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Police: Traveler won't shut off iPhone, gets socked

A 15-year-old won't switch off his iPhone as a plane comes in to land. A fellow passenger is so annoyed that he allegedly punches him and is arrested.

Violence solves nothing.

And yet so many are moved to it in search of vital prizes, such as peace, oil, or a safe landing in a plane.

Perhaps there is one man reconsidering his philosophy of violence more than others this morning after he allegedly thumped a 15-year-old boy sitting next to him yesterday on a Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho.

There are many reasons why some might be moved to pummel someone in the next seat on a plane. The thought has crossed my mind when my fellow passenger won't stick to his side of the seat (it's always a he) and hangs his elbows into my ribs.

In the case of 68-year-old Russell Miller, so KBOI2 tells it, he was peeved that the 15-year-old seated next to him wouldn't turn off his iPhone as the plane came in to land.

Is it really so hard to switch off? CC Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr

Police told KBOI2 that the teen had been listening to music and playing video games when the cheery Southwest announcement telling everyone to switch off their electronic devices was trumpeted through the intercom.

The teen, as teens are sometimes predisposed to do, allegedly ignored the happy instruction. Miller then allegedly fell into an unhappy conversation with the teen and his attitude, the result allegedly being a sock to the teen's arm.

Police Lt. Kent Lipple told KBOI2: "He punched him so hard there was a mark on the teen's arm. That gave us probable cause to believe the reports from the other passengers."

Though one can never condone violence, people sometimes find themselves faced with probable cause on a daily basis. They try to stifle it as best they can. So I have probable cause to conjecture that there will be one or two in the firmament who might have a small amount of sympathy for Russell Miller, who has reportedly been charged with misdemeanor battery.

Sometimes on planes people really do miss the basics of demeanor. So one awaits any legal proceedings with some enthusiasm, should all the facts be laid before a judge.

Was this a case of an overly rigid adult eking out discipline on what he saw as a recalcitrant ingrate? Or was this an instance of a teen, deeply immersed in a meaningful relationship with his iPhone, keen to express his belligerence toward a generation that has, potentially, sold him into future penury?