Corpus Christi, TX – Parents of teens across the nation were frantic Thursday as they struggled to understand the deadly consequences of the newest online viral challenge sweeping the web: Enlisting in the United States Military.

“It’s both frightening and sad,” lamented Mother of three, Kim Pearce, who was forced by the new trend to sit down with her 18-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter to explain the fundamental mortal dangers of joining the American armed forces. “Just a generation ago, this was common sense. Basic human self-preservation. And yet, day after day, week after week, we continue seeing able-bodied teens of seemingly normal intelligence picking up a pen and signing their lives away on a dotted line. Why? Because they saw someone do it on Instagram and thought it looked cool. Darwin is rolling in his grave.”

At least 21 teen servicemen have died in the past year as a result of participation in the Military Enlistment challenge: 17 of them in Afghanistan. Dozens of local parental organizations have begun grassroots efforts to educate young people about the dangers of lead-ingestion via bullets that enter the body after being fired from the weapons of enemy combatants or American comrades in friendly-fire incidents.

Despite the terror gripping mainly affluent communities, not everyone is unhappy with the new trend: The U.S. Military reports that the new craze has raised enlistment numbers to such an unprecedented degree that they’ve been able to cease targeted recruitment efforts in poor communities of color for the first time in 50 years.