a zombie and didn't even know it.  Today life is good and my wife and I have decided that our daughters will not take "psych" meds under any circumstances.



Axenolith's picture

Thanks for coming out and telling that, and thanks to God you got "out".  I hope you and you'rs prosper in the future, and have a Merry Christmas.

Lore's picture

ElvisDog: "I put most of the blame on the widespread use of those drugs on kids squarely on their parents. They have the final say-so as to whether they give those dangerous drugs to their children."

Fascinating. Same story here. Is your child bored and misbehaving?  Dope the hell out of him and protect shitty teachers.  The public "Education System" is terrible for anyone who dares to think differently, excel, or demonstrate leadership potential. 

It's the same in "Health Care" (hahaha).  I could tell you some horror stories from Canada.  Christmas morning, you knock out all the patients with Codeine to ensure a quiet shift.  Families show up to visit and find their loved ones 'blotto.' 

I've seen otherwise healthy patients DIE from being kept stoned by nurses for days on end.  The stats for overmedication and unnecessary medication must be horrific.

Here's a bigger joke. Canadian cities have wagons that drive around downtown so nurses can deliver more narcs to all the street people. They call it "HARM REDUCTION." (hahahahaha)

And the Sixpacks call it a triumph when marijuana gets legalized. Huxley was right!  The people EMBRACE their enslavement.

Ar-Pharazôn's picture

i started to see things much differently when i started smoking weed.


putting weed with drugs for psycopath is not the case

redpill's picture

Once again people trying to assign rational causes to irrational acts.  Personally I find ultra-violent and ultra-realistic video games tasteless, but obviously millions of adults play these games all the time without going on shooting rampages.  Some have even theorized that it provides an outlet and could actually reduce real world violence.

Regardless, that was not the cause here.  The cause was this guy's mental illness, and you're never going to make sense out of his mindset because it makes none. 


squib's picture

And furthermore...Sociopathy/Psychopathy cannot be 'fixed'. A psycho/sociopath cannot be cured or rehabilitated. They do not have emotions and feelings like we do (their brain is permanently 'broken'), this is why they are able to do the horrible things they do...and why you just can't understand it. When your friends/family and media/society ask 'why?', it really is that simple, that psycho/socios do not have the thing in their brain to stop them from harming humans/animals.

Ferrari's picture

Respectfully I suggest not the cause, but a significant contributing factor. I'm reminded of the opening scene in the book, Generation Kill, where the Marines tear through a village in their humvees, guns blazing. Once through, one gunner exclaims, "That was awsome. Just like Grand Theft Auto." In Generation Kill, Evan Wright discusses the problem the US military had in WWII with very well trained troops, paratroopers, initiially having difficulty firing on the enemy, even when fired upon. Killing is an unnatural act, and there's a heafty threshold to cross. The Pentagon identified this as a problem to solve, and by some accounts, video games have been part of their solution. Wright & Lt. Frick in GK were both astounded how the  young Marines, many having never heard a shot fired in action, lit the enemy up without flinching. This is a complex can of shit, but I believe violent video games do play a significant role.

malikai's picture

You're trying to assign rationality to it.

Video games may make it easier for sane people to kill in war. There could be merit to that.

But it does not apply to the insane.

Thisson's picture

Yes, games do act as virtual training, but they are not the cause of the behavior.  This has all been studied extensively.  See

Terminus C's picture

Back then they blamed it on Dungeons and Dragons RPG. Stupid people look for simple solutions to complex issues. Scapegoating is a time tested tool of idiots and buffoons, Cashin has demonstrated buffoonery.

Video games don't make people want to kill, any more than access to guns or knives does.

Why are we focusing on small time killers when real, demonstrable psychopaths are running the planet?

Thisson's picture

I agree with you 100% that video games are not the causal issue; however, for those who have already decided to engage in violent behavior, video games can be a form of training.

That being said, I don't think we should even think about trying to ban video games.  I think this is a mental health issue.

P.S. msg me if you want to play Black Ops 2 on PS3 :-)

Terminus C's picture

Playing Mechwarrior Online atm.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

You got it - no difference when there was the parade to stamp our heavy metal as encouraging teen suicide.

In this case, few are questioning the mother: she kept loaded and extremely lethal firearms readily available to her son who was known to be crazy.  If mom had exercisd simple, adult common sense, she would have observed rule no. 1 of firarms: keep out of reach of children, and this would not have happened. 

malikai's picture

My favorite was how Marilyn Manson caused Columbine.

While I deplore most of his films, Moore's interview of MM in Bowling for Columbine was spot-on.

Cathartes Aura's picture

but there is a link between video games and the military,

"The Army takes this seriously," Stephens said of PEO-STRI and its Army gaming unit, which will handle military video game requirements. "We own gaming for the Army — from requirements through procurement," he said.

Game development has become a multibillion-dollar industry in recent years, with large game studios employing thousands of developers and sales that compete with Hollywood’s blockbusters.

"We want to take advantage of that, but we don’t have the intent to become a competitor with the commercial gaming industry," Stephens said. "We don’t have the intent or capability to be a commercial game house."

Instead, the Army gaming unit will watch trends in the industry and identify technology that can be used for military training, he said.

The need for video games as training aids was judged so great that the Army wanted to get products out to units before the funding came online.

In addition to the $50 million, the Army gaming unit has an undisclosed additional budget to purchase a state-of-the-art commercial video game system that will be fielded for training in February.

that was from 2008, so you know it's been in the planning for a long while. . . add to that the experi-Mental meds handed out by the fistful, and you may want to make the correlation as to just what kind of person the military is looking for.

and the sort of people they're dealing with now?

Investigation finds significant drug use, party culture at Naval Academy


Reported sex assaults spike at military academies


both of those stories are dated this week, as is this, all from the same site,

The holiday season is a bittersweet time to be a gamer — and especially a game reviewer. Stars and Stripes gamers had their hands full with all of the AAA goodness we expect for this time of year, but no matter how much holiday cheer you can muster, there’s never enough time to play it all.

the threads of the military cultural fabric are worth looking at, if you care enough to make the effort. . .

aerojet's picture

I disagree--I think kids playing first person shooter games for hours and hours on end warps their reality because the games are so realistic in certain ways.  And the games all detach the true ugliness and reality of killing another human--it's like it is a psychopath simulator and your ass isn't on the line at all.  The victims don't cry in pain or scream for their mothers while bleeding out in a muddy ditch.  You don't get brain matter and bodily fluids splattered on you when the man you just shared girlfriend photos with dies right beside you.  These games definitely cheapen the act of killing, all the while training kids not only in the basic fundamentals of shooting people, but also that there is no cost to the act--it completely removes emotion and morality.

If I were to design a game like that, if your player got shot, the game would instantly delete itself from your hard disk along with the rest of the operating system and stripe the hard disk on its way down so that it would have to be low-level formatted just to be usable again.  And if there's a programmatic way to smoke the CPU, I'd do that, too. 

Matt's picture

I don't think you understand the point of Games. Realism is not at all what it is about. Could you imagine how boring Farmville would be if it was 100% realistic, down to time scale? 

They are games, not simulators. They are rated 18+ when applicable for a reason. Unless you want to make rules that people below a certain threshold of intelligence or mental health are not able to buy adult rated games, and have to get someone else to buy them. Which would mean disclosing your intelligence and mental health to the clerk at GameStop.

WillyGroper's picture

Once again, this is how education has been monitzed. For a kid that excels, very little federal money is given to the school. If said child is "Special Needs" the school gets more federal money. I think it would be safe to assume that any kid on these poisons would be considered special needs. 

My state's school superintendant opened up the first charter school here. Why, $$$$$$. Now that she's in a position of power, she's doing everything she can to block the opening of anyone wanting to open a charter school. 

The rot is so thick I cannot breath. 

FubarNation's picture

Hardly anyone talks about the fucking SSRI's.  it is a travesty and is poisoning our society.

How the fuck did people 'cope' with life before Prozac?

Oh ya the sucked it up and didn't cry about it forever.

Life is hard.  Ask the billions of people around the globe who struggle to partially fill their bellies everyday.

Get a grip on reality you fucking whiners.


Rant over.   Thanks for listening.

13thWarrior's picture

Without drugs it is not possible.

The cult of Assasins aka Hashishins (from Hashish drug) invented behaviour modification techniques using drugs. Modern days CIAs are using their techniques.

Predictive programming with games might be just for masses but real assasins are given drugs.


Here is the popular game with Airport massacre 

LookingForTruth's picture

"There is no evidence that video games lead to acts of violence"


There is also no evidence that gun bans lead to less crime, but we'll go and try gun bans again and again.

Freddie's picture

Kids on these drugs with endless video game playing plus violent Tarantino type crap sucks.  This is not healthy for kids to play these games every night.

Screw Hollywood, TV and video games.  This scum will disarm you in a second.

Thisson's picture

The idea of banning these video games because the killers played video games is foolish.  They may as well try to ban masturbation, since all of these killers did that too, I'm sure.

LookingForTruth's picture

Hmmm, maybe they did not masterbate, and that could be the problem.  Afterall, masterbation is a healthy, natural way to relieve tension and stress.  Maybe the good doctors could stop prescribing drugs and start prescribing masterbation. 

DanDaley's picture

Speaking of big pharma, check out for close to 5,000 stories of murder and mayhem caused by people on SSRI antidepressants.  This probably has more to do with these mass murders than any other single thing.  


Question: Why is it that teenagers went for generations (with probably greater access to firearms than now -even bringing guns to school for show and tell back in the 50s and 60s) but never went on murder rampages until prozac and other SSRIs became commonplace?  Hmmmm...

taxpayer102's picture



"The first two years of your child’s life are especially important in the growth and development of his/her brain. During this time, children need positive interaction with other children and adults. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages TV and other media use by children younger than 2 years and encourages interactive play.

For older children, total entertainment screen time should be limited to less than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs, which should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults in the home."